Google: Links With UTM Parameters Are Not By Default Paid Links

Feb 9, 2022 • 7:41 am | comments (1) by | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

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John Mueller of Google has to say on Twitter that just because a link has UTM parameters on them, it doesn't make it a paid link. He said "links with UTM parameters are just links." "They're definitely not considered paid links," he added. In fact, we covered this topic not long ago saying URL parameters don't make a link unnatural.

Here is that tweet:

It is pretty wild to think that links with UTM parameters are paid links, I don't even know where that would come from. Of course, if you want, you can click through to the tweet and find the source that said this. But again, simply adding UTM parameters to a link and URL does not make that link a paid link in Google's eyes.

What is a UTM parameter? It stands for Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters, Urchin was the company Google acquired in 2005 that became what we know as Google Analytics. UTM are parameters you add on to your URL to help you track the referral of that click. So on my email newsletters I have ?utm_source=search_engine_roundtable&utm_campaign=ser_newsletter_2022-02-08&utm_medium=email appended to the end of the URL. It basically tells me the source of the click in from the Search Engine Roundtable, from the specific February 08, 2022 newsletter and from an email source. UTM parameters are used everywhere and not only for paid purposes, often they are used for unpaid purposes.

It is not always recommended to use UTM parameters on internal links because it can send mix signals - but many do use UTMs on internal links anyway.

So no, adding UTM parameters to a URL does not make that URL a paid link by default.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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