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Query strings being stripped

Published 22 Apr 2021 by Ellice Eadie, CANDDi
Read this in about 2 minutes

Have you started to lose sight of where your website traffic is coming from? If so, it’s probably down to some query string stripping.

It sounds a little intense doesn’t it, so let’s go back to basics for a second…

A query string is the part of a URL that is designed to encode information. It basically passes data to/ from a server and database, such as your computer to CANDDi.

This is what makes query strings so important for marketing and website tracking as they help us classify your traffic. Without them, we’d be left in the dark.

With that in mind, if your query strings are being stripped, you’ll start to lose track of the valuable insights CANDDi can provide you. If utm parameters aren’t showing, any tracking company (whether it’s CANDDi, Lead Forensics or Google Analytics) will be unable to identify the source of traffic and in CANDDi’s case the individuals on your site.

Why does this happen?

When landing on a website, there’s 4 separate ways you can get there. You either type in:

  • https//:www.example.com
  • https//:example.com
  • http//:www.example.com
  • http//:example.com

Since most companies have one main domain in the format of https//:www.example.com, your website is correctly configured and nothing will happen after you’ve hit enter. You’ll land on your website with your query strings intact. It’s very rare that any parameters will be stripped in this instance.

Most of the time, query strings being stripped is down to one of the other cases. If you’re not sure about your website URL, check out the difference between HTTP and HTTPS and what it means for your Javascript.

Query strings and email marketing

This is where query strings are most important. Tracking the engagement/ success of your digital marketing.

When using an email client (such as Mailchimp, etc.), pasting your URL https//:www.example.com into the email platform will turn it into link by default.

However when you go to type your URL manually using the CANDDi LinkedIn plugin or other tools, they’ll miss the www. As a result, CANDDi will try to fix this and any tracking added to the end of this gets lost. Aka your query string has been stipped.

What can you do about it?

Now this bit is a bit technical and geeky. If you’re regular folk like me, I’d pass it over to your technical team.

You can test your query strings using curl. Use curl to type in each of the scenarios (the website formats as shown in the above section) which will provide an example of an output that redirects to the correct site, or show you if the URL has been stripped.

If you need a hand with any of this, reach out to us at help@canddi.com and we’ll see what we can do!