Parameter Tool: What Was It?
For many years Google’s URL Parameter Tool was among the most effective controls available to webmasters and SEO leaders. Launched in 2009 to help Google understand how parameters for dynamically generated URLs related to their canonical roots. The tools served as a way for webmasters and Search marketers to communicate directly to Google on how to treat or ignore various scenarios involving specific URLs or combinations of URL parameters.
In March 2022 Google announced that the tool will soon be deprecated and today, the tool is no longer accessible via Google Search Console.
How will this impact webmasters and SEO Leaders?
According to the announcement “Google became much better at guessing which parameters are useful on a site and which are —plainly put— useless.”
Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the vast number of websites that relied on the tool to control how certain URls were (or were not) indexed; have lost an efficient and useful positive control mechanism. Unless other steps are taken to ensure correct indexation occurs, these domains are now open to be indexed solely at the discretion of Google bots.
It is true that in many cases Google does and will correctly determine which URLs are meant to be served and which URLs are meant not be indexed, however there are situations and scenarios that still require human judgement and control. So, what do we do?
Sweat the Details
With the Parameter Tool now gone, the only levers remaining to SEO leaders and webmasters are canonical tags, hreflang tags (where applicable), and robots.txt directives.
Each of these can still be highly effective in signaling to Google which areas of a given site need to be hidden from Google index, which URLs are meant for different countries, and which single URL is a primary version in a set of near identical URLs. So, it’s critical that webmasters and Search marketers take the time to review these facets of their SEO plan to ensure they’re communicating their intent with precision and accuracy.
If you need assistance with managing your search ranking within Google, please contact us. We’re here to help.
POV By Michael Gleyzerov, Manager SEO