1

I'm reading that links with UTM tracking code are considered as separate links from Google's point of view and can be recognized as duplicated content.

(1) I know NOINDEX, FOLLOW can solve the duplicated content issue, but my concern is that will it cause the actual link (without UTM tracking parameters) to not being indexed by Google as well?

Here's my situation:

A Wordpress driven site, where posts are paginated.

eg.

http://example.org/post/1000
http://example.org/post/1000/2
http://example.org/post/1000/3

I'm already using rel="prev", rel="next", and rel="canonical" accordingly for the above URLs.

What I'm trying to do is to add UTM parameters to links (first page of the post) being shared to social media or mobile app.

eg.

http://example.org/post/1000?utm_source=example.org&utm_medium=share&utm_campaign=app

(2) In this case, will Google treat the above URL separately and dilute the link juice?

Or will search engine ended up displaying the above URL instead of the original URL (without the UTM tracking parameters)?

My idea is to programmingly inject NOINDEX, FOLLOW meta tags to the UTM tracking URL when the matching Query String is presented.

I want to avoid the UTM tracking URL showing up in the search result and pass the social sharing link juice back to the original URL.

(3) In the end, my question is, what's the best practice and approach to tackle the situation above?

Thanks.

  • Your example of a forum is a good one. One or more of my sites is purely parameter driven. These are all seen as separate pages. Links within the link index are another thing entirely. I will have to rethink my thoughts on this and go back to some of my research. I am withdrawing my answer until I am sure. I prefer to be right than wrong and steer you in a bad direction. I would use NOINDEX in your parameter link if it is at all possible. Cheers!! – closetnoc Aug 15 '16 at 4:52
  • @closetnoc I do want the original page URL to be indexed. Just not sure if adding NOINDEX meta to a UTM tracking URL will result my actual URL without the UTM tracking disappear from the SERP, this is the least I want to see. I read that using a hash tag # to replace the ? can bypass the issue, but since I'm using a plugin to perform the task, and I don't really want to modify and mess with modifying the hardcoded code. Do you know if rel="canonical" will make search engine bypass indexing the UTM tracking URL? – KDX Aug 15 '16 at 5:17
  • Huh. I just thought of this... Perhaps you do not want to use NOINDEX as much as NOFOLLOW for links with params. Still foggy. Need more coffee. – closetnoc Aug 15 '16 at 14:57
  • @closetnoc Currently in my implementation, I didn't put NOINDEX nor NOFOLLOW, not sure how it's going to work out. Hopefully Google is smart enough to bypass UTM parameters. – KDX Aug 15 '16 at 22:12
  • I am sure someone here has an idea how Google handles these things, it may take time. Cheers!! – closetnoc Aug 15 '16 at 23:11
1

use something like this, for Apache, to set all urls with certain parameter to noindex:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^utm_source*)$
RewriteRule .* - [E=NOINDEX_HEADER:1] 
</IfModule>

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, follow" env=NOINDEX_HEADER
</IfModule>

for nginx:

location ~*  {
if ($args != utm_source) {
add_header X-Robots-Tag noindex;
}
}

if NOINDEX for URL with UTM parameters will affect the original URL of its indexability

surely no.

  • Do you know if NOINDEX for URL with UTM parameters will affect the original URL of its indexability? Also, my hosting is not using Apache, do you have an example for Nginx? – KDX Aug 17 '16 at 2:46
  • @KDX answer edited – Evgeniy Aug 17 '16 at 16:24
  • How about the follow part? What's the correct syntax to append it using your example? Does it matter where I put this location ~* block? Should I place it at the top or bottom of the configuration? before or after the location / or location ~ .*\.php$ block? – KDX Aug 18 '16 at 2:19
0

I would say the best solution is use the canonical tag. Noindex and follow is a solution but you have to use noindex and follow tag on every page that is running with query string, so better to use a canonical tag.

  • I'm already using canonical meta tag on every page, including the one with UTM parameters. If I understand correctly, canonical tag doesn't prevent the page to get indexed right? I just don't want the link with parameters to get indexed causing link dilution, while keeping the link juice coming from user sharing. – KDX Aug 19 '16 at 5:53
  • yes you are right, use the actual page url in canonical tag for parameter pages like if your website url is www.abc.com/ and parameter page is www.abc.com/?u=b, then use www.abc.com url as canonocal tag in both pages – Ankush Mahajan Aug 20 '16 at 13:23
  • If someone post my shared link, www.abc.com/?utm_campaign=share on another website, with canonical meta tag in place, will Google still index this page and causing link dilution. – KDX Aug 20 '16 at 14:20
  • 1
    the link juice will be passed but Google will not index the shared link – Ankush Mahajan Aug 22 '16 at 11:51

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