Magento Layered Navigation: best settings for SEO

Magento Layered Navigation - best settings for SEO

You ask – we deliver! Magento Improved Layered Navigation is the product thousands of Magento store owners have been using for more than 5 years. We’re very proud of it and encourage our customers to use this extension with maximum results.

We’re focused on settings and the visual presentation of the module features in the description, but our customers often ask us about SEO strategy they should follow while configuring the extension.

To help you use the extension to its most for SEO, I decided to write this guide.

Introduction to Magento Layered Navigation SEO

Layered navigation is a must-have tool on any e-commerce website. It lets customers find products they need; but, unfortunately, without proper settings it is not only helping your SEO. In fact, it can harm your website’s presence in search.

These are the main SEO issues caused by layered navigation on Magento (and on other e-commerce platforms as well):

  • Too long URLs or URLs with parameters, aren’t useful neither for user experience nor for search engines (Google and other search engines have certain standards for website URLs)
  • After search engines robots crawl and index filtering results, hundreds and thousands of pages appear in search
  • And finally these pages are very similar to each other, don’t have unique meta tags and content and are considered as low quality, which influences both their performance and the whole site’s performance as well.

All these issues may lead to a case when Google downgrades your site in search because of a big number of pages that aren’t useful.

Amasty Improved Layered Navigation can not only help to avoid these issues, but also turn them into profit. How? To know more, please continue reading.

Defining your SEO strategy

The easiest solution – block everything from indexing

Say, you’re new to Magento SEO and don’t know how to set up the extension, plus you don’t have an opportunity to consult an SEO expert right now.

If so, just block all the pages created by Layered Navigation from indexing.

How to do that? Just make sure you have NoIndex and NoFollow tags on all filters.

Magento Layered Navigation SEO tips: noindex for all filters

Add brand pages indexing

You may choose to open brands for indexing, if you think that these pages are needed to acquire search traffic in your case.

As you may know, Improved Layered Navigation allows you to create beautiful and functional Brands Pages that look like the ordinary categories. You can also add some unique content that is important for the successful SEO and user-friendly result (such as meta description, CMS blocks and so on).

This is a real-life result you need:

Magento Layered Navigation SEO: a brand page example

Here’s what you need to do to get the same result:

  1. It is possible to set up short URLs for brand pages (or by any attribute you prefer), which will look like site.com/adidas.html.

To do that, put the Brand Attribute Code in the extension’s configuration settings in the Brands tab.

Magento Layered Navigation SEO - setting manufacturer attribute

2. Set NoFollow/NoIndex tags to No on your brand filter.

3. In the extension’s configuration settings in the canonical tag dropdowns select First Attribute Value.

First attribute value

The brand example page

The brand example page on Amasty Layered Navigaton demo

4. Tune your brand page with settings available:

Magento Layered Navigation SEO: brand page settings

Normally, if your website has a relatively small amount of products, these settings will be enough for your layered navigation SEO setup.

If you have done your keyword investigation and see that several pages with Layered Navigation filtered results correspond to popular queries, consider using the following method to create a sort of landing pages for these queries.

Next step – let filtered results be indexed, but make them more appealing

Here’s an example from Clarks (it ranks on the first page for ‘black shoes’ query for my country):

An example from Clarks

Want to have that kind of page on your store? It’s search friendly, shows a collection of products filtered by black color and has a nice URL and some unique text.

Right, let’s go on.

We will transform the filtered collection page in 3 steps:

  • URL
  • Custom text/images
  • Meta tags
  1. Let’s look at URL settings of Amasty Improved Layered Navigation.
URL parameters for SEO navigation

Choose ‘Short without URL key’ type to make your URLs :

  • SEO friendly, corresponding to main Google rules for URLs and containing keywords
  • Short and neat
  • User friendly

Note: if you need to use parameters in your URLs, such as for paging or sorting, make use of Google Webmaster Tools URL Parameters settings to inform Google about why you use parameters, what it should index instead or if it should index this page at all.

