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I'm trying to get my e-commerce website on google and still figuring out how it all works. Now, I have seen this feature named URL-parameters, allowing me to set different parameters that affect page content to be indexed (one can also set parameters that do not affect the page, but for me that does not apply..). The question I have about this is whether and how I should add parameters that I only have on some pages of my site. example:

The homepage of my site is www.mysite.nl. no parameters at all. But when a user clicks the navigation bar, it links to www.mysite.nl/itemList.php?category=&....subCategory=....

The parameters category and subCategory define whether there is content on my itemList page and what content that is. It gets matching products out of my database based on those 2 variables.

The question: How do I make sure that I apply the google URL Parameters function decently for my website?

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The default setting for URL Parameters is "let Google decide". That setting is fine 99% of the time. In your case where some parameters specify the content, Googlebot will automatically assume that already. You don't need to tell Googlebot that these URL parameters make unique pages, that is the way it works by default.

The only time that I use the URL parameters feature is when I use tracking parameters that don't change the page. You need to tell Google to ignore those. Otherwise, I wouldn't use the URL parameters settings in Webmaster Tools at all.

Settings for URL parameters in Webmaster Tools are site wide. If you tell Google that category changes the content on your pages, Google will assume this is true for all pages on your site. This generally isn't a huge problem. If a page (like the home page) doesn't use the parameter, Googlebot will never try to add it to the URL. It only effects pages where Googlebot finds these parameters on the URL.

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Well firstly you need to determine whether you want all these URL variations with query parameters to be indexed in Google. For example, if they create duplicate content, then the norm for ecommerce websites is to NOINDEX the URL's with these query parameters.

Within URL Parameters in Google WMT, you can instruct Google what to do with URL's with specific URL parameters that can be found on your website. If you don't want them indexed, then you can set 'No URL's' against that parameter.

If you serve completely unique content at these category and subCategory query parameters, then just allow them to be indexed in Google (which is the default state).

You can read up on full instructions to this here.

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  • Okay, so am I right if I assume that just adding those parameters would not affect the indexing of other pages negatively? (Because those parameters do not exist on those pages) – Joris416 May 1 '14 at 10:47

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