Will a Tracking URL Hurt Your Local Rankings in Google?

Like my post? Please share!

You may have considered building a tracking URL and putting it in the “Website” field of your Google My Business Google Places page.

You’d do this so that you could see in Google Analytics how many clicks came from people how found you in the local 3-pack (as opposed to in the organic results).

But maybe you didn’t try it because you there was a chance it would mess up your rankings or a client’s rankings.

Well, no problem.  I made myself your lab rat and put a tracking URL on my Local Visibility System page.

As I suspected, it doesn’t seem to have hurt my visibility in the search results.

That’s what I see in the Google My Business “Insights,” which you have to take with a fistful of salt.  So I checked Analytics, too, and I don’t see a loss in traffic.

I don’t pretend that this is a scientific test.  Like the experiment I did back in October (“Do Longer Business Hours Help Local Rankings in Google?”), it’s just one case-study.  I could try it for other businesses and my results might vary.

But what I have concluded is that there’s no inherent harm in using a tracking URL on your Google page, so now I’m more comfortable with using tracking URLs for clients.  That squares with what Dan Leibson mentioned in his great post on the topic.

Have you tried using a tracking URL on a local page (yours or a client’s)?

If so, what have you seen?

Any concerns I didn’t address?

Leave a comment!


  1. We actually use tracking URLs for all of our clients and have had zero issues with it. But to make it more “user-friendly” we implemented it with 301 redirects so the utm tags are not visible to anyone viewing the listing. This way you can use a cleaner URL like localvisibilitysystem.com/GL-attleborough and have the UTM tags kick in with the redirect.

  2. We do the same with our local search platforms and haven’t found that it was hurting anything. Great to have someone else do a bit of a test to confirm. Thanks for the article.

  3. Hey Phil,
    I implemented the technique for five clients back on 09/30/2015 after reading Dan’s post. I also made sure to set the URL parameters in GSC and that the tracking urls related to canonicalized pages.

    I just checked GMB Insights and sessions in Analytics and I have to concur with your observation – no negative impact at this point.

  4. I’ve used it on all my clients with no issue. I’ve gone a few steps further:

    My tracking URLs use hashed anchor values.e.g.


    This makes them look nice in GSC and in the Google Pages.

    I then implement some JavaScript on the page that does a couple of steps:

    1) Detect the anchor and re-write it into utm_ parameters before ga fires
    2) After ga fires remove the utm_parameters to leave a clean address

    I’m planning on writing a guide for this soon.

  5. Appreciated know this – thanks all 🙂

  6. Thanks for putting your site on the line for us and being our lab rat 🙂

    Hopefully it continues to have no negative effect!

  7. I’ve been implementing tracking for some time, often using the 301 to make the link look less messy and never had any issues with ranking or traffic.

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