For businesses that have large websites, it is essential to have an organised structure and a smart internal linking strategy. Faceted navigation can help to solve a number of problems that large websites (especially e-commerce websites) face. But, when not implemented properly it can become the reason for poor search engine optimisation. This blog talks about faceted navigation and SEO along with the best practices for ad strategy, which will make search engines and users happy.
What is faceted navigation? Faceted navigation is usually located in the sidebar of an e-commerce website having multiple categories. It allows visitors to customise and filter products based on what they are looking for. When used in the best manner, it helps the users to narrow down product listings. They also function as an extension of the main categories. Read about the best e-commerce platforms for SEO, in our blog: BEST E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS FOR SEO.
Issues with faceted navigation
Faceted navigation is one of the advanced search engine optimisation techniques. Ideally, it should provide a unique value for each selection. When the facets are indexed, they should send relevant signals to the crawlers and make sure that only relevant material is shown.
But, even though the user can use faceted navigation to filter what they are looking for, the content of the page remains the same. This leads to duplicate content, dilutes link equity and passes equity to pages which shouldn’t be indexed. Moreover, it can send incorrect signals to search engines. Also read about the common SEO crawl errors and how to fix them, in our blog: COMMON SEO CRAWL ERRORS AND HOW TO FIX THEM.
Best practices to overcome the issues related to faceted navigation and SEO
When trying to solve the issues that might come up because of faceted navigation, there are a few solutions that can be implemented. But which one to use depends on which part of the website you want to be indexed. Here are a few possible solutions to solve the faceted navigation and SEO dilemma.
- Noindex: A noindex tag informs crawlers about the pages that shouldn’t be included in the index. Though the noindex tag removes the pages, bots still crawl the page and these pages also receive link equity.
- Robots.txt: A disallow tag can be implemented in the robots.txt for some sections of the website. Doing this is easy, customisable and fast. But, when a disallow tag is implemented, link equity is hindered and Google may still index the page or section.
- Canonicalisation: Canonical tags tell bots that there is a canonical or preferred version for a number of similar pages. Link equity is given to the preferred webpage but search engine still crawl the other versions.
- Bread crumbs: Breadcrumbs and markups are useful for both the search engines and the users. When a website has a complicated structure, the bots may get confused about the hierarchy. So, breadcrumbs help to establish this hierarchy and make navigation easier for users.
- Nofollow: To solve the issue of bots crawling web pages that don’t need to be, you can use the nofollow tag. It tells crawlers which URLs are not important. However, duplicate content is still indexed and it hinders link equity.
Although faceted navigation improves user experience, it results in multiple optimisation problems. Duplicate content and diluted link equity can be harmful to the website. To solve problems related to faceted navigation and SEO, the best way is to plan and implement methods which can avoid issues.