Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

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Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

Unread postby hmotulsky » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:32 pm

Google has been indexing our Help and Manual pages for over a decade, and it has worked fine until recently.

Now, the ULRS in Google's index are appended with: toc?=0&printWindow
For example:
https://www.graphpad.com/guides/prism/7 ... rintWindow

When you click on that link in the Google results, the page comes up without the table of contents and then a dialog comes up to print that page. Remove that URL appendage (toc=0&printWindow) and the link works perfectly.

I have no idea why Google is indexing with the tags that show the page without the TOC and with a print dialog. Any ideas?
Harvey Motulsky
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Re: Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

Unread postby Tim Green » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:51 pm

Hi Harvey,

The first Google problem that you have is that you have activated the option to reload the topic page with the TOC if it is opened on its own. This option is now always off in all current skins and should never be activated if you want to be indexed by Google. It is actually surprising that Google is indexing your pages, given that you have activated this option. (In Configuration > Publishing Options > WebHelp > Navigation in the skin). When it is on, Google interprets the reload as an attempt to get double the number of clicks for a page and will normally stop indexing the site entirely.

For some reason, Google is indexing the link accessed by the print button on your pages. I can only guess that this is because that is the most-used link on the page, which has increased its ranking.

Another potential issue is that your customized skin is based on a very old skin that uses the deprecated frameset layout instead of modern iFrames. Even before customization, those old skins are not really fully compatible with the current HTML generated by Help+Manual 7. It would really be better to move to one of the more current skins designed for version 7.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

Unread postby hmotulsky » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:55 pm

Thanks

I'm not sure which option you refer to.

[x]On load, expand [Top level entry]
[x]When a topic is loaded outside the navigation frame, force it to load the navigation frame

Also, I like the look of the skin you use for the Help and Manual online help:
https://www.helpandmanual.com/help/

Is that skin available yet (it wasn't when I asked a few years ago).
Harvey Motulsky
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Posts: 33
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Re: Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

Unread postby Martin Wynne » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:56 am

Tim Green wrote:The first Google problem that you have is that you have activated the option to reload the topic page with the TOC if it is opened on its own. This option is now always off in all current skins and should never be activated if you want to be indexed by Google. It is actually surprising that Google is indexing your pages, given that you have activated this option.

Hi Tim,

This problem can be avoided by using a .php extension for topic pages instead of .htm . Google will then index it. This is also a simple and foolproof way of preventing browser caching. The only downside is that there is only one browser which will render local PHP files -- Microsoft Edge, so you need to use that for testing the project locally.

There are very few servers which don't have PHP (or ASP on Windows servers) installed. PHP is intended for dynamic content (but doesn't have to contain any), so browsers assume each page impression will be different, and don't cache.

cheers,

Martin.
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Re: Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

Unread postby Tim Green » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:09 am

Hi Harvey,

This option:

[x]When a topic is loaded outside the navigation frame, force it to load the navigation frame


hmotulsky wrote:Is that skin available yet (it wasn't when I asked a few years ago).

That's the standard responsive blue skin included with Help+Manual. You can find both the unedited version and the edited version used in the Help+Manual help in the \Templates\HTML Skins\ folder in the Help+Manual program directory.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Google indexes H&M pages with "printWindow" in URL

Unread postby Tim Green » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:14 am

Martin Wynne wrote:This problem can be avoided by using a .php extension for topic pages instead of .htm . Google will then index it. This is also a simple and foolproof way of preventing browser caching. The only downside is that there is only one browser which will render local PHP files -- Microsoft Edge, so you need to use that for testing the project locally.

That's interesting. Do you have any external confirmation of this or articles about how it is handled differently by Google, and how reliably?

I find it interesting that Harvey's site appears to be being indexed by Google with the local redirects active. We may need to revisit this issue generally.

As for local rendering: I always use a local XAMPP installation with PHP and a database for local testing anyway, so that is not really an issue. I'd recommend it for anyone doing a lot of local WebHelp testing. On Pro versions of Windows it would probably be possible to set up IIS with both PHP and ASP for really broad local testing, but I haven't attempted that yet. I haven't had the time to set it up on a separate machine and it would conflict with too many other things.
Regards,
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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