Avoid Content Duplication because of Google Analytics

August 24th, 2007 admin Location: Raleigh, NC, Topic: Web Design | Digital Media

Link tagging is a great way of tracking the effectiveness of specific online campaigns. Google Analytics uses link tagging by appending query parameters to the URLs. Now, there isn’t anything wrong up to that point. The problem arises when you combine link tagging with search engine optimization. Search Engines follow links and assign link popularity to pages according to many criteria including the arrival url (destination url). By tagging your links with UTM parameters like: http://www.example.com/?utm_id=23423&utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc you automatically create a duplicate URL of example.com unless you take the necessary precautions.

My first thought was that Google, since it controls both ranking bots and Google Analytics, would block the indexing of utm parameters in the URLs. It is not the case. If you make a search in Google for “allinurl:utm_id” you will quickly assess that UTM duplication occurs.

So, how to stop the content duplication in order to present only one relevant-unique copy of your content to Google? You need to somehow tell the spiders to not index the pages with UTM variables.

There are two common ways of blocking content from spiders. The first is using the robots meta tag. Which in this case would prevent the entire page from being crawled. The second method is using the robots.txt file.

This is the correct directive in the robots.txt file to avoid duplication of your content with link tagging:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /*utm*

And that’s it. Even though spiders might still index the page, they will not crawl the content, and therefore it will prevent the duplication.

Now that you have the knowledge, you have the power. Happy link tagging for Google Analytics!

About the Author

Alex Centeno MBA., is an international creative director and digital media strategist. Currently residing minutes away from the Research Triangle Park (RTP) - North Carolina, and with over 10 years of interactive marketing training and experience, Alex leads Merkados' international clients to maximizing their online business strategies. One of Alex's biggest strengths is his world-class capacity to effectively combine interactive marketing, digital media design and web development.

You may find further information about Alex Centeno MBA. at: and Twitter.

Sobre el Autor

Alex Centeno MBA., Es un director creativo y estratega de medios digitales reconocido internacionalmente. En la actualidad reside a tan solo minutos del Research Triangle Park (RTP) - Carolina del Norte, y con más de 10 años de entrenamiento y experiencia en marketing interactivo, Alex lidera a los clientes internacionales de Merkados™ para maximizar sus estrategias de negocios en línea. Una de las mayores fortalezas de Alex es su capacidad global de combinar de manera efectiva, mercadeo interactivo, diseño de medios digitales y desarrollo web.

Para más información sobre Alex Centeno MBA. puede visitar: y Twitter.