Google Search URL Parameters [Ultimate Guide]
URL parameters are a set of values in the browser’s address bar after the website address. They start with a question mark and could go in a different order or be combined differently. Each URL parameter consists of a key=value pair. Multiple parameters are separated by the ampersand.
URL parameters are generated automatically, but you can tailor them to your specific needs using Google Search Console settings. They solve many technical problems, such as:
- User identification, working session facilitation, filling your online shopping cart.
- Tracking landing page conversions.
- Internal website search.
- Filter items in online stores.
- Sort items by price, brand, popularity.
- Pagination of directories and multi-page content.
- Displaying different page versions depending on the user language or country.
From an SEO point of view, the application range of the GET parameters is quite wide as well. They greatly simplify how you can search Google or type a URL when working with third-party resources. This is useful when searching for websites to expand your search presence, parsing search queries, or analyzing competitors’ media strategies.
Understanding the logic of how URL parameters are designed plays an important role in your website setup. It allows you to improve indexing, avoid duplicate pages, and minimize your crawling budget. Besides, a concise URL with a clear structure gets better user perception.
Google Search Parameters Cheat Sheet
Google search params are a set of short and logical commands. They are easy to memorize—like a multiplication table—if you use them regularly. If you are facing an unusual task or are in doubt about the relevance of your search query, the tables below will come to the rescue. To get the most accurate results, combine several GET statements in a single query.
There is a direct connection between URL parameters and Google search parameters. The former, with the right settings, allow you to make your website more logical for crawlers and convenient for users. The latter does not require access to the website administration system and can be used to get information from the public domain.
The basic Google search is https://www.google.com/search?q=. It uses only one operator “q= phrase of interest”(or as_q). The use of advanced search operators works like a password. Google clearly understands what you want from it and gives you the results for which the usual search would take much more time and filtering.
Content Filtering Options
Language and Geolocation Parameters
You can see more Google operators in this post Search Operators: Complete List.
What Tasks Can Be Solved Using Search Parameters
Identify Indexing Errors
There is almost always a risk that Google will index some pages on your website incorrectly, such as skip important content or crawl technical pages. Check this using the operator site: It is logical to exclude all non-working, technical, or duplicate pages from indexing.
Let’s narrow down the search and check the number of indexed blog pages:
As you see, the output has decreased by about 8 times. Now, what result would we get without using the target search operator?
This method is good if you have an idea about the number of materials posted on your website. Complete information is best viewed in Google Search Console. Instead of a blog, use other categories, or exclude subdomains according to this query:
Using the same principle, you can detect unprotected pages with an exclusion operator -inurl: https.
Search for Duplicate Content
Duplicate product descriptions are another pet peeve of e-commerce sites. Non-unique content harms the search reputation of web resources. Using search operators, you can check if the descriptions on your website and competitors’ site are duplicates. This is a useful feature for blog owners who oftentimes find their articles being plagiarized by unscrupulous websites without any credit or backlinks.
Search for Unwanted Files or Pages
Over time, websites can accumulate a lot of extra files—you can forget what you uploaded several months or a year ago. Just as you get rid of clutter in your closet, your website’s library needs to be cleaned once in a while. Some documents could become irrelevant, others should not be public. They should be removed or excluded from the index.
Look for Websites for Guest Publications or Sponsored Posts
Want to post more texts, but don’t know where to look? Many websites are interested in updating their content in the guest format. All you need is to identify your topic of interest and adequately word your request: “become a contributor”, “contribute to”, “guest posts”, “become an author”.
Websites for Links
Websites for link building can be found using the same approach. First, you need to identify fellow websites that work in the same niche and publish thematic materials in their blog.
Then, find your ‘mates’ on the list. To do this, let’s estimate the total number of indexed pages using site:domain.com, and then select site:domain.com seo among those related to our topic. If the result is greater than 0.5 (or 0.7, even better), you are dealing with an authoritative resource, and its users are most likely to be interested in your posts.
Simplify Internal Linking
Search parameters are also useful for internal linking. If you just published a super useful material, it would be nice to add links to existing materials in it. Reviewing all blog posts to find the most relevant ones is too time-consuming. Let’s simplify this task. Customize the search in your blog and exclude the publication to which you refer. Enter your key queries. As a result, the search takes only a couple of minutes.
Competitor Analysis: Third-Party Content Updates, Links, and Mentions
Monitor the activity of your competitors in their blogs on their website. Look both at general statistics of publications and filter them by topic. In this case, it is important to consider the publication dates in order to evaluate the volume of posts per week or per month.
Analyze the strategy of your direct competitors. You can find the resources where they place affiliate materials, discuss working together with the site owner. Also, you can look for sponsored posts. Terms for posting a sponsored post are usually placed in the text: [niche] intext: “sponsored post”. This can be done using Google Alerts.
You can also monitor reviews of services or products related to those on your website. Get in touch with reputable resources or bloggers, invite them to write a spotlight review.
Optimize URL parameters
The URL Parameters tool in Google Search Console allows you to optimize your website’s dynamic address. You can manually configure the options that change the website’s appearance for users. Besides, this explains to robots how to react correctly to tracking, sorting, filtering, or grouping parameters.
Active parameters determine what content will be displayed on the page. With their help, one can sort the catalog, create collections using various criteria, separate data between pages, translate the website into another language. Use such operators as brand, gender, country, sortorder.
Passive parameters do not affect the page content but help carefully monitor user behavior. Sessionid and affiliateid track conversion and view statistics.
- Eliminate Duplicate Pages
Duplicate pages are a common problem for online stores. Most often, it occurs when using session identifiers, improperly configured pagination, user search, and filtering of products. Selecting each criterion creates a new URL identifier.
Static URL: https://www.yourwebsite.com/widgets
Tracking parameter: https://www.yourwebsite.com/widgets?sessionID=35748
Reordering parameter: https://www.yourwebsite.com/widgets?sort=newest
Identifying parameter: https://wwwyourwebsite.com?category=widgets
Searching parameter: https://www.yourwebsite.com/products?search=widget
The client gets the desired result, but visually the page is almost unchanged. In this case, search robots re-scan pages with new identifiers. Their content remains identical for search robots, and the website risks being sanctioned. Even if this does not happen, the crawling budget goes to waste. Different page options will be in SERP, but none of them will collect enough organic traffic to go up.
To avoid this problem, ranking signals can be combined using rel=”canonical”. This way, you bind the URL with multiple variables to the URL that meets SEO requirements. Then, crawlers no longer perceive pages as duplicates.
- Remove Unnecessary Options
Make a list of the URL parameters on the website and their purpose. This helps to detect ‘dummies’, such as variables with zero values, as well as those that do not actually impact the website productivity or usability. You may find duplicate keys with different values. You should also get rid of them.
Our goal is to make the URL more concise and readable. Weed through. For example, session identification in the address bar can be replaced with cookies.
- Arrange Parameters
The query string in the address bar does not affect website productivity. However, after adding another parameter or changing its place in the query, the robot has to re-scan it. Simplify its task. Set up the processing order of URL action parameters: put the language parameters first, followed by paginators, session identifiers, and filters.
- Make Your URL Clickable
Neither users nor robots like too long or obscure URLs. Static URLs in this regard look more advantageous, and for dynamic URLs, you can create an efficient parameter clustering system. Get Google search URL which will look more attractive. This will help you reduce your costs. At the same time, you can use keywords as identifiers for categories, products, and filters. Craft your page address in such a way that it can be read without losing the meaning.