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    Strange GoogleBot URL in WordPress Sites

    I run several Wordpress blogs and use Lester Chan's wp-useronline plugin to monitor users. I noticed yesterday that the GoogleBot spider indexing the site appeared to be stuck on a single strange URL.

    http:// /&usg=ALkJrhg-i5vaNbgDvusXlAIluxQJsJ7R8w%2F%2Fpage%2F2%2F%2Fpage %2F2%2F%2Fpage%2F3%2F%2Fpage%2F2%2F%2Fpage%2F2%2F% 2Fpage%2F2%2F%2Fpage%2F2%2F%2Fpage%2F3%2F%2Fpage%2 F2%2F%2Fpage%2F3%2F%2/

    The decoded version of the querystring is simply:


    GoogleBot is still stuck on this URL this morning.

    I did a search for WordPress &usg. I found thousands of web pages that reflect variations of this odd URL somewhere on the page. For example, check out this History Channel forum thread:

    Has anyone else seen this? Any ideas as to what GoogleBot might be doing? It looks like it might somehow be related to Google's image bot, which might explain why alt attributes are displaying as text on the page. It looks like a WordPress bug (I am using 2.8.2) may be causing the loop, because the Previous and Next links should not include a reflection of any querystring in the page uRL.

    It looks like a WordPress bug, because if you add any test querystring, such as &usg=666 or &aaa=222 to the end of the home page URL and refresh the page, the querystring shows up in the Previous link at the bottom of the page.


    I could not find any info about this problem on the web. However, the MSN bot also got stuck in the same loop this morning. I removed the Previous and Next links from the hme Page and within 10 minutes both spiders were indexing the site properly again. Because MSN somehow picked up the same link with the $usg parameters. I therefore suspect that the link exists somewhere on the web and this may have been a malicious attack.

    The problem sitill exists for the Previous and Next links on WordPress category pages. All you need to do is add a querystring to the end of the page URL and hit the return button. The problem is that the querystring is inserted INSIDE the URL, which breaks the URL.

    For example, if you have a category page named /category/web-site-development/ and you add a querystring to the end of the URL, such as /category/web-site-development/&aaa=666 and click the return button, the Next link on the reulting page is /category/web-site-development/&aaa=666%2F/page/2/, which never takes you to page 2.

    Has anyone else seen this issue?
    Last edited by TopDogger; 28 July, 2009 at 21:28 PM.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

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