Google Adds Ranking Data to Referrer String?

  • 1
  • April 15, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

I’m jumping to conclusions here but the new Google referrer string contains a number which might just allow analytics software to tell you where the site ranked when the visitor clicked on it.

Starting this week, you may start seeing a new referring URL format for visitors coming from Google search result pages. Up to now, the usual referrer for clicks on search results for the term “flowers”, for example, would be something like this:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=flowers&btnG=Google+Search

Now you will start seeing some referrer strings that look like this:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=7&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.example.com%2Fmypage.htm&ei=0SjdSa-1N5O8M_qW8dQN&rct=j&q=flowers&usg=AFQjCNHJXSUh7Vw7oubPaO3tZOzz-F-u_w&sig2=X8uCFh6IoPtnwmvGMULQfw

Perhaps the cd=7 (click detail = 7th?) is the ranking and ct=res (click through = results?) is indicating that the click came from organic search rather than a universal search (news or video) result.

If Google isn’t doing this then it really should be, perhaps Matt will confirm either way.

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