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How To Correctly Represent Percentages In Adwords Sitelink URLs

We often see percentage symbols (%) in URLs. However, if the symbol is being used to represent an actual percentage, it cannot be directly inserted as a tracking parameter into an Adwords sitelink URL. Here is my recent experience.

One of my clients asked me to implement 3 sitelinks for them in Google AdWords. The sitelink URLs are listed as follows (Note: To protect the client’s privacy, the domain and brand names are redacted).

The implementation for first 2 sitelinks was successful, but when I finished everything for the last one and tried to save it in AdWords, an “invalid URL” warning came up (see screenshot below).

The reason this happened is that the client wanted to use the phrase “25% Off” in the tracking parameters of the sitelink URL, i.e. “….=25%%20Off%20Winners%20Range…..” (Note: %20 denotes a space).

In this case, the percentage symbol is part of the phrase “25% off” and has a literal, mathematical meaning. However, in URL-encoding (also known as percent-encoding), the percentage symbol serves as the indicator for percent-encoded octets, and has no mathematical meaning at all.

If you want to use a percentage symbol to represent an actual percentage within a sitelink URL, then it must be URL-encoded as “%25”.

So, after the “%” was replaced by “%25”, and the tracking parameters were changed from “…=25%%20Off….” to “…=25%25%20Off….” in the URL, the sitelink was successfully implemented.