Ignore URL Parameters
This article describes how to use the Ignore URL Parameters feature in the Configure My Site section inside Bing Webmaster Tools.
What are URL Parameters?
URL parameters are parts of the address of a web page (the URL) that appear after a question mark (?). The section after the question mark is also called "query path" or "query string". Many websites make use of query string parameters (also known as dynamic parameters) as a core part of their site architecture for tracking session IDs, user languages, and more. However, the use of query string parameters can result in multiple variations of the same URL all pointing to the same content. The Ignore URL Paramaters feature helps normalizing these multiple versions.
When to Ignore a URL Parameter
You should add a parameter to ignore when the parameter is not used to significantly alter the content of your page, that is, when the parameter is not present in the URL, the page looks the same to the user as with the parameter. Common examples include:
- Session IDs used for tracking users, for example &sesssionId=somevalue
- Campaign tracking IDs, for example &wt.srch=1
Caution: you should only add a parameter to ignore if you are sure that the URL parameter is not needed for your content to be shown correctly. If, for example, you have a webpage that uses dynamic URLs which uses an ArticleID parameter to bring up a specific page from a database (e.g. “&ArticleId=1234567), you should not add this parameter to the list. Adding the parameter in this case could cause Bing to drop valuable pages from the index.
The Ignore URL Parameters feature in the Configure My Site section of Bing Webmaster Tools can be used to tell Bing which URL parameters can be safely ignored. A query parameter that has been added to the list of URL parameters to ignore will be dropped from URL and any search ranking attributes it possesses will be consolidated into the URL without the parameter. Note that Bing applies some checks and balances before deciding to use this setting, but does regard this as a very strong hint. Also note that changes made to the list will take time to come into effect.
How to Add a Parameter to Ignore
Adding a URL parameter for Bing to ignore is easy. Just follow these steps:
- In the Configure My Site section in the navigation pane select Ignore URL Parameters
- Type the URL parameter you would like to ignore into the text box with the text “Which parameter would you like Bing to ignore?”
- Click Submit
Using Bing Suggested Parameters
If Bing has found URL Parameters that appear to be safe to ignore for your site they will be shown next to the Submit button. Clicking on the +More link reveals any additional parameters you could consider adding to the list. Simply click the suggested parameter to add it to the list.
Important: although the algorithms Bing applies to come up with suggestions are pretty refined, you should always check that the parameter suggested does not significantly alter the content on the page if it is part of the URL. When in doubt, do not add the parameter: incorrectly configured URL parameters to ignore can lead to good URLs being dropped from the index.
Removing a URL Parameter to Ignore
You can remove one or more parameters for the list of URL parameters that Bing should ignore by selecting the adjacent checkbox and clicking Delete. Note that changes to the list take time to come into effect.
Exporting the List of URL Parameters to Ignore
You can export the list of all parameters that have been added to the list of parameters to ignore into a CSV file by clicking Export.