Whether UTM tracking on inbound links affect SEO is a question that I’ve seen discussed frequently, and I thought it would be of some use to clarify this in a blog post.

tl;dr

 

Inbound links are, of course, a sensitive subject for many SEOs. The amount of time and effort it takes to create valuable content and then working to earn links back to a page is so large that when you start to get backlinks to your page, you want to make sure it passes equity.

This is the case when collaborating with bigger media outlets that drive an important amount of traffic. Usually these links are tagged using Google’s Campaign URL Builder – meaning they have UTM parameters embedded in the link so that you can see the campaign source, medium or name (among other parameters) – so that the parameters are visible in Google Analytics.

Information and examples for URL campaign parameters

Source: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/

Proper UTM tracking for SEO

The correct way to use UTM tracking without hurting your SEO efforts is to make sure you’ve implemented your canonical tags correctly.

If you have pages with these parameters on your site then you should use the rel=”canonical” tag to specify the canonical URL that you’d like Google to rank. Also, you should never include these parameters for internal links on your site.

Having Gary Illyes’ tweet from April 25, 2017 is a great indicator of how often this question is on many SEO’s minds.

Secondly, it is refreshing to have such a current answer to this question, erasing all doubts on how to tackle the subject.

Now you know what to do!