Google Blogoscoped

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ranking Data in Google Referrer String

When a user clicks on a Google result URL, the site they end up on can check things like the user’s original search query that led to that site, thanks to the referrer string. Now, for a portion of those referrer strings, the position of the result that was clicked on is transmitted as well, as Blogstorm reports (with a confirmation by Google’s Matt Cutts in the comments). This could be an interesting info for webmasters to analyze, in particular because your ranking may differ from country to country and user to user, so you can’t just check the rank that was clicked by checking the Google result.*

Here’s an example search URL, with the ranking parameter & value “cd=7” (as in position 7) highlighted:

What portion of URLs specifically contain this query string? I can’t reproduce this, but for now it should be related to URLs which come from result pages delivered via Ajax, as shown to some US users. The Google Analytics blog – which also notes that statistic apps should make sure to parse the new format too now – refers to “a small percentage of searches”.

*Already, the Google Webmaster Tools offer some rather generalized positioning info when you check Statistics -> Top Search Queries. You’ll see a column titled “Position”, but as Google’s help explains this value represents “The highest position any page from your site ranked for that query, averaged over the last week.”


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!