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Strange duplicate results in google, how to remove safely?

Happy New Year Vanilla Community!

When I google "site:domain.com" the results include some very strange duplicate results. For example, "domain.com/?mode=delete_cookies" is one of the first results that appears for my site. Also on the first page are "domain.com/?page=cs" "domain.com/?letter=G" "domain.com/?letter=P". All of them resolve to the homepage of the forum but keep their strange URL.

Not sure what all of these pages are even for and I am very worried about doing redirects on them because I figure that they probably serve some use for the Vanilla backend. Can somebody please advise on how to get google to stop crawling these pages without harming my forum? Also, is there a goog way to know what pages are automatically generated by vanilla that are known to be duplicates?

Thanks in advance!

Best Answers

  • x00x00 MVP
    edited January 2012 Answer ✓

    Hmm very strange. I couldn't find any use to do with the back end. I would 301 them. If you have sitemap I would check that.

    I was only able to google one vanilla forums with anything like that and it appears to be a phpBB remnant:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=ucp.php?mode=delete_cookies

    grep is your friend.

  • x00x00 MVP
    Answer ✓

    Um I would make sure RewriteUrls is on, then the sitemap is built, check that is free of this nonsense, then yes I would say it is safe.

    grep is your friend.

Answers

  • x00x00 MVP
    edited January 2012 Answer ✓

    Hmm very strange. I couldn't find any use to do with the back end. I would 301 them. If you have sitemap I would check that.

    I was only able to google one vanilla forums with anything like that and it appears to be a phpBB remnant:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=ucp.php?mode=delete_cookies

    grep is your friend.

  • Thanks for the response, I wonder why it is happening to my forum. Especially because mine is a standalone Vanilla forum, never ported from PHPBB or anything like that. Also not embedded.

    Would I do any harm if I told google not to crawl anything after the "?" ?

    This seems like it would make the most sense because I imagine vanilla is creating lots of these pages that might not yet have been indexed.

  • x00x00 MVP
    Answer ✓

    Um I would make sure RewriteUrls is on, then the sitemap is built, check that is free of this nonsense, then yes I would say it is safe.

    grep is your friend.

  • Thank you! Your patience and help is greatly appreciated.

  • ToddTodd Chief Product Officer Vanilla Staff

    Those query string parameters aren't Vanilla 2 so maybe you are using Vanilla 1?

    At any rate. If you get your site registered with Google Webmaster Tools you can tell the googlebot to ignore certain query string parameters. Be careful though, make sure "mode", "page", or "letter" aren't used elsewhere.

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