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I have been using URL parameters for years to track user behavior more accurately on my and my clients' websites, but recently a number of those small sites I'm trying to rank on Google are really having a tough time.

I'm wondering if using URL parameters is ruining their ability to rank? For the main header links I don't use URL parameters, but for on-page links I do.

I do use canonical meta tags to help ensure that the main pages are the ones that gets the link juice, but I'm wondering if that's not enough and I should do away with internal URL parameter links altogether?

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  • Are the URL parameters only from external links or are you adding tracking parameters to the URL of every visitor (eg, session id as a URL parameter)? Apr 29 at 14:48

1 Answer 1

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Query params of the backlinks aren't harming anything SEO-wise as long as they're not edge cases, so like not too many parameters or banned keywords in them.

Query parameters inside a site aren't essential for tracking. Except maybe cross-domain linking, but that is completely fine SEO-wise too.

//UPD from the comment:

Don't use query parameters for tracking unless you have no other choice. And it's not due to SEO, it's due to general usability and visibility of things that don't need to be visible and general cleanness of the url. Probably will also slightly benefit SEO in cases when your would-be query params would take a lot of space in the url, or would have bad/misplaced keywords there.

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  • Thanks for your reply! What do you mean by edge cases? I'm aware that query parameters aren't necessary for tracking, they just allow me to track more details about visitor behavior. I'm looking for a definitive Yes or No as to whether internal parameter queries should be used or not, and an explanation why. May 2 at 14:24
  • Then No: don't use query parameters for tracking unless you have no other choice. And it's not due to SEO, it's due to general usability and visibility of things that don't need to be visible and general cleanness of the url. Probably will also slightly benefit SEO in cases when you would be query params would take a lot of space in the url, or would have bad/misplaced keywords there.
    – BNazaruk
    May 2 at 14:39
  • Thank you @BNazaruk ! You convinced me with the misplaced keywords concept, I'm more focused on SEO than visibility. But I agree that URL cleanness matters, it may confuse visitors or make them suspicious. If you change the main answer to the answer above I will mark it as correct. May 3 at 15:08
  • I'm almost ok, but for seo, you should avoid parameter, cause everyone doen't use canonical (sadly) and parameter without canonical create a new url each time. Also you don't need parameter in backlinks, you already have the referer source parameter to check incomming trafic. May 4 at 11:45
  • parameters don't exactly create canonicals every time. While parametrized pages can rank separately, google is smart enough to ignore them when they don't differ enough. It will do so to clean urls too. Regardless of the canonicals. And referrer is not always passed, or is not always enough for attribution. Read on UTM parameters as an example.
    – BNazaruk
    May 4 at 13:31

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