As you can see in the screenshot below, my site has a lot of "excluded" links, more than 34K, which is unusual:

enter image description here

However I don't have that many links in my website:

enter image description here

I'm worried about my SEO and search appearance.

I found out that all the links that are excluded have "?" in their address, but I don't need them at all.

So I tried to not index them using my robots.txt, which appears like this:

User-agent: * 
Disallow: /*?* 
Disallow: /wp-admin/ 
Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php

Is this OK? Is there any other way to handle this?

By the way, I'm using WordPress and a custom theme and plugins.

  • 2
    21,020 pages are excluded using alternate page with a proper canonical tag, this means everything is working as intended. Excluded does equal bad if they are intended. The only ones you should worry about are the ones that are not intended, such as duplicate pages without canonical links. – Simon Hayter Aug 13 '18 at 8:25
  • Where are the URLs with question marks linked from? – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 13 '18 at 10:17
  • 1
    Do not block them. As @SimonHayter said, their exclusion is normal. Google is merging them with the canonical version. If you block them, Google can't merge. If you don't use the ? parameters at all, stop adding links with them. – Tony McCreath Aug 15 '18 at 2:07

Your canonical tag is already taking care of most of the problem. There is no need to remove the URLs from Google Search Console. Google gives you these reports because you may find them useful, not because they are problems that need to be fixed for better SEO.

The only other thing that you could do is figure out where these pages are getting links and stop those links from happening. Usually when there are suddenly so many pages linked with parameters, it is your own site doing the linking. It could also be an advertising campaign or some other site.

If it is your own site, modify it to link without unnecessary parameters. In WordPress this could be a plugin you installed.

If it is an advertising campaign, use the standard Google Analytics UTM tracking parameters that Googlebot mostly ignores anyway.

If it is the same tracking parameter added to many different links you can also use the Google Search Console URL Parameter Tool. If you set that parameter to "passive" parameter that doesn't change the page content, Googlebot will stop crawling them and assign the value of the links to one representative URL.

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