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How to Fix ReplytoCom Links Issue in WordPress [Updated]

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How to Fix ReplytoCom Links Issue in WordPress [Updated]

Update: So finally after lots of hit and trial, I reduced my replytocom links from 25K to mere 300. Which will eventually go away after some time. I will keep updating the article, based on my experience. If you have any questions or suggestions, drop us a message on Facebook.

I was trying to figure out what all lead to 20% traffic drop  of ShoutMeLoud after Google panda global launch and was trying to recover from Google panda effect. In the process I was fixing 404 links using Webmaster tool and most important working on duplicate posts. Thanks to QOT tutorial that reminded me to cross-check replytocom links for ShoutMeloud. I have already taken care of this by adding parameter into Google webmaster tool but I was shocked to see lots of replytocom links indexed from ShoutMeLoud, which must have created duplicate content issue. Here is a screenshot:

replytocom thumb

What is ReplytoCom Url’s:

This is for blogs which allow reply to comments. So when ever you click on reply to comments, you will see the link which will be something like:

http://www.shoutmeloud.com/services?replytocom=7062

Obviously this link should  not be a part of Google search and for me, I can see tons of replytocom links from ShoutMeLoud in Google search.

How to find if your blog is also affected by Replytocom Duplicate issue?

replytocomsearchresult thumb

Open Google.com and search with following string. Replace domain.com with your actual blog domain URL.

site:domain.com inurl:replytocom

Click on “repeat the search with the omitted results included.

Fixing Replytocom WordPress issue:

Fixing using Webmaster tool parameter handling:

This is the first step which I would suggest you to do. Login to Google webmaster tool and click on Site Dashboard> Crawl > URL parameters. Now click on edit infront of replytocom parameter.

If you have an old site, you might see replytocom in parameter field but if not, you can add it manually and set action as  shown in picture:

actionreplytocom

Once done, click on save. This will take some time for Google to deindex those pages, but it’s worth each and every second you spent making above changes. You can also do the same for other parameters which is seen there.

Also make sure replytocom links are not blocked using Robots.txt, as it will stop Google bots from crawling and this your links won’t get deindexed. This is one mistake which I did, and later after removing replytocom parameter from robots.txt file, I was able to get most of my replytocom links deindexed.

Update: This article is updated after Google added new URL parameter option in Google Webmaster tool.

There is also a WordPress plugin which is said to fix replytocom issue but I had that plugin installed and even after that I see lots of replytocom links indexed in Google. Also my Webmaster tool parameter handling was set to ignore such links, but it didn’t worked.

Robots.txt Method:

This is the step I would suggest when you don’t have any replytocom links in search engine. As many Webmasters suggest that you should add replytocom in your robots.txt block list. Though this, is a bad start, as Google won’t be able to crawl your replytocom pages and thus you will still see replytocom links in search. Best way, is to follow step 1 (Parameter handling) .

In case if you don’t have any replytocom links in search engine, you can add: In your Robots.txt file add this entry:  Disallow: *?replytocom

You can check the effectiveness of this by using Google Webmaster “Fetch as Google bot” tool.

robots.txtdenied thumb

One lesson which I have learnt after this is: No matter what, but one should always do a SEO audit of his site once or twice a month. This way you can figure out small issues which can lead to a bigger problem in the future. Though the best way to check if any of these method is working or not, search in Google with your latest post with comments. For ex:  Site:http://www.shoutmeloud.com/how-to-fix-replytocom-links-issue-in-wordpress.html will show all indexed links from that page, which will be helpful.

Do check your website for Replytocom issue and let us know if you also facing the similar issue.

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1072 articles.

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{ 21 comments… add one }

  • Adesanmi Adedotun

    It looks like I’ve made the same mistake as well and couldn’t observed this not until I got a mail from Indian friend complaining about certain issue and I decided to make Google my friend, glad it’s resoled now

    Reply
  • Mehul Boricha

    Hello Harsh,
    Again a superb article. I am having a question, can we remove replytocom just by checking “Remove the ?replytocom variables” in yoast plugin. Will it help or I have to do it as you illustrated above.

    Reply
  • Ileane

    Hi Harsh,

    Someone contacted me on Facebook and said that they saw this issue on my blog. I still don’t fully understand which plugin is causing this and why it actually happened in the first place, but I was very happy to see your post when I searched for the fix on Google.

