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We have used a roundabout way to use tracking URLS to pass page rank for some time now – dropping a tracking variable as a cookie, before delivering a 301 without the variable and then picking up the variable and putting it into our Traffic analysis system. But twice this year I have heard Google reps on podiums offer an easy alternative. No, not Matt Cutts this time. The first was Adam Lasnik in Stockholm and the other was Mathew Trewhella aka “Chewy” in London. They both suggested using #sourcename at the end of the URL to track a campaign source.
Well – it sounded great at the time – and I’m sure it will work without all the complicated need to do 301s. I mentioned it to a few people, but by colleague Andy has some issues. Let’s be honest Google – you are ruining standards. Joost gave an example of ignoring standards they’ve agreed by indexing “no index” pages, but blatantly ignoring the PROPER use of the “#” on a URL should probably exclude Google staff from being employed at W3C (that’s how the “#” symbol should be used).
For me, the only acceptable solution would be for Google to allow us to submit our own parameters in the site-maps protocol that we could use for tracking, without the need for us to do fancy things to stop our improved reporting systems from creating Duplicate URLs or diluting our link juice. Come on Google – you’ve done it for “WWW” vs “non-WWW” so let us do it for variables.