Google is really pumping out the Webmaster Help videos lately. Today's features Matt Cutts responding to the following user question:
Will Google interpret links to URLs ending with a campaign tag like ?hl=en (www.example.com?hl=en) as a link to www.example.com or to a completely different page? What bout the SEO effect of inbound links?
"The team that really does the core indexing does a great job of canonicalizing, which is picking from different URLs and combining them together in the right way," says Cutts. "So, if you're using sort of standard URL endings - URL parameter tags, tracking tags, stuff like that, often times we'll be able to detect that those are the same page, and that they should really be combined in some way."
"If that's not the case, we like to talk about the KISS rule (the Keep It Simple Stupid rule). If you don't trust a search engine to get it right, you do have a lot of different options," he says. "So, you can always, for example, use rel="canonical" whenever you land on a particular page. If it's a tracking URL, and you don't want it in the index at all, in theory, you could record that that particular landing page was hit on the server, and then do a 301 to whatever the final page is going to be, and we also provide a free tool in Google Webmaster Tools Webmaster Console at Google.com/webmasters, that basically lets you say, 'These URL parameters matter. These URL parameters don't matter.' So, when you see a URL with a particular set of parameters, you can strip these parameters out, and you'll still get the same content."
"So if you do use something non standard, and you see it being an issue, maybe a URL showing up twice in Google's search results, that is something where I'd recommend checking out our URL parameter tool or consider using rel="canonical" or a 301 redirect," Cutts concludes.
This has little to do with the actual subject at hand, but I found it somewhat amusing how horrible the YouTube transcript was for this video. For example, it says:
"So the crawl team the team that really does the court indexing they do a great job of canonical ie sandwiches picking from different your elves and combining them together and the right way so you think sort of standard you were all indian side you were a printer tax cutting taxes like that..."
Just a heads up. You may actually want to watch these things rather than rely on the transcripts.