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In Google Webmaster Tools, I noticed that my front page was indexed two times:

  • example.com/
  • example.com/?chocaid=397

I know that I could fix this with the use of link type canonical, but I wonder: Where does this parameter come from?

There are various sites that have pages indexed with this very parameter/value: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=chocaid%3D397.

I looked for similarities between these sites. but couldn't find a conclusive one: It's often the front page, but not in every case. Some are NSFW, but not all. When one domains' URL has this parameter, often other subdomains of the same domain have it, too.

Examples

Wikipedia entry

enter image description here

Microsoft Codeplex

enter image description here

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In Google Webmaster Tools (or your referer logs) is there any indication as to which page might be linking to this URL? –  w3d Nov 14 '12 at 14:59
    
@w3d: I don't have access to any logs. In GWT, it was listed in "HTML Improvements" → "repeated page titles". So I fear I can't get any referrer information. –  unor Nov 14 '12 at 15:41
    
I just wondered if there was anything under Traffic > Links to Your Site > Your most linked content > More (to get all linked pages). For ?chocaid=397 to get indexed then presumably something is linking to it for Google to find the link in the first place? –  w3d Nov 14 '12 at 16:56
    
@w3d: Ah, I see. Unfortunately, data is still missing for this report (probably because I'm using GWT only for a few days yet). –  unor Nov 14 '12 at 17:00
    
Not sure if this helps, but the number 397 has something to do with hashes (see here and here). I'm not sure whether this has anything to do with this question, but ?chocaid=397 could be some sort of attempt to mess with hashes (I don't know much about this, so I'm not sure about this, though). Also, this is a great question. –  Christofian Nov 15 '12 at 1:55
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4 Answers 4

How new is your domain? It may very well be this was a popular query on the old domain and thus you are still getting "visitors". Does this map to a valid page or a 404? If you are getting a lot of hits there and it's a 404, then I would remap it (use a .htaccess) to your homepage or something.

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I didn't notice any visitors yet; I saw the page indexed by Google. It maps to the same front page (as if the parameter was omitted). I know that I could redirect it or use canonical, but this question is more about the origin of this parameter. –  unor Nov 18 '12 at 22:28
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But this doesn't explain why the same URL parameter appears in the search results for many other domains. –  w3d Nov 18 '12 at 23:08
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It may be Googlebot trying to access jQuery/Javascript and crawl everything it can. There was a recent post on here of someone asking for help because Googlebot was crawling invalid URL's on their site. John M replied about how Googlebot may be looking for more URL's to crawl from scripts on their site. He works for Google Webmaster Tools. You pretty much answered your own question by setting the canonical tag.

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Whilst I've no definite answer, there are a few things I've found whilst looking into this which may help narrow it down:

  • The links also appear in Bing and Yahoo, so it has nothing to do with Google.
  • They appear on wikis, Tumblr blogs, Wordpress blogs and other sites, and so they aren't going to be added via an exploit in any particular software.
  • They appear on some very low-quality Tumblr sites, and so it is unlikely that these would have had any advertising going to them. Likewise, wikipedia articles are unlikely to be promoted via adverts.

My best guess would be that there is/was some scraper site which adds this URL to all the links it finds. Certainly, external links seem the most likely explanation for where they come from, and directories are unlikely due to the fact it is being added to quite random pages.

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This might be from an ad provider that you may have, I have the same issue and the only possible place where it comes from is from an adprovider injecting some malware through the javascript codes.

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Do you have a source/proof for this? It would mean that Wikipedia is infected by this, as there are some Wikipedia paged indexed with this parameter. –  unor 2 days ago
    
Yeah because I have a blog that Google blocked due to this and after removing the culprit ads they started to remove the block –  Raymund yesterday
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