Google can lose track of tons of URL parameters
Google’s John Mueller had an interesting answer to a question about linking to a page without an actual canonical attribute, and that page has URL parameters for necessary tracking purposes. John said, “If the parameter URLs are few, we can track and probably map to the canonicals. If it’s a ton of parameter URLs, we could lose track.”
It was on Twitter, so let me incorporate John’s questions and answer:
I should note that this is a great website for members, with a store. They are on 2 different CMS platforms. The non-canonical is a parameter used for the tracking that must be in place. The link in question is on the member’s side, pointing to the store. This is the only link to the shop pages.
– John Morabito (@JohnMorabitoSEO) May 24, 2021
It depends … If the parameter urls are few, we can track and probably map to the canonicals. If it’s a ton of parameter URLs, we could lose track of it. That said, if it’s important to you, I’d try to make it neat – the little things add up, too.
– John ð (@JohnMu) May 25, 2021
I’m not sure I can explain it better than John Morabito did here, but in short they want to add a link from the homepage of a site, but that link is not a canonical url but a URL with URL parameters for tracking purposes. Will this confuse Google, add a non-canonical url from a homepage …
John said “it depends” and it depends on the number of URL parameters in the URL. He said to keep it as short and neat as possible.
Anyway, it shows me why canonical link attributes are important in these situations. But when you link to a location without it, it can be confusing for Google. Make sure you are giving Google consistent signals.
What do you all think of this situation? I suspect it’s not that rare.
Discussion forum at Twitter.