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Google Tag Manager is a fantastic tool, and one that we always have handy here at 427. However, it does tend to require a fair amount of know-how, and the difference between the webpage URL and the page path in particular seems to stump people.

In this article, we’re going to explore what the difference is, so that you can feel more confident in managing tags on your website.

Page URL v page path

In order to see the difference, let’s define the terms we’re talking about:

What is a web page URL?

A URL is the unique direct address for a web page or file; they tell your browser exactly where and how that online resource can be reached. They include the protocol and domain name, Top-Level Domain or Country-Code Top-Level Domain, plus a path, query string, and anchor if applicable.

What is a page path?

The path is just one part of the URL; it tells your browser the specific part of the website that it needs to reach. Without the page path, you’ll just land on the website’s home page. The path is generally a subfolder, which is like a parent page, and a slug, which is the child page.

The page path comes after the domain name, but before the query strings. The web page path is only part of the URL.

What is the query string?

Also known as a parameter, this is an optional part of a URL that tailors the contents of the page to only display what you need - think of it like a filter. This could be a blog or product category, for example. Parameters appear after a question mark (?), with multiple parameters separated by an ampersand (&).

Custom page/URL variables

By adding variables to your URL, you’re able to track the source that the user accessed it from. For example, you could use a URL in your email marketing such as ‘’, which would allow you to see the users that landed on the URL from the newsletter.

Why does this matter in Google Tag Manager?

All of the above are crucial in tracking and analysing user data on your website, and the various elements of the URL’s structure come into play when you’re doing the following:  

Adding schema

Schema helps search engines understand your content, and therefore how to index it and display it to users. Page paths in particular give context to the page, and query strings can expand the schema you’re able to add, tailoring the schema to specific user segments or behaviours.

Setting up goal tracking

URLs, and specifically page paths, allows you to see which part of the journey a user has reached in order to analyse broader user behaviour and therefore make improvements if necessary. For example, this could be to see how many people have reached a confirmation URL following an order from your website.

Adding scripts

Using URLs, page paths, query strings, and custom URL variables allows you to work within Google Tag Manager to load scripts onto your website, allowing you to set up specific triggers and tags using these elements.

Connecting software platforms

When analysing performance and user behaviour on your site, you want as much visibility as possible; without it, you’re missing out on chances to optimise and improve. URLs, page paths, query strings, and custom URL variables allow you to track across GA4 (Google Analytics) and Microsoft Clarity, using Google Tag Manager to manage and integrate tracking codes to make the process much simpler.

Need help with your website?

We have a technical team here at 427 who speak all things URL like a language - so don’t worry if you don’t know the lingo! The technical element to your SEO efforts simply cannot be ignored, but there’s no need to go it alone; we’re on hand to help businesses tackle it, so that they can improve their rankings, and keep tabs on their progress. Have a chat with us.

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About Chris Simmons

Chris is our onpage SEO Specialist at 427 Marketing, having joined the team in early 2023. He works with our content team to cover the 4 pillars of SEO; content, onpage SEO, technical SEO and offpage SEO. Prior to joining the 427 Marketing team, Chris spent almost 10 years applying his SEO and content skills across several different industries in marketing agency and inhouse roles including tool hire, auctioneering, health care within the NHS and high end luxury retail in both B2B and B2C capacities. His passion for writing, content, UX, technical and on page SEO has expanded our content offerings, helping provide reliable advice about all things SEO to 427 Marketing.

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