Spring cleaning: the URL Parameters tool

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Monday, March 28, 2022

In short: We're deprecating the URL Parameters tool in Search Console in 1 month. There's no action required from the current users of the tool.

Screenshot of the URL parameter tool at its launch
The URL Parameters tool in 2009

When the URL Parameters tool launched in 2009 in Search Console's predecessor, Webmaster Tools, the internet was a much wilder place than it is today. SessionID parameters were very common, CMSes had trouble organizing parameters, and browsers often broke links. With the URL Parameters tool, site owners had granular control over how Google crawled their site by specifying how certain parameters affect the content on their site.

Over the years, Google became much better at guessing which parameters are useful on a site and which are —plainly put— useless. In fact, only about 1% of the parameter configurations currently specified in the URL Parameters tool are useful for crawling. Due to the low value of the tool both for Google and Search Console users, we're deprecating the URL Parameters tool in 1 month.

Going forward you don't need to do anything to specify the function of URL parameters on your site, Google's crawlers will learn how to deal with URL parameters automatically.

If you need more control, you can use robots.txt rules (for example, you can specify parameter orders in an allow directive) or use hreflang to specify language variations of content.

If you have questions or comments, you can catch us on Twitter.