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Ranking Data in Google Referrer String  (View post)

Michael Martinez [PersonRank 5]

Thursday, April 16, 2009
13 years ago6,697 views

Google is advising people who use server-side analytics software to change their Google query parsing strings from "/search?" to "/url?".

Webalizer users should already be parsing on "q=" (not "/search?") and that parameter is not going away.

If Webalizer reports break, people will have to install updated versions of Webalizer to resolve this issue.

Yv. [PersonRank 7]

13 years ago #

When I viewed the source of the normal ( search results (not logged-in), I got all links going via the special url with the &cd=X.

So it seems to not only be ajax search, and also hardcoded in the main search results.

I wanted to make a screen cap, but on refresh it was gone.. so it seems they do it on some searches... so you only get a sample passing through the url with search position.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

To be honest: This comes 5 years too late. With all the localization and personalization going on this data is rather meaningless with the exception of showing you how differently your page ranks across the world and people's computers.

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

"I can’t reproduce this, but for now it should be related to URLs which come from result pages delivered via Ajax,"

You are wrong, Philipp.

All URLs on all SERPs are closely watched by Google since a long time ago.
And it's not AJAX, it's simple JavaScript.
Take any SERP, any result/link, and do a simple right click on it. Then, pass your mouse over the link and look the status bar... you don't get anymore the direct link to the result. How? A simple attribute "onMouseDown" on each link.

Have a nice day.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Tom, that however is *not* the referrer, and that was what the post was about.

You can test this yourself – outside of the US, i.e. if you're not already on Ajax pages – by searching Google for [what's my referrer]. Click on the result "" and see for yourself; the referrer URL info (again, unless you're on an Ajax result) will show

and not the right-click value

Differently formatted tracking URLs did indeed exist, but that is not what the referrer is about.

> And it's not AJAX, it's simple JavaScript.

It is Ajax, at least for a portion of US users:

[Line breaks added to fix formatting in Chrome – Tony]

Cédric from France [PersonRank 0]

13 years ago #


It seems that all cache URL show the cd attribute with the good position ;-)

(I tested it on several search, it works)

I don't know if it's useful for you!

alek [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

FYI that Image search has had this for a while

I agree with Matt's comment that this is "awesome for webmasters" ... especially since one can now do server-side analysis of rankings rather than using the soon-to-be-turned-off SOAP API.

JohnMu [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

Also, given that your logs will have the user's IP address, this will allow you to monitor how ranking differs based on the user's location. I think this is pretty neat, I hope we start seeing tools / scripts that leverage this information and make it useful to the webmaster!


James Xuan [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #


TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

The referer can't be because it's a HTTP 302 redirection. But I wasn't talking of "HTTP referrer" as you replied, but just as "page you come from".
And, of course, there is AJAX for few US users, but the onMouseDown attribute isn't.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

13 years ago #

> The referer can't be

Tom, yes, it can be, that's exactly what this change (to Ajax for some US users, for now) is about. Also check out this post by Ionut:

This whole topic is not to be confused with the previous tracking URLs, those are two different things (despite the URLs looking alike, of course). This topic is about the new Ajax pages being tested, which indeed will show a different referrer, as someone "in the know" was able to confirm to me before I posted (I did not see it myself, as I mentioned in the post).

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