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I have configured Google Analytics in the past hours to get more knowledge about how people come to visit my site. I now have the question wheter Google fetches these links with its parameters (e.g. ?utm_source=) and puts them in to the Google Search which would lead to a massive duplicate content issue. I've already stumbled upon Google Webmasters URL-Parameter remover tool, but as it says, you should only use it when you know what you're doing I'd like the community first, if there's some workaround.

  • Google usually knows to ignore utm parameters for Google Analytics and won't usually include them in the search results. That being said, I recall a question here recently where somebody claimed Google was indexing their site with them, but I can't find that now. I think there are some .htaccess tricks and meta tags that could be used if you are really worried about it, but I would just go ahead and use utm parameters without worrying about it. – Stephen Ostermiller May 1 '17 at 19:56
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Canonical link tag probably solve the issue automatically, but if your internal links also contain URL builders tag, then sometimes Google can override the canonical configuration, it's depend on how many internal links point to some page with builder tag.

So if your internal links also contain perameter URL to track signup links or buy button clicks, then probably you need to use this tool.

Personally I way say use both, because you're getting too many duplicate content notification into search console.

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  • How do you use the Google URL Parameter tool? Should I just add ?utm_source=source or only utm_source? @Goyllo – Niclas May 1 '17 at 13:05
  • Just use utm_source in your case. Don't add ? and If you use utm_source=twitter then it apply to only twitter source. But if you use utm_source, then it apply to all kind of source. And don't forgot to select no option (Does this parameter change page content seen by the user?) when you add new parameter in your search console. – Goyllo May 2 '17 at 9:31
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My recommendation (and experience) is that you should have canonical tags on all pages pointing to itself without any url parameters.

Example:

If you are using this URL: https://www.example.com/?utm_source=nytimes.com

Your canonicals should look like this:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/" />

It will not solve what it looks like in Google Analytics reports but Google would understand what you mean and avoid duplicate content. It would work for any url variables, not just utm-variables.

I have used this with several large e-commerce clients successfully.

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