"URL Parameters" in Google Webmaster Tools for PHP content


I have not set up URL parameters in Google Webmaster Tools but Google has done it for me.

I notice that the “sample links” show pages being crawled.

My question is why are these pages not ranking in search engines?

Surely, if Google is crawling the links/pages they should be ranked?


I always get confused by what people mean when they ask about “rank” or “ranking”, because it makes no sense in this context.
If a page is indexed, it will “rank”, as in it will appear in SERPs for relevant searches. It may rank very high or very low, but it “ranks” all the same. To not rank at all, it is not indexed.
So “rank” could be taken to mean “be indexed”. Though some SEOs (Search Engine Obsessives) use it to possibly mean “appear near the top of SERPs”.
So can you clarify exactly what you mean by “rank”?
Is it that the pages are not indexed, or that they don’t perform well in SERPs?

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Try using the “site” search operator. i.e.

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when I use the site:website.com command the page is there. In a search the page is nowhere. So I guess it means it is indexed but not ranked?

You haven’t answered @SamA74’s question as to what you mean by ranked. As he says, if a page is indexed, it is ranked - it may just have a very low position in SERPS.

So the page is indexed.

Did you check all the results or just the top few?

Again, what do you mean by “rank”?
If the page is indexed, which it appears to be, then whether it appears in SERPs will depend on it being relevant to the search term.
The different search terms you could use are virtually infinite, some of which will be relevant and many will not.

I checked until about page 5 of the Search Results.

For similar pages I am indexed and ranking.

Presumably, then, this question is related to your recent topic here: Ranking for all products (not just a few)

I asked you there to compare the pages which are ranking well with those which are not, and see if you can spot any differences. You haven’t replied (to me or to anybody else who responded) which makes it difficult and frustrating to try to help you.


Just replied. Yes it is related. Do you have any knowledge how best to use URL Parameters? Why has Google automatically created URL parameters. Can I delete the URL parameters? What is the benefit?

Did you read the information which Google links to from the URL Parameters section?

Google advises that you do not edit these yourself unless you are sure you know what you are doing.

The URL parameter settings in Search Console are to let Google know how those parameters affect page content.
Some parameters may change the entire content of the page, others may have no effect whatsoever on the page content.


For example here the id parameter will determine which blog post is displayed, so had a great bearing on page content, thus pages with different id values should be treated as separate pages and indexed individually.



In the above examples both URLs may result in exactly the same page being displayed and the src parameter is used by the system for tracking purposes. So these URLs should not be indexed individually, as they are effectively to same page.
Google will try to determine itself how these parameters affect the page and index them appropriately.
But in the event it gets it wrong, that is when you may need to use the tool to explicitly state how the parameters affect the pages.

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I think I have edited the settings correctly.

I chose “every URL” because the content changes based on the PHP value(s).

For the question “How does this parameter affect page content?”

I have selected “other”. I am not sure this is the best option where the content changes on the page?
The other options are: Sorts, Narrows, Specifies, Translates, Paginates

I was thinking about “Specifies”

What should I choose for content changing?

For your information my site content is like this:

You are viewing the <?php echo $content ?> page. On the <?php echo $content ?> page your will find more information about <?php $detail ?>.

Should I be choosing “specifies” or should I stick with the “other” option? Maybe you would suggest something else?

Please help.


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I have reset them to Googles “Let Googlebot decice”

Do you know why google automatically added the URL parameters?

Google does not add them, it only finds them. Generally you, or whoever set up the site will have added variables to URLs. Though anyone can add a link to your pages with variables added.
Are the variables(parameters) you are seeing expected?

Yes - I know why they are there and what they are doing.

I have other websites that are similar but they do not have any URL parameters in Webmaster Tools. Is it a bad signal if google finds them?

No, it’s quite normal. It’s only a problem if Google interprets them wrongly and indexes (or not) the wrong things.

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OK - thanks for your help.

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