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I'm developing a website to display data in a database. As I add features I find that I need more and more query parameters.

Are there negative consequences in terms of site visibility, SEO, etc. if I periodically add or remove query parameters?

Is there an alternative to using query parameters?

Can I concatenate them into a single query parameter?

I want people to be able to link to the data visualizations. The parameters themselves have zero value as search keywords, though they are preceded by keywords.

Here is a fake example of the last part of my URL:

this-part-contains-keywords.php?sty=15&lay=1&fmt=0

The parameter values are always integers.

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Disclaimer: Parts of this answer are summarised from excerpts of this blog by SEJ.

Yes, adding or removing query parameters periodically may have some negative consequences on SEO, if not handled carefully.

It might:

  1. Create Duplicate Content.
  2. Waste your Crawl Budget. Source.
  3. Make URLs less clickable(if one of them make it to the SERPs).

There is not an alternative per se, but you can take steps to make your SEO strategies immune from the harm from dynamic Parameters.

  1. Eliminate Unnecessary Parameters.
  2. Prevent Empty Values.
  3. Use Keys Only Once.
  4. Rel=”Canonical” Link Attribute.
  5. Set a "noindex" directive for any parameter based page that doesn’t add SEO value. This tag will prevent search engines from indexing the page.
  6. Configure Google’s URL parameter tool to tell crawlers the purpose of your parameters and how you would like them to be handled.

Best Practice URL Parameter Handling for SEO enter image description here

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