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Old 03-08-2005   #1
sickone
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Why does Yahoo add strange query string to pages indexed?

On a few of my sites, Yahoo has added some strange query string variables to the pages that are indexed.

One of them is:
www.example.com/?aref=9

Another one is:
www.example.net/?D=D

Anyone have any ideas why this is happening?
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Old 03-14-2005   #2
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I've seen things in the stats that look a little funny, but to be honest I've never noticed that appended to a URL before. The only time has been when site owners were doing something like adding a field to identify PPC clicks (like from Adwords) and the URL got picked up by a search engine that way.

Are you running PPC with an identifier? Or can you identify any sites linking to you with characters appended to the URL?

Just grasping, I really don't know - hopefully someone else will come along who does know.
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Old 03-14-2005   #3
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OK, I just clicked on a merchant link through the income reports at CJ and this is what it looks like

http://www.example.com/?xtr=cj

That is not an affiliate links, it is a way of tracking clicks to the merchant's site from the network, identifying where the click came from. That's an example of one of the ways I've seen such a link, but how it would make its way into the index I don't know.
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Old 03-14-2005   #4
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I'm not running any sort of PPC or affiliate programs for the site. It's a site I built and it only has backlinks coming from another site of mine. I've doublechecked the backlinks and they do not contain a query string, so I really do not understand why Yahoo is adding the strange query string.

The two sites that have the strange query string happen to be auto generated sites. Could this have anything to do with it? Could Yahoo be picking up on the format of the auto-generated sites? I do have some other sites that use the same script that don't have the strange query string added. Has anyone ever seen anything like this in Yahoo?
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Old 03-14-2005   #5
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Yahoo has been tracking clicks to sites in its index for a very long time.

I don't know what they use the info for, but I do know they are collecting it.
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Old 03-14-2005   #6
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let me make a wild guess;
The pages with the query string are the pages that are generating the most traffic for you in yahoo right now?
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Old 03-14-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lots0
let me make a wild guess;
The pages with the query string are the pages that are generating the most traffic for you in yahoo right now?
The query strings are on the home pages of each of the two sites, so those pages are generating the most traffic for those two sites. However, my other sites that use the same script and do not have the strange query string have more traffic as they target keywords that are searched for more.
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Old 03-14-2005   #8
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I also think that the yahoo tracking is in part based on keywords. Some keywords get tracked some don't.

In most of the high traffic areas like porn, gambling and (legal) drugs almost all the listings on first page the have the tracking query strings.

just do a search for "porn" or "casino" in yahoo and take a look at the URLs.

You'll also notice that most of the high traffic pages are also being tracked thru yahoo's "rds" subdomain.

Last edited by lots0 : 03-14-2005 at 12:59 PM. Reason: I can'y type
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Old 03-14-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lots0
I also think that the yahoo tracking is in part based on keywords. Some keywords get tracked some don't.

In most of the high traffic areas like porn, gambling and (legal) drugs almost all the listings on first page the have the tracking query strings.

just do a search for "porn" or "casino" in yahoo and take a look at the URLs.

You'll also notice that most of the high traffic pages are also being tracked thru yahoo's "rds" subdomain.
To clarify, I'm not talking about the query string of the actual redirection script that does the tracking. The query string is being attached to the indexed page's url (the green url that is displayed directly under the site description in the serps). It is also attached to the url variable that is used in the redirection script.

Last edited by sickone : 03-14-2005 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 03-14-2005   #10
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do you have an example you can post?
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Old 03-14-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lots0
do you have an example you can post?
Unfortunately not
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Old 03-14-2005   #12
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Quote:
The query string is being attached to the indexed page's url (the green url that is displayed directly under the site description in the serps). It is also attached to the url variable that is used in the redirection script.
Interesting, would you PM me the URL?
I am curious about this.

I don't understand why yahoo would add a variable query string to one of your URLs.
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Old 03-15-2005   #13
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Without looking at the URL.

I think it is safe to say that Yahoo did NOT change your URL, the "script" you are using must have added the query string to your URL and Yahoo just indexed your URL.
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Old 03-15-2005   #14
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lotso

lotso, any guess you want to venture as to why yahoo would hold this data? perhaps for use within the paid inclusion sales cycle?
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Old 03-15-2005   #15
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I am not sure Chris.
With Yahoo's style of corporate management, my best and only guess would be that they are gathering and holding all that data until they can figure out how to make money with it - if they are not already using it to make money.

I know one thing, I would love to get my hands on that data...
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Old 03-15-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lots0
Without looking at the URL.

I think it is safe to say that Yahoo did NOT change your URL, the "script" you are using must have added the query string to your URL and Yahoo just indexed your URL.
I disagree with your guess. The script I created is fairly simple and I have triple-checked the links to the home pages and none of them contain the query string. I have total control over every backlink pointing to the site so they are not an issue either.

I think it's just a quirk in Yahoo, but I will continue doing research on the subject to try and find some other examples of it that I can post.
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Old 03-17-2005   #17
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OK, I have that thing in Cpanel that shows the last 300 pageviews and this is what showed up earlier with a visit from the Yahoo crawler - and I've seen others like it, many of them

/holiday?M=A

But nothing like that has shown up in the SERPs ever.
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Old 03-19-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcia
OK, I have that thing in Cpanel that shows the last 300 pageviews and this is what showed up earlier with a visit from the Yahoo crawler - and I've seen others like it, many of them

/holiday?M=A

But nothing like that has shown up in the SERPs ever.
That sounds exactly like what I'm seeing except the pages are indexed in Yahoo. I wouldn't be surprised if some of your pages started getting indexed with the strange query string.

I checked the log files for one of the sites and found I have many file requests for "/?M=D", "/?D=D", "/?M=A", "/?N=A", and "/?D=A".
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Old 03-19-2005   #19
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It looks like Marcia might have found the answer. Do you use Cpanel? If you do, that seems to be your problem - there is or was a live link. I've never used cpanel, so I can't visualise it.

I agree with Lots0 - it won't be Yahoo! changing the URLs, which means they must have found the URLs somewhere. Have you done a link: search on some of them to find out what pages are linking to them? If you have, and if there are none, it may be that there were links at one time, however briefly.

Without an actual URL, it's very difficult to check anything.
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Old 03-19-2005   #20
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A view of the Yahoo! Toolbar from a black helicopter.

PhilC
Quote:
they must have found the URLs somewhere
Well now, here's a good one for the tin foil hat crowd.

Phil, it's password protected and just a record of latest visits; but I keep the Yahoo toolbar enabled at all times, including when I view stats. How about you sicko, do you have the Yahoo toolbar installed?

Last edited by Marcia : 03-19-2005 at 05:28 AM.
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