Embedding Result Position in Search Engine Result Links

By Deane Barker on October 3, 2005

This would be a nice thing for search engines to do: give the the position of your result on a click through. So, on every site in a search result listing, include the position of the result in the querystring line. Like this:


Then I could check my logs and find:

  1. The search engine (from the referrer)
  2. The date and time
  3. The search term (from the referrer)
  4. The position of the result that was clicked on

This means that I could determine where I was at for that term, on that engine, at that date and time. Wouldn’t this be handy? Or am I not thinking this through enough?



  1. It’s better to put it in the referrer (Google redirects anyway) then theres no stomping on values somebody uses on accident.

    But it would be very valuable information.

  2. It’s better to put it in the referrer

    You can’t. The search results page has one referrer, and 10 or more search results, each of which would have their own position value.

  3. Should have been more clear…

    I said: Google redirects anyway

    When you click on a search result on google you actually go to a link:


    (Thats a search for asdfa), that link redirects you to the actual site. That way google can tell which result you clicked on (It’s the start parameter). Then they munge the refrerrer back so that you get the actual search you ran (so referrer logs show the information webmasters are interested in).

    I would assume it’s a trivial change to add start=x to the munged referrer that gets sent.

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.