While developing or working with a dynamic site all of use might have come across the problem of duplicate content in one or other way. This case arises mainly with dynamic sites such as shopping cart or similar sites. In these kind of sites there would always be different URLs with the same content or product details. The URLs in these case will be different with either session IDs or other parameters. But such a situation will result in creating a confusing situation for Google on which URL to ignore and which one to be considered as the original one.
Google has come with a brilliant solution to tackle this situation with its Parameter Handling option in its Webmasters Tool. I have already mentioned about the use and importance of Google webmasters tool in my earlier post. This amazing tool by Google helps us to make our website as search engine friendly as possible and is being used by almost all the SEOs and webmasters.
Consider that you have a apparel shopping cart site and has a page for leather shoes. Here you would be having a page on leather shoes with enough description and images. As discussed above due to the complex nature of your website, the same content would be accessible via various URLs which I have mentioned below.
In this case you can seek the help of Google’s Parameter Handling option in its webmaster tool to inform Google that these URLs have the same content and to take only one URL version for indexing. You can specify upto 15 parameters with Google webmaster tool and Google treats these request as suggestions rather than directives. This would decrease the issue of duplicate content in Google’s index your search engine rankings would not suffer due to this. Since this feature is case sensitive make sure that parameters are entered in the exact case as it is in the URL.
The steps for entering the URL parameters into Google’s webmaster tools is given below.
1) Login to your Google webmaster tool.
2) On the Dashboard, click on the site you need to use parameter handling feature.
3) Now a new page opens and on the left hand side click on the Site Settings. After clicking you can see a list of links and click on the link named Settings.
4) Click on the Adjust Parameter Settings link in the Parameter Handling section of the newly opened page.
5) Here you will get a list of parameters that Google has crawled in your site. You can selection the options Ignore or Don’t ignore. If no parameters are listed, you can still add parameters yourself.