How to Fix Dynamic URL SEO Issues

We’ve all seen the hundreds of blog posts written that warn about dynamic URL issues that create duplicate content and at the same time dilute link value. That said, rarely is a fix or alternative offered to overcome these issues. Well, hopefully you’ll get at least two options out of this post.

So why are dynamic URL’s a problem? Once you start including all sorts of variables and parameters in your URLs, the opportunities for duplicate content and wasted link value are endless. Take these simple examples below. All of these URLs could lead to the same content and once those variables start changing places you have even more duplicate content and wasted link value:

  • http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc
  • http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc&dest=goog
  • http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc&dest=goog&camp=111
  • http://www.mysite.com/somepage.html?param1=abc&dest=goog&camp=111&id=423

This is a big problem for affiliates who use a unique ID. You could have 100 affiliates linking to the same page, but all of the URLs will be different because each affiliate has their own unique ID.

Fixing Dynamic URLs

1. If possible, make sure that your site is using SEO-friendly base URLs. It’s better to have a base URL that will lead to the content rather than a URL that relies on a parameter. For example: http://www.mysite.com/unique-product.html is better than http://www.mysite.com/category.php?prod=123 where some generic category page is really the base URL.

2. Set a canonical tag that tells the search engines to use the base version of the URL. That way you can still use parameter URLs like http://www.mysite.com/unique-product.html?param1=123&param2=423 to get your data, but the search engines will consider the basic version as the official one.

3. Perhaps the best thing is to capture the data on the server side and then redirect the visitor to the correct URL after you have captured your data. I mentioned affiliates before, networks like ShareASale and CJ handle their data collection this way.

Here’s how to set it up: Visitor clicks on links with parameters -> Visitor goes to site, server records parameter data and 301 redirects them to the right landing page – >Visitor barely notices the switch because it happens fast. This allows you to get the data you need, make sure all of the link value goes to the right page, and your visitor still sees what they were after. Its a win win!

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