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Consolidating URL Variations: Google Search Engine vs. Google Analytics

Google Webmaster Tools - exclude URL parametersview at full size

Excluding URL parameters in Google Webmaster Tools does not affect Google Analytics.

In the following URL from your website, the “category” parameter serves only to display a specific banner on the page but does not otherwise dictate page content:

http://www.myhikingsite.com
/faq.aspx?category=tents

Because this URL parameter does not determine significant differences, it makes sense to exclude it from both Google search engine indexing and Google Analytics.

In Google Webmaster Tools, you can direct the Google search engine to consolidate or ignore specific URL parameters. One of the main benefits here is to consolidate inbound link value towards a specific URL, so all link equity flows to /faq.aspx (for better Google rankings) instead of being divided among /faq.aspx?category=tents, /faq.aspx?category=boots, and /faq.aspx?category=backpacks.

In Google Analytics, excluding URL query parameters in your profile settings can make your Content reports much easier to interpret.

Before you exclude or consolidate URL parameters in Google Webmaster Tools, make sure to understand each setting so do don’t inadvertently eliminate unique page content from the Google search index. In Google Analytics, make sure to designate a completely separate raw profile before you apply any profile settings or filters.

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2 thoughts on “Consolidating URL Variations: Google Search Engine vs. Google Analytics

  1. Good post, only thing that might have helped would be screen shot or two on how you create that raw profile in analytics or apply the filter settings as it seems like the post is more focused on consolidation url variations in google web master tools than analytics.

    Thanks, Mary Kay

    • Mary Kay, thanks for your comment. (Glad to hear from you…)

      Re: the raw profile, you can just create a new profile in GA and apply no filters or special settings to it. This is just best practice – in case any of your filters or settings run amok, you’ll always have the raw, unfiltered profile to refer to.

      Re: URL consolidation in GA, there aren’t quite the number of options as there are in Google Webmaster Tools – you can only specify that GA ignore certain parameters (and thereby consolidate the parameterized versions of the URL back into the non-parameterized version). You can do this very straightforwardly: with Admin selected in the top navigation, drill down to a profile, select the Profile Settings tab, and populate Exclude URL Query Parameters with the parameters that you want GA to leave out of the URLs as they appear in your reports.

      More on this in an upcoming post.

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