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