    I followed your instructions and I hope the issue is resolved now. Thanks so much Harsh!

    Reply
  • Martin Noziglia

    Hi Harsh! Im getting crazy about replytocom issue. I followed the steps this post explain using webmaster tools and posts with replytocom still get indexed in google.

    So, now im deleting that replytocom url´s when it appears in google (but is frustrated…) I dont know what to do.

    Reply
  • Esther Paul

    Hi Harsh,
    I tried to follow the above steps.
    You have checked No URL and when I click on submit it shows a row which has Edit/Delete option.
    I can’t see links as you have shown in snapshot.
    Is there anything that am doing wrong?
    Esther

    Reply
    • Harsh Agrawal

      @Esther
      Can you show me a screenshot..as I just cross-checked, and everything is still the same. Only path to access URL parameter settings is moved under Crawl settings…..

      Reply
  • Amar ilindra

    My site is badly treated by Google in last update and i guess it is happened due to this replycom issue. I applied all changes mentioned in this guide.

    I check that option in Yoast and added *?reply2com in robots.txt and even added parameter in Google WMT

    Now how much times does it take to get completely deindexed

    Thanks

    Reply
  • Tarun Jaitely

    Thanks for this helpful guide. It’ll really help to solve the duplicate content issues upto some extent.

    Reply
  • Claes

    Hi

    Thanks a lot for this helpful article. I’ve just resolved my Replytocom issues in Google Webmaster Tools.

    Keep up the good work :-)

    BR
    Claes

    Reply
  • Ruchira Sahan

    Thanks for the great guide haresh. But what about other variables such as /?comments and /?postcomment

    Those are showing up on webmaster tools too. Should I disable indexing those separately as well? But those links include replytocom variables too
    ex-
    /?postcomment=heptyjhluv&replytocom=55564
    /?comments=otvmqhrwy&replytocom=1003

    So disabling replytocom works on those links or should I disable ?postcomment and ?comments separately?

    Reply
  • aris

    Hi Harsh..
    If Google bots have successfully overcome replytocom with google webmaster tools, is it still necessary block replytocom with robots.txt to anticipate duplicate on other blogs allow which reply to comments…?
    Thanks…

    Reply
  • Eugene

    Does Google still look at these links?
    I found a bunch of them with a backlink software I use, but when I did the test, site:domain.com inurl:replytocom it came up with no results and I was unable to find any of the links in webmaster tools. Please help.

    Reply
  • Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

    Hey, I was about to post about this too because I’m trying to recover from the Panda effect by identifying duplicate contents. You got me first :( but I’ll still post about it anyway some time later

    Don’t know if fixing this will bring my lost daily traffic back :(

    Reply
  • Jimmy

    Thanks Harsh

    I just checked and saw the same thing happened to me also, but not much. When i started blogging i was unaware of spam comments and akismet plugin, so approved almost all comments. I noticed that the posts i approved spam comments infected this replytocom. Is this infected through spam comments ? Any idea ?

    Reply
  • Alps

    We just have to live with the malaise of duplicate content indexing – comes with the tutoring territory. Our students post questions over and over and over again – every semester a new batch does it. We cannot remove it because then we miss out on some details.

    I hope Google grow a third brain cell (actually Im sure they have one) and cut some of us some slack here.

    Reply
  • Bilal Ahmad

    I heard about this issue from Sathish and installed the plugin but it did not worked. I thinkg this is the effective way to block that bots.

    Thank you harsh for this tutorial.

    Reply
  • Anand Kumar

    Thanks Harsh!

    but i am gaining rank after Google Panda launch!

    Reply
  • TheShadow

    Hi,I too have this issue when i check my website.i have applied the method to robots.txt file.is it enough to add in robots.txt or do i have to change in webmaster tools too? btw i find that all your published post are in .html format why?is it necessary to add for all post.if so why?

    Reply
  • Sreejesh

    I just went to webmaster tools are reading this, and I found lots of 404s, I didn’t check that for long. Thanks.

    And Good to see some tweaks in your blog post footer. Even I added the previous and next buttons on my blog recently :)

    Reply
  • Tuan @ Technology Blog

    Yes, I am also dealing with the problem as my blog now has thousands of replytocom pages indexed on Google. I am expecting Google will remove those duplicate contents soon.

    Reply
    • Harsh Agrawal

      Hey Tuan do let us know which trick you used and if it worked for you or not.

      Reply

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