Google Upgraded URL Migration in 5 Minutes or Less

Earlier this year Google announced upgraded URLs, an update to change how URLs are uploaded and used within Adwords to help streamline URL management and to make crawling and updating landing pages easier. The deadline Google set to finish migrating your URLs from the destination URL to the “Final URL” is only a few days away, and if you haven’t upgraded your URLs yet you’ve still got 5 days left before your account is either automatically upgraded or your ads are paused while Google manually assists with the upgrade.

How to Tell if you can use the automatic upgraded URL editor tool

  • Do your destination URLs go directly to your domain? (i.e. They don’t redirect through a third party platform for cookie tracking)
  • Do you either use Google Analytics with auto-tagging or don’t use tracking codes in your URLs?

If you answered yes to these questions you should be able to use the 5 minute or less method to migrate your destination URLs to the Final URL through the automated upgraded URL process. Wohoo! Please proceed to the next paragraph, otherwise skip down the section titled, how to quickly separate tracking codes for the Upgraded URL Tracking Template.

How do I Upgrade My URLs in 5 Minutes or Less

It’s actually so simple, you’ll wish you would have noticed this yourself. I know that I wish that our Google rep would have told us of this option that is hidden away in the Edit drop down menu earlier in the month. We discovered this after 4+ hours of phone calls going back and forth with Google support on why the bulk upload process was failing and what else could be done to expedite upgraded URLs. Google added a button in the Edit options for accounts to migrate to Upgraded URLs that meet the criteria I asked above. So here is how you do it:

  • Login to your Adwords Account
  • If your destination URLs are set at the keyword, go to the keyword tab. If they are set in Ad Copy, go to the ads tab.
  • Select all ads or keywords that need to be upgraded.
  • Select All Keywords or Ad Copy

  • Click “Edit” to open the Edit Options Menu
  • Select the option “Upgrade Destination URLs”
  • Google-Upgraded-URLs

  • Select the option “Preview Changes”
  • Preview-Upgraded-URLs

  • Review the Final URL in preview mode. If it looks correct, you can make the changes.
  • Make-Upgraded-URL-Changes

  • Select “Makes Changes” button

Voila! This is quick and easy and when all is said and done, you can upgrade your URLs within a few minutes. Little to no pain. No bulk sheets or Adwords editor required.

What does the Upgraded URL process look like for more complicated Landing Page URLs

What if you aren’t so lucky and you answered no to one of the questions in the first section. It means that depending on the complexity of your URL structure it’s going to take you a little longer. If you’re familiar with Excel it’s going to be quicker than you might have imagined with a few simple tips and tricks.
What is the Upgraded URL Tracking Template? It’s pretty easy, but essentially it’s how and where you break your URL down to separate out the tracking codes from the landing page URL. The separation ends up looking something like this:

  • This is my landing page URL. (no tracking, just the plain old url). In the tracking template this will be referenced as {lpurl}
    • Landing Page:
  • These are my analytics tracking parameters.
    • Analytics Tracking:?kwd={keyword}&adid={creative}
  • Finally, this is where the tracking parameters go based on my landing page URL.
    • Tracking Template: {lpurl}?kwd={keyword}&adid={creative}

The largest difference in the scenario is if your website uses some sort of third party redirect as part of your URL. It requires a slightly different step in the “Tracking Template” so that you include the redirect at the beginning of the tracking template, with the {lpurl} in the middle where the landing page URL is normally, followed by the analytics tracking parameters. It ends up looking something like this:

  • This is my landing page URL. (no tracking, just the plain old url). In the tracking template this will be referenced as {lpurl}
    • Landing Page:
  • These are my analytics tracking parameters.
    • Analytics Tracking: ?kwd={keyword}&adid={creative}
  • Finally, this is where the tracking parameters go based on my landing page URL.
    • Tracking Template:{creative}&uniqueid=1234&redirect_url={lpurl}?kwd={keyword}&adid={creative}

    See. It’s not as bad as you thought it might be. The key is to make sure you unencode your landing page url when you place it in the “Final URL” column and then to place {lpurl} where the destination URL used to go in the redirect string.

