How To Fix Replytocom Links Issue in WordPress [Updated]

fix-replytocom-links-issue-in-wordpress
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Update: So finally, after lots of trial and error, I reduced my replytocom links from 25K to a mere 300. These 300 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 lead to a 20% traffic drop of ShoutMeLoud after I was trying to recover from the Google Panda launch. In the process, I was fixing 404 links using the Google Webmaster Tool and, most importantly, working on duplicate posts.

Thanks to the QOT tutorial, I was reminded to cross-check replytocom links for ShoutMeloud.

I have already taken care of this by adding a parameter into the Google Webmaster Tool, but I was shocked to see lots of replytocom links still indexed from ShoutMeLoud which must have created the duplicate content issue.

Here is a screenshot:

replytocom
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What is a Replytocom URL?

Replytocom is for blogs which allow replies to comments. So whenever you “Reply” to comments, you will see a link like this:

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

Obviously, this link should not be a part of Google Search. But for me, there are tons of replytocom links from ShoutMeLoud in Google Search.

How to find out if your blog is also affected by the replytocom duplicate issue?

replytocom-search-result
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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 do.

Login to your Google Webmaster Tool and click on Site Dashboard > Crawl > URL parameters.

Now click on “Edit” in front of the replytocom parameter.

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

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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 spend making these changes. You can also do the same for the other parameters seen there.

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

Update: This article has been updated after Google added a new URL parameter option in the Google Webmaster Tool.

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

Robots.txt method:

This is the step I would suggest when you don’t have any replytocom links in the search engine.

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.

The best way is to follow step 1 (parameter handling).

In case you don’t have any replytocom links in the search engine, in your robots.txt file add this entry:

  • Disallow: *?replytocom

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

robots.txt-denied
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One lesson which I have learned after this is:

No matter what, one should always do an SEO audit of their site once or twice a month.

This way you can figure out small issues which can lead to bigger problems in the future.

Though the best way to check if any of these methods are working is to search in Google for your latest post with comments.

For example:

  • Site:https://www.shoutmeloud.com/how-to-fix-replytocom-links-issue-in-wordpress.html

This will show all indexed links from that page which will tell you if your efforts are successful.

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

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Authored By
A Blogger, Author and a speaker! Harsh Agrawal is recognized as a leader in digital marketing and FinTech space. Fountainhead of ShoutMeLoud, and a Speaker at ASW, Hero Mindmine, Inorbit, IBM, India blockchain summit. Also, an award-winning blogger.

23 thoughts on “How To Fix Replytocom Links Issue in WordPress [Updated]”

  1. 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.

  2. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 ?

  7. 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 ๐Ÿ™ but I’ll still post about it anyway some time later

    Don’t know if fixing this will bring my lost daily traffic back ๐Ÿ™

  8. 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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?

  11. Hi

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

    Keep up the good work ๐Ÿ™‚

    BR
    Claes

  12. Tarun Jaitely

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

  13. 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

  14. 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

    1. 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…..

  15. 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 urlยดs when it appears in google (but is frustrated…) I dont know what to do.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Using Facebook comments or disqus instead of default comments on WordPress will remove replytocom or not?

    1. Harsh Agrawal

      @Shibli
      That would..However I prefer WordPress comments over DISQUS. Facebook commenting is great when you are getting maximum traffic from social site.

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