2. In the extension’s configuration settings in the SEO tab select Current URL without GET Parameters in the canonical tag dropdowns.

Canonical settings for Magento Layered Navigation SEO

Let’s take a look at how the URL in the previous example will look like. We will make Gender (Unisex) the important filter:

Making layered navigation filters SEO friendly

3. After that, tune your page with proper meta tags, CMS blocks, if needed, just as you did with your brand pages:

Tuning a page with filtered results

4. Set NoIndex/NoFollow to No for the filter you want to appear in search.

And your page with filtered results will serve as a landing page for certain long tail keywords, which are easier to rank for and have more chances for higher conversions.

Advanced step – pages functionality

Sometimes, it is very important to pay some special attention to some filtered pages with a certain combination of several filters – usually more than two. Such method can be used for various purposes: as in the previous example, for long tail keywords, for PPC, or for special deals, etc.

Say, you need to create a page for a deal, 20% off for white linen dresses of certain sizes or brands for clearance. What is more, this page should be SEO-friendly, too!

Here’s an example from Next – there is more than one parameter chosen for this search result:

Pages with filtered collections in Magento

This functionality can be achieved by using the Pages. This instrument is situated in Catalog – Improved Navigation – Pages.

We need to create a template:

Template for a page with filtered collection

Now, if you select the black color option for the category Bags and Luggage, you will see this page. It also can be accessible via search engines if you let the page to be indexed.

Example of a page with filtered collection

Selecting blue ones won’t show this page. So you will need to create another page rule if you want to distinguish blue bags as well.

Page with a filtered collection example 2

Takeaways

From the customers’ point of view there is little difference between these solutions because they don’t know if they are accessing a page, a category page, or a brand page from search results. That’s why your strategy should be aimed at actually giving customers pages with products they want to see.

To decide what to do, answer these questions first:

  • What is your number of products, which filters are you using in layered navigation?
  • Are there any relevant search queries you are interested in? Can you create pages/pages with filtered products for them? If yes, follow the steps above to have the desired effect. Again, make sure you decide on this beforehand. It may take time for Google to deindex links to your site, especially if there are hundreds of them.

Now, as you have decided on your strategy of indexing for filtered results, categories, pages and brands, set everything up. After your shop is (re)indexed, carefully investigate how your site is represented in search – and if you find any unwanted or duplicate pages, fix it.

With time, you may need to change settings, index or deindex pages with filtered results, etc, according to your SEO data.

To know more about Magento duplicate content, using Google Webmaster Tools parameter settings, canonical tags and other important SEO issues for Magento, please read this article: An Extensive Guide on Magento Duplicate Content

Still got any questions? Will be happy to answer them!

Max Akushevich

Max Akushevich

Max is a Support Manager at Amasty. He is responsible for helping hundreds of clients weekly, and he's the soul of the company because of his kindness and sense of humor.

You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Finally great tips about Layered Navi. I have problems with this all configuration options. But now its more clear. Can’t wait to next Layered Navi tips & tricks

    • Ksenia Dobreva Ksenia Dobreva says:

      Hey Paul, thank you for reading, we’re happy it was of use for you.
      We will continue creating similar guides in the future.

  2. Mikhail says:

    Just choose a unit with the same features.
    Is it possible to customize the CEO or the output of information, provided that the two filters are selected? For example “NOINDEX” if the two filters are selected.

    • Ksenia Dobreva Ksenia Dobreva says:

      Hi Mikhail,

      thanks for your question. Please check your email for the detailed answer.

      • Dmytro says:

        Hi. I have the same question about “Noindex” if the two filters are selected. Can you give me the answer on this question too?

        • Ksenia Dobreva Ksenia Dobreva says:

          Hi Dmytro,
          I apologize I didn’t answer your question before. I sent you the answer via email.
          Hope that helps!

  3. Kevin says:

    Max or Ksenia, Is there a wiki, or guide to this product? I started at a new company that had the Improved Navