Adwords Hints & Tips #5 – Add referrer information to your Adwords URLs

When typing your URL, try adding a string describing the advert group generating the click. Also, you can identify your Google Adwords visitors by checking the Web Server Log Files.
6 Nov, 2005

When typing your URL (the website address to which you want your advert group clicks to be targeted), try adding a string such as ?source=adwordsxxxx to the end of the URL. ‘xxxx’ is a string that describes the advert group which is generating the click.

If you check your Web Server Log Files to see how your visitors have interacted with your website, you will clearly be able to differentiate your Google Adwords visitors from the rest, as you will see a record that looks like the following: – – [04/Nov/2005:23:56:10 +0000] “GET /softwaredev.htm?source=adwordssoftware HTTP/1.0″ 200 10463 “” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; AOL 9.0; Windows NT 5.1; Q312461; SV1)”

As you can see, this visitor arrived at the softwaredev.htm page of my website and was tagged with the ‘adwordssoftware‘ string to indicate that they had been sent to my site from my ‘software’ advert group in my Google Adwords campaign.

If you don’t look at your Web Server Log Files directly, but use one of the many Log File Analysis programs currently on the market, you might be able to adjust your Google Adwords URL ‘tag’ string so that it uses a format that can be readily interpreted by the log analyser program that you are using.

The Author of this series of articles is Martin Jarvis, who creates and manages Pay-per-Click campaigns for a number of clients. To find out more, please visit us at DMJ Computer Services Ltd.


  1. Steve_gts

    But I thought you said it’s bad to change the URL ?

    You can just use the find command to search for “gclid” that will also find the adwords clicks for you.

  2. The Boss

    Yes, good point Steve(?)*. I would always prefer to leave adverts alone once they have proved themselves and have built a decent click-thru history. All the same, the option is there to change it if you need to.

    *Google ‘Destination URL auto-tagging’ will append a parameter to your url when your advert is clicked. Thismakes it easier to associate your adwords traffic in Google Analytics, but can also be used in other web analytics programs.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…

Share This
Martin Jarvis

Martin Jarvis

I typically reply within an hour

We're here Monday - Friday during UK working hours. Drop us an email and we'll get back to you.

Martin Jarvis
Hi. It's Martin here. How can I help you?
Start Chat with: