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I have the following 4 URLs. Are all these the same URL or different URLs from Google's SEO perspective? (Having a different query string makes it another URL?)

  • https://www.example.com/buy-web-products?task=domaincheck&Itemid=435
  • https://www.example.com/buy-web-products
  • https://www.example.com/buy-web-products?task=domaincheck&Itemid=435&req_order=ordernow&p=133&pre=1
  • https://www.example.com/buy-web-products?task=domaincheckstep2&Itemid=435
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Yes, those are all different URLs and are therefore different from Google's SEO perspective.

However, if these URLs return the same content (perhaps just displayed/sorted differently) then you need to canonicalise the URL by setting a rel="canonical" link element in the head section of the relevant HTML document. This is to ensure that only the canonical URL is returned in the search results. For example:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/buy-web-products">

Alternatively, you can set a rel="canonical" HTTP response header. For example:

Link: <https://www.example.com/buy-web-products>; rel="canonical"

Within Google Search Console (GSC), you can also tell Google which URL parameters to ignore (if you are unable to set the canonical URL). However, this only informs Google, you may still want to consider other search engines.

You can also block certain URL parameters from being crawled using robots.txt (consequently they are unlikely to be indexed). However, this doesn't attribute a canonical URL that should be returned instead.

Reference:

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    To be clear, canonical should only be used if the pages provide the same content (or a subset). OP didn’t specify whether or not that is the case, but judging from the parameter names, it seems to me that at least some of the URLs are for different pages. – unor Nov 22 '17 at 3:57
  • @unor Yes, thanks - I've updated my answer to clarify this. (For some reason I had assumed that was the OPs intention.) – DocRoot Nov 22 '17 at 11:49
  • So it seems that Google doesn't follow its own rules! Check for instance youtube with parameters! No canonical rel in the source code. – forsberg 2 days ago
  • @forsberg Maybe they use GSC to determine the relevant parameters? (They can also use a rel="canonical" HTTP response header - I've updated my answer. Although I don't see that present either on YT.) – DocRoot 2 days ago
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100% different URLs from Google's SEO perspective. All you have to do is just use the canonicalization process to consider all those URLs into single URL.

Canonicalization is the process of redirecting the duplicate URLs to the original URL to avoid the copy content issue. You can either use the HT Access redirect method or use your hosting Cpanel redirect option.

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    As mentioned in other comments, these URLs should only be canonicalized if they are indeed serving the same content - this is not made clear in the question, so it may not be the OPs intention. But also, canonicalization is not necessarily the process of redirecting. In fact, looking at these particular URLs, redirecting may even be detrimental to the functionality of the website. – MrWhite Nov 22 '17 at 22:59

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