A while back Google announced the addition of parameter handling to the Google Webmasters Tools (GWT).

Google Webmasters Tools

We’re happy to announce another feature to assist with managing duplicate content: parameter handling. Parameter handling allows you to view which parameters Google believes should be ignored or not ignored at crawl time, and to overwrite our suggestions if necessary.

If you’re not handling this through robots.txt, this is a great way to simply address duplicate content issues cause by parameters leading to duplicate pages that display the exact same content.

The option in GWT indicates :

Dynamic parameters (for example, session IDs, source, or language) in your URLs can result in many different URLs all pointing to essentially the same content. For example, http://www.example.com/dresses?sid=12395923 might point to the same content as http://www.example.com/dresses. You can specify whether you want Google to ignore up to 15 specific parameters in your URL. This can result in more efficient crawling and fewer duplicate URLs, while helping to ensure that the information you need is preserved. (Note: While Google takes suggestions into account, we don’t guarantee that we’ll follow them in every case.)

 

Since someone emailed me to ask – here are some of my suggestions for optimal SEO configurations. If you have others – I’m interested.

 

Gallery2

  • g2_highlightId : Ignore
  • g2_imageViewsIndex : Ignore

GWT’s Parameter Handling : Duplicate Content  in Drupal & Gallery2

 

Drupal

  • destination
  • order
  • sort

 

Google Custom Search

  • as_q
  • sitesearch

 

BTW – Yahoo’s Site Explorer has had a similar concept with Dynamic URLs (under Actions) for years.

Yahoo Search Site Explorer

Specify up to 10 dynamic parameters that you want us to treat specially whenever these are seen in URLs belonging to http://www.yourdomain.org . We will automatically rewrite the URLs containing these parameters as specified below. You can choose to:

  1. Remove these parameters from the URLs, such as in case of session ids, you could ask to remove ‘sid’ from URLs.

  2. Use a default value for the parameter, for example you could set the ‘src’ parameter to be ‘yhoo_srch’

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