How To Build Successful Faceted Navigation
A web designer can build a beautiful website design that will capture viewers attention and make the navigation process simple. However, making the web pages user friendly, they forget SEO friendliness. For example, faceted navigation is a great feature for ecommerce websites as it lets you search the products very easily.
Let me explain how faceted navigation works. When you browse through several products, it helps to filter the specific product you are looking for. This can instantly shorten the list and find the ideal product for you.
Why its not search engine friendly- When someone search for an eCommerce website, the search engine will start crawling these facets, get exhausted and leave your site. The negative factor of faceted pages is that it does not allow all the pages to be crawled and indexed by the search engine. You may hope that search engines will realize which pages are important and which are not. Unfortunately, the search engines dont do that and it may simply neglect a very important page that you want to show in search results.
Some ways to prevent this disaster- some of the eCommerce softwares use the robots called noindex and nofollow to save the faceted websites and improve the search results, but they have their own shortcomings.
Noindex does not stop search engines from wasting crawl bandwidth; it only keeps the over-faceted pages out of the index. The shortcoming with nofollow is again the same! It cannot stop search engines from scrolling.
Another method is the hatchet approach. In this case, the important categories are crawled and indexed but minor categories are not. For example, it will check LED but not Sony Bravia LED. This is a very intelligent approach to save the crawl bandwidth but at the same time, your individual pages dont rank well in the search results. If someone specifically searches Sony Bravia LED then your page wont come into top search results.
So, what is the ideal way to build a faceted website that will be search engine friendlyc
Here are some basic things you should remember.
It should be user friendly.
Make sure you dont tire the search engines with too much facets.
Search engines should have access to the facets for indexing.
Here are two platforms quite helpful in developing multi faceted websites.
Use Ajax- AJAX can modify the traditional user experience of applying and removing filters to your navigation. It will make the process swift and simple. In Ajax based website, when you search a product through multi faceted gallery, the page won’t reload, the URL will remain the same, and the products will filter right there on-page without any page refreshing.
Implement Selective Robots.txt- This is more like a roadblock and an amalgamation of Naive and the Hatchet approach. With the help of robots.txt, you can set a URL parameter that will stop search engines to crawl pointlessly. But, if you do that, then you also must establish server-side rules that will understand the custom robots.txt command.