It sounds a little dirty doesn’t it?
We discovered this little known occurrence while conducting some keyword mapping on a client’s website. We noticed that two identical home pages had been allocated a different Google page rank. The only difference between these two pages was that one URL had a commonly used query string tag attached.
For those that aren’t aware, you can specifically track the success of your calls-to-action by placing different tracking tags on the end of each call-to-action’s link. This doesn’t change the URL, it just adds a small combination of letters and symbols which allows Google Analytics (& other analytics platforms) to track your referral visits from each source separately.
- We found that Google will index your two URLs separately, even through they are of the exact same page. Thus leading to a duplicate content issue
- As these links can be indexed, they can also show up in search results. This can lead to incorrect data if people start clicking on your tagged links from a search engine result page.
- You may end up with links directly to your tagged URL, instead of the original. When your looking at the linking data for your original page, these links won’t be accredited to your page = PageRank leakage.
How Do I Fix This?
- The first step is use rel=”canonical” tags and use the robots meta tag for the noindex, nocache & nofollow directive. This way your tagged URL won’t show up in search engine results.
- Don’t use tagged URL’s for longer than you need to. When your campaign has finished, implement a 301 redirect to a common “this campaign has now finished..” page, or straight to your home page.