HangTenSEO

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I have a client that currently has their GMB URL listed with the UTM code.

It is visible when you look at their GMB page. When building out citations, I would think we need to remove this and simply just have the URL to the website.

What are your thoughts?
 

heckler

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You probably don't want to miss-attribute other citations as the GMB listing... (unless I'm misunderstanding your question?)
 
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The point of the UTM URL is for tracking more granular information in Google Analytics. There's nothing wrong with using an UTM URL on your GMB profile (I'd say it's best practices at this point even) but for that information to be as usable as possible, I wouldn't use that specific URL anywhere else, otherwise you'll just dilute your data.

You could do something like:
utm_source=local&utm_medium=organic%20&utm_campaign=gmb

and then if you had any other citations you cared about, you could modify it for them:
utm_source=local&utm_medium=organic%20&utm_campaign=yelp

Or just use one on Google, and leave the rest as the bare website URL. As long as you have your canonical tag set properly on the page, it won't hurt anything to use different tracking URLS on different citations, Google (and other search engines) will know those are all pointing to the same place.

Honestly, I've only bothered with UTM URLs on GMB, though if you have another major referral source (Yelp for example) it can give you a little more control in Google Analytics if you switch that URL over to a tracking URL as well. But yeah, Heckler's right, don't use your Google tracking URL anywhere other than Google.
 

HangTenSEO

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That is what I was thinking, but I was wondering would Google treat the other citations as not exactly matching since the URLs don't match. I know you want to get the NAPs to match, but wasn't sure if the URLs not matching would effect anything.

Example
myhome.com?utm.... on Google My Business
Myhome.com on a citation

Moz Local checks URLs to see if they are consistent, so I was wondering if this might be an issue.
 

heckler

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Google will ignore the parameters. Bing on the other hand... that's anyone's guess.
 

garyjmag

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Is anyone noticing Google My Business stripping UTM parameters from the listing URL and replacing with a weird hash+character string (ex clientsite.com/#66BIDX)? This has happened many times across a lot of my clients and even re-occurs after I switch it back to the UTM parameter.
 

pbarnhart

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Several big box stores use UTM parameters with no issues. PetSmart is a good example. After several years experimenting with UTM variables they rolled them out over a year ago. No SERP impact, no citation impact.
 

ablais

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Totally agree that you should use the authoritative/canonical URL in citations.

Just noting that because the local ecosystem is largely powered by bunch of data sources scraping each other, your analytics will be conflated when you use tracking parameters. Sites frequently scrape Google URLs as well. Even with canonicals, GMB parameters are picked up by Yellow Pages or other sources and listed as the website URL. That link will do two things:

1. Cause misattribution of traffic to your GMB campaign URL and
2. Encourage Google to index the duplicate with the parameter (even if the canonical is properly implemented)

GMB Insights is the best place to understand traffic.

Here is the example of YP scraping URLs and listing non canonicals:
PetSmart Shreveport, LA 71105 - YP.com
 
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I just wanted to point out that I have not seen any risk in using UTM. I have not seen any examples of URLs being scraped and passing around the UTM URL over the local ecosystem. I either have not found an example or they do not take the UTM.

Here is the example of YP scraping URLs and listing non canonicals:
PetSmart Shreveport, LA 71105 - YP.com

This doesn't seem like example of scraping. The UTM URL used here on YP.com is specific for Yext subscription. It was deliberately used here for directories updated by Yext. The GMB listing for this location has a different UTM URL:
PetSmart Shreveport, LA 71105 - GMB listings
 
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- Garyjmag

Might be a bit late to answer this question, but for anyone else who sees this archived post at least, having your UTM parameters overwritten with a #xxxxxx style tracking parameter a few months back would have likely been the client's Moz local account. Supposedly Moz is no longer changing the site URL to add their in-house tracking, so if you're just now seeing a URL switch in your GMB dashboard, this might not apply. Here's a thread going over some of this.
 
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