URL Parameters vs. URL Slugs: What's the Difference?

    When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are multiple factors to consider to help your website rank higher in search engines. URL structure is one of them. URLs can be optimized with the use of parameters or slugs, both of which serve different purposes, and in this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two and how they can impact your SEO rankings.

    URL Parameters

    A parameter is a variable passed to a web page through the URL. They are typically seen after a question mark (?) in a URL followed by a series of variables separated by & symbols. Parameters are often used to pass data between pages and can help dynamically generate pages based on user input, session state or other contextual data.


    In the example above, the URL contains three parameters: category, color, and size. Each parameter has a corresponding value that is passed to the web page. Parameters can be manipulated by making changes to the values or removing them, which can alter the content being displayed.

    Pros and Cons of URL Parameters


    • Flexible: parameters allow for a flexible URL structure that can change dynamically based on user input or session state.
    • Easy to Implement: parameter-based URLs are easy to implement and require minimal changes to the website’s structure.


    • Lengthy and Unreadable: parameter-based URLs tend to be lengthy and difficult to read, which can be uninviting for users and potentially impact SEO.
    • Unattractive: from a user’s standpoint, parameter-based URLs don't look attractive or trustworthy.
    • Crawler Crawling Issues: search engines have a limited capability of crawling and appending URLs with more and more parameters could result in search engine crawlers avoiding certain pages or missing some.

    URL Slugs

    A slug is a part of a URL that describes the content of the page being visited but can be used more broadly to describe the content of a website’s sections. A slug is a short, descriptive, and human-readable string that replaces the dynamic parameters in the URL.


    In the example above, the URL structure contains the product category, color, and size elements. Unlike the parameter-based URL, slugs contain standardized keywords that make the URL more readable and memorable for users.

    Pros and Cons of URL Slugs


    • SEO Friendly: with the slug part in the URL, search engines can better understand the page content and this indirectly helps ranking.
    • Readable and Aesthetically Pleasing: Slugs are more easily legible and thus are better for user experience
    • Easy to Remember: URLs with slugs are likely to be stored in bookmarks, meaning users can return to the site easily and quickly.


    • More Difficult to Implement: using slugs requires more work for developers compared to parameter-based URLs as they require additional software or configuration to operate.
    • Less Flexibility: it’s hard to customize the URL with any irrelevant parameter or code.

    SEO Optimization Using URL Slugs

    Slugs are an essential component of optimizing page URLs for SEO purposes. The words used in the URL can help search engines determine the context of the page by assuming the slug to be more descriptive.

    Some considerations that one should keep in mind while optimizing the slug:

    • Use Relevant Keywords: inclusion of relevant keywords in the URL slug indicates to search engines what the page is about, so make sure to use keywords that are relevant to the page content.
    • Avoid Stop Words: as they make the slug unnecessarily long and not helping with the keywords.
    • Keep it Short and Simple: the slug should be concise, descriptive, and easy to remember—all core features of user-friendly design.


    URL slugs are reliable and beneficial for ensuring that your page is seen by the right people, and considered a best practice for SEO optimization. In this article, we’ve explored the difference between URL parameters and slug, as well as the pros and cons of each. While parameter-based URLs are flexible and easy to implement, they come with drawbacks that can impact SEO rankings. Conversely, URL slugs are SEO friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to remember. Parameters tend to add random unique queries and don't have a standard structure while Slugs have a structured and controlled format that assists in optimization of URLs.

    © 2023 Designed & Developed by José Matos.