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.


Dixon Jones

An award-winning Search and Internet Marketer. Search Personality of the year Lifetime achievement award Outstanding technology individual of the year International public speaker for 20 years in the field of SEO and Internet Marketing, including: Pubcon; Search Engine Strategies (SMX); Brighton SEO; Ungagged; Search Leeds; State of Search; RIMC and many more.

5 Comments

Joost de Valk · 17th December 2007 at 7:14 pm

Ey Dixon, funny, the new tracker for Google Analytics seems to support campaign URL’s with a # instead of a ?, when I find a bit more about that I’ll let you know.

mayhemuk · 11th January 2008 at 4:05 pm

Yeh – Cheeky gits for ignoring standards though, eh? Andy, My CTO is NOT impressed.

resume templates · 16th August 2010 at 5:04 am

thanks for the info. I will have to look more into 301 redirects. and google ignoring standard, what a shock, the next monopoly (cough cough microsoft)

sarahbernier · 17th February 2015 at 4:09 am

I’m so confused about this issue. Does using a service like Link Trackr dilute the “link juice” you get from those tracked (i.e. redirected) links?

Thanks for your help

    admin · 23rd February 2015 at 10:24 pm

    No idea. Never used that one

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