    How to Quickly Separate Tracking Codes for the Upgraded URL Tracking Template

    Okay, earlier I mentioned that you can still make this update fairly quickly and I’m sure since the clock is ticking down to July 1st, 2015, you want to know how. If you live and breathe in XLS then this will seem pretty basic, but it’s something that a lot of search managers forget about when they are stressed and under a deadline. You’ll want to use Adwords Editor and download all active Ads or Keywords (based on where your destination URL lives in your account.) The method below is essentially using a find and replace function to add a delimiter to the URL, allowing you to use “Text To Columns” break the components into unique cells so you can concatenate items together to create your “Tracking Template.” This also is a lifesaver if your URLs use specific parameters to identify the landing page. Then all you have to do is concatenate the right parameters with their values together in the “Final URL field” and the “Tracking Template” in order to migrate to the new Upgraded URL format. We had several client accounts where we needed to take a parameter that was in the middle of the tracking tags and move it Final URL column, and using the “Text To Columns + Concatenate” method took us between 10-15 minutes to update some fairly large (10K+ keyword) accounts. The steps are hard to write out via bullet points, but I’ve done my best below.

    1. Open up the export that includes all enabled keywords/ads.
    2. Remove columns that are not required to make an update or change to either the keyword or ad. (For example Keyword updates need: Campaign Name, Ad Group Name, Keyword, Match Type, Destination URL, Status. Ad Copy Updates need: Campaign Name, Ad Group Name, Headline, Description Line 1, Description Line 2, Display URL, Destination URL, Status.)
    3. Add additional column headers for: Tracking Template, Final URL, Final Mobile URL
    4. Copy and Paste the current Destination URL column to an empty column to the far right of the worksheet. Make sure that there are now columns of data to the right of this column. (Below I’ll reference this as URL column)
    5. How to break apart the tracking codes and potentially redirect URL
      • Right Click the URL column (it should be highlighted)
      • Find and replace the following elements:
        • Find & and replace with Pipe Symbol and Ampersand “|&”
        • Find URL= and replace with Pipe Symbol URL= “|URL=”
        • For encoded URLs the ampersand will be represented as %26
        • Find URL= and replace with Pipe Symbol URL= “|URL=”
      • Go to Data, and Select Text to Columns
      • Choose Delimited Width, and then Other Symbol. Enter the Pipe Symbol “|”. Select Finish.
      • Your URLs should now be broken apart into each unique component
    6. In the Final URL column, copy and paste the Landing Page URL from the delimited and broken down columns. (This should be the very first column from the Text to columns)
      • If your landing page needs to have specific parameters included as part of the landing page, i.e. “?product=widget”, use the concatenate function to append that specific column of data to the end of the Base URL.
      • I also recommend checking for consistency in your Final URL structure. For example, if you use a trailing slash after a .com make sure it is present for all Final URLs so you don’t have a combination of URLs like the following:
    7. Use the Concatenate Function to Create your Tracking Template:
      • =concatenate(“{lpurl}”,column 1 analytics tracking, “&”, column 2 analytics tracking, …)
      • Check to make sure the Tracking template looks correct.
      • Copy and Paste Values
    8. Remove all values from the “Destination URLs column”. You can do it by leaving the column blank or by selecting all elements in editor and deleting the values.
    9. Hide cells that you don’t need for completing a bulk sheet update. Copy the remaining cells and paste them into the “Make Multiple Changes” option window.
    10. Preview that the changes and check that it is “Updating” the elements and not creating brand new elements. Then check the columns for Final URL and the Tracking template to make sure they uploaded correctly.
    11. Accept Changes, and Post to Google

    Happy Upgraded URL updates! And with that I’ll leave you with a funny tweet I saw earlier this week about Upgraded URLs.

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