Google URL Builder: Trick To Bulk Tag URLs for Google Analytics

Ever try creating lots of Facebook ads that you wanted to track using Google Analytics? If so, you probably know Google’s URL Builder, which generates URLs with tracking tags. (See post-script for an explanation if you’re not familiar.) It does this for a spectacular amount of URLs at a time! Exactly one URL at a time, to be precise.

Frustrated by Google’s URL Builder tool? Here’s how to build URLs with tracking tags in bulk.

Use SEO Book’s “Keyword Concatenator” tool, and instead of inputting lists of keywords, input your URL and variables.

If you’ve never used SEO Book’s concatenator tool before, let me explain how it works. You input 2+ or more lists of words. You then press generate. The tool takes each word in list 1 and combines it with each word in list 2, to generate list #3.

For example, suppose I have these two lists.

List 1: car, cars, auto, autos
List 2: used, new

The tool will generate list #3: car used, car new, cars used, cars new, auto used, auto new, autos used, autos new.

Obviously, it’s important to get the order of the lists right. ;)

The trick is to just use some creative thinking – exactly the kind of lateral thinking I teach in my book on advanced organic search marketing – and replace the keyword lists with so-called “name-value” pairs. That is, your tracking variables.

S.E.O. book concatenator tool

(A name-value pair is just the technical name for variables listed in a name-of-the-variable=value-of-the-variable format. You’ve all seen this before in math class. Y=X+1 And you’ve seen it in meta description tags and image tags. < Meta name=”Description” content=”This is where you put your meta description to try and generate a high CTR.” > < img src=”url of your image.jpg” alt=”description of the image for blind users and Googlebot” / > )

Step 1: In word list #1, you input your URL(s) and the first tracking variable:

Ex.: http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=

(You can’t see it because of the underline on the link, but there’s an underscore between “utm” and “source.”)

Step 2: In word list #2, you input the values for the first variable. Note: Only use commas, not spaces, or the tool will add spaces into your results:

email,bing,blogs

Step 3: In word list #3, you input the second variable:

&utm_medium=

Note: You must include both the ampersand (“and” sign) and the equal sign. The ampersand connects what follows to the rest of the URL. The equal sign tells Google Analytics that the text before the equal sign was the variable name and what follows is the variable’s value.

In word list #4, you input the values for the second variable:

cpa,cpc

In word list #5, input the third variable:

&utm_campaign=

At this point, you run out of lists in the tool, but that’s no problem. Step 6 is to generate results and turn those results into a single list so you can iterate in the tool.

- Click “Generate.”

- Copy-paste the results into a text editor (Word, Notepad etc are fine).

- Use find and replace to add a comma after the third variable, on each of the URLs you generated. In my example, I’d find “&utm_campaign=” and replace it with “&utm_campaign=,”. This makes the URLs fit to be used as words in the keyword list generator again.

- Copy-paste the resulting URLs back into SEO Book’s concatenator, in the text-input field for word list #1.

In word list #2, input values for the third variable… you get the idea.

Finally, generate your new list and import to Word. Use “Find and Replace” to eliminate the spaces inserted by the tool between keywords. Recall that the tool was built for concatenating keyword lists, not URLs. So you’ll usually get results with spaces. Ex.: seoroi.com/blog/?&utm_source= facebook &utm_medium= cpc

Bonus tip: Though Google Analytics requires input for the source, medium and campaign variables, you don’t need to use separate lists for each. That’s only the case if you’re using multiple sources, each with multiple mediums, each with multiple campaigns.

More commonly, you’ll just be tagging URLs for one source (ex.: AdWords), and it’s all CPC or email. So you can just concatenate that using one list, saving time. Ex.: In list #2, write: ?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=cpc .

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. In about 2-3 minutes, I bulk built 126 tagged URLs using this technique. Here’s just a handful for show:

http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=linkbait
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=google
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=bing
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=cpc
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=cpm
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=adwords
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=new-years &utm_term=commercial intent
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=linkbait
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=google
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=bing
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=cpc
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=cpm
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=adwords
http://seoroi.com/blog/?utm_source=email &utm_medium=cpc &utm_campaign=news-event &utm_term=commercial intent

Post-Script: Google Analytics will track any marketing campaign you’d like. You just need to add tracking tags as above, and Google Analytics will use those tags to organize the collected data for you. For example, tagging a URL with “utm_term=keyword-goes-here” will allow you to see a report on the visitors who came on URLs tagged with that term – how many visitors you got, your bounce rate, conversion rate etc.

P.P.S. Some of you may recall I shared a similar idea for local keyword list generation.

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