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Tracking traffic from a real link and still getting google love
Shepherd




msg:4559048
 10:20 pm on Mar 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't know if that title is going to make enough sense, here's what I'm talking about.

Getting a link from a site, a real link, not purchased, no commission, not advertising. The site is in a complimenting niche and wants to send us traffic. We want to track the traffic coming from this site. Link would have variables for tracking, something like: example.com/product/?trackingvar=1234

So... if this link was going to pass juice to our site I'm assuming it would be credited to example.com/product/?trackingvar=1234 and not example.com/product/

Does that sound right? Maybe a better, albeit more work, way to do this would bee to track the refurl and forget the tracking variable?

 

martinibuster




msg:4559231
 3:38 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Your analytics should be tracking referring URLss That's something that a JS based analytics package usually tracks. For the link juice you can simply rewrite that specific URL to the actual URL. I would rather not use a tracking variable in the URL, just my personal preference.

Anyone else ok with a tracking variable in the URL string?

Shepherd




msg:4559245
 4:01 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Your analytics should be tracking referring URLss That's something that a JS based analytics package usually tracks.


Yeah, that's most likely the best way to go about it, just a little more work reporting-wise and the normal JS gaps. I was hoping to do something a little more custom and specific with the tracking variable. of course once google indexes the page with the variable in the url it throws off the reporting anyway.

ZydoSEO




msg:4560350
 6:08 pm on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've seen tracking variables like this ruin the SEO for many a site. As martinibuster said, you can check how many people are coming to your site from that particular site using your analytics package... there is typically no need for use query strings in the URL. Your analytics will track "referrer" URLs.

So... if this link was going to pass juice to our site I'm assuming it would be credited to example.com/product/?trackingvar=1234 and not example.com/product/


Generally speaking... yes. Google might notice that this trackingvar query string parameter is being used a lot yet the content being displayed is the same... and decide to ignore it. But why chance it. It's better to have nice, clean URLs free of query string parameters if at all possible.

jakebohall




msg:4576513
 1:22 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

The link juice would be passed to the URL that is being linked, and it could create some duplicate content issues. I would make sure to use the rel=canonical tag on the landing page, and take a possible look at query parameters in GWT.

Odds are, the tracking variable is going to make it look like they are a commissioned site. As martinibuster said, if you are just doing this for tracking volume of traffic from the referrer, you should just create a report in analytics to monitor referrers.

martinibuster




msg:4576521
 1:38 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey Jake! Didn't we have a late dinner together at Pubcon NoLa?

...it could create some duplicate content issues.


That is no longer an issue. Google and Bing are able to detect URL Parameters that lead to the same content and consolidating the link equity to the best URL. Duplicate content issues is not really something to worry about for this topic we're discussing.

From Google - Re URL Parameters [support.google.com]

When Google detects duplicate content, such as variations caused by URL parameters, we group the duplicate URLs into one cluster and select what we think is the "best" URL to represent the cluster in search results. We then consolidate properties of the URLs in the cluster, such as link popularity, to the representative URL. Consolidating properties from duplicates into one representative URL often provides users with more accurate search results.


Nevertheless, IF the OP is going ahead with the tracking URL then Jakes suggestion of using the rel=canonical is a good idea for the sake of helping the search engines. But keep in mind that rel=canonical is not a directive, it is a suggestion. A directive is code that search engines/crawlers must obey. A suggestion is not. The search engines will take the rel=canonical into consideration, but will not actually obey it. More information about that here [support.google.com].

Odds are, the tracking variable is going to make it look like they are a commissioned site.


That's not really an issue either. Google is aware of all the major affiliate networks and detects them and discounts them. Tracking variables are unique so they won't be handled in the manner that affiliate links are handled. More information here [webpronews.com].

Nevertheless, it's still a good practice to idiot proof the way we do things. Search engines still make errors from time to time.

jakebohall




msg:4576542
 2:54 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi Martini... Yes we did!

Thanks for clarifying a few of those points for me.

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