Faceted navigation best (and 5 of the worst) practices

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Selecting filters with faceted navigation can cause many URL combinations
Selecting filters with faceted navigation can cause many URL combinations, such as https://www.example.com/category.php?category=gummy-candies&price=5-10&price=over-10

Faceted navigation, such as filtering by color or price range, can be helpful for your visitors, but it's often not search-friendly since it creates many combinations of URLs with duplicative content. With duplicative URLs, search engines may not crawl new or updated unique content as quickly, and/or they may not index a page accurately because indexing signals are diluted between the duplicate versions. To reduce these issues and help faceted navigation sites become as search-friendly as possible, we'd like to:


In an ideal state, unique content—whether an individual product/article or a category of products/articles— would have only one accessible URL. This URL would have a clear click path, or route to the content from within the site, accessible by clicking from the home page or a category page.

  • Clear path that reaches all individual product/article pages

    On the left is potential user navigation on the site (or, the click path), on the right are the pages accessed.
  • One representative URL for category page https://www.example.com/category.php?category=gummy-candies

    Category page for gummy candies
  • One representative URL for individual product page https://www.example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish

    One representative URL for individual product page

Undesirable duplication caused with faceted navigation

  • Numerous URLs for the same article/product

    • Canonical: example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish

      Canonical URL for the same product
    • Duplicate: example.com/product.php?item=swedish-fish&category=gummy-candies&price=5-10

      Duplicate URL for the same product

    The same product page for swedish fish can be avail