Survey: Most SEOs Opt To Canonicals To Manage Faceted Navigation

Mar 14, 2022 - 7:21 am 2 by

Google Faceted Navigation

Joe Hall posted a poll on Twitter asking what do SEOs use most to manage faceted navigation. The vast majority of SEOs responded that they use "proper canonicals tags." Others responded they use robots.txt and then some said meta robots tag. But most of the over 300 responses said they use canonical tags to manage faceted navigation. Is that the right answer? Possibly or possibly not, a lot of it depends on the specific case.

Faceted navigation is when you have a set page that lets you sort, filter and browse other pages or results by various parameters. So if you have a page on shirts, you might let people filter by color, size, brand, or other parameters. In short, it allows users to narrow down search results by applying multiple filters based on faceted classification of the items.

This gets tricky with SEO in that you need to decide which of these landing pages a search engine should try to crawl and index. If you provide unlimited options, which most search results pages can lead to, Google might decide not to crawl and index the pages that are important to you. For example, maybe you don't want the blue buttoned colored dress shirt size 16 to be indexed by Google - maybe you just want the blue dress shirts page indexed by Google? Then when you start added pagination to that set, so you have multiple pages of options, it can get super complicated.

Here is the poll results from Joe Hall:

In the old days of SEO, Google and other search engines would chow down on this content, likely index all of it and likely rank it all for long tail keyword searches. These days, not so much. In fact, at some point, Google asked SEOs to just block most of it from spiders. Then the answer to the question became more of a it depends, leading to let Google figure it out. But it is not that simple and SEOs spend a lot of their time figuring which sets should be crawlable and indexable.

Here are some other responses to the poll:

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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