These fixes are so reliable, in fact, that if you’re using an out-of-the-box faceted search integration or ecommerce platform, the best practices are probably built into the system.
But what if you deploy custom development to adjust your current system or build a new one from scratch? We’ll walk you through the best way to do faceted navigation to avoid the dreaded duplicate content monster.
Read more: [Is thin content is hurting your SEO
Sometimes when you create duplicate content, search engines crawl it, identify it as duplicate content and refuse to index it. That creates bloat across your site and pulls crawl without helping your organic presence in any way, ultimately diminishing the authority for the pages that should be crawled. The first step to fixing this issue in ecommerce sites is finding it in the first place.
A tell-tale sign that you might have duplicate content issues is a wonky indexing ratio in Google Search Console. If the number of pages indexed significantly outweighs the number of pages crawled/submitted for your site, there’s a problem somewhere and duplicate content is the likely culprit. If that’s the case, then faceted search should be one of your first suspects
The only way to understand the full scope of the issue, though, is to run a site crawl using Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl or your preferred crawling tool. A full crawl will return a list of every URL on your site and identify duplicates. It will also find canonical errors and let you set URL parameters that can help you zero in on your faceted search category pages specifically.
We just pointed out why it’s a problem when Google crawls but doesn’t index your content. It’s a whole other problem when Google crawls and then indexes the duplicate pages. This creates a poor search experience for the user and ultimately impacts your site authority.
Check for this by running a site:search for any of your category pages. If the search results return a long list of indexed pages, there’s a problem.
You can also just grab a handful of the URLs generated by your faceted search and Google them. If they show up in the search results, they’re indexed. You should instead see something like this
One you’ve spotted the problem, move through a series of best practices to build your fix. First and foremost, check the website’s canonical tags. Every URL created by faceted search in an ecommerce website should canonicalize to the preferred version of the page.
A filtered search will usually create a dynamically generated URL. But using the sort feature will generate a URL that tells a story. URLs like this often include file paths to directories, indicating the page’s position in the site architecture.