SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Large Site SEO Basics: Faceted Navigation

Last Updated: April 20, 2017

Posted by sergeystefogloIf you work on an enterprise site — particularly in e-commerce or listings (such as a job board site) — you probably use some sort of faceted navigation structure. Why wouldn’t you? It helps users filter down to their desired set of results fairly painlessly. While helpful to users, it’s no secret that faceted navigation can be a nightmare for SEO. At Distilled, it’s not uncommon for us to get a client that has tens of millions of URLs that are live and indexable when they shouldn’t be. More often than not, this is due to their faceted nav setup. There are a number of great posts out there that discuss what faceted navigation is and why it can be a problem for search engines, so I won’t go into much detail on this. A great place to start is this post from 2011. What I want to focus on instead is narrowing this problem down to a simple question, and then provide the possible solutions to that question. The question we need to answer is, “What options do we have to decide what Google crawls/indexes, and what are their pros/cons?” Brief overview of faceted navigationAs a quick refresher, we can define faceted navigation as any way to filter and/or sort results on a webpage by specific attributes that aren’t necessarily related. For example, the color, processor type, and screen resolution of a laptop. Here is an example: Because every possible combination of facets is typically (at least one) unique URL, faceted navigation can create a few problems for SEO: It creates a lot of duplicate content, which is bad for various reasons. It eats up valuable crawl budget and can send Google incorrect signals. It dilutes link equity and passes equity to pages that we don’t even want indexed. But first… some quick examplesIt’s worth taking a few minutes and looking at some examples of faceted navigation that are probably hurting SEO. These are simple examples that illustrate how faceted navigation can (and usually does) become an issue. Macy’sFirst up, we have Macy’s. I’ve done a simple site:search for the domain and added “black dresses” as a keyword to see what would appear. At the time of writing this post, Macy’s has 1,991 products that fit under “black dresses” — so why are over 12,000 pages indexed for this keyword? The answer could have something to do with how their faceted navigation is set up. As SEOs, we can remedy this. Home DepotLet’s take Home Depot as another example. Again, doing a simple site:search we find 8,930 pages on left-hand/inswing front exterior doors. Is there a reason to have that many pages in the index targeting similar…

Source: Large Site SEO Basics: Faceted Navigation

About the author / 

S K Routray

S K Routray is a computer science graduate and Co founder at Gracioustech.com. He worked as a Online Marketing lead at many MNC Companies. He has passion for writing on SEO techniques, Social Media Marketing and digital marketing techniques. If he wasn’t an online marketer, he'd take his love for food and become a great chef cum hotel entrepreneur. Join NAS Writers team to write for NAS.

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