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Fix Duplicate Content: Remove WordPress replytocom Urls from Google


Remove ?replytocom Urls from Google. How to prevent ?replytocom Urls from being indexed by search engines and prevent duplicate content.

Remove ?replytocom Urls

Where do these ?replytocom parameter urls come from? These replytocom urls are created in WordPress blogs which have enabled reply to comments. If you hover over the Reply link below comments, the urls will show in the browser status bar.

I was not aware of this issue till Google Webmaster tools recently pointed duplicate title tags on pages. I have activated Canonical urls on each page, so I thought this should not be an issue, but here is what I saw.

Duplicate page titles

Why was Google indexing these replytocom urls? Upon looking around a little deeper under Site Configuration>Settings>Parameter Handling -  I found that Google Webmasters was tracking parameter handling which we had not observed earlier.

replytocom let google decide

Google was handling the replytocom parameter with the setting “Let Google decide” and obviously Google was deciding to index the links. Since Google themselves advise on the page that “Asking Google to ignore these parameters can reduce duplicate content in Google’s index and make the site more crawlable”, the best idea is to Click the Edit link beside this – and set the option to Ignore.

replytocom ignore urls

But what is strange is why was Google not indexing the canonical url in the page and indexing these parameters – wasn’t it the purpose of canonical urls to serve as a guide to the best single url. Now there are several other parameters there which you might decide to ignore and reduce duplicate content on your site.

Another way would be to add the following rule to your robots.txt file

Disallow: *?replytocom

And then there is the Replytocom redirector plugin that deals with bots that do not know how to handle the replytocom parameter as part of a wordpress url – it simply redirects such bots to the correct url, saving CPU  and network resources.

How do you handle WordPress replytocom urls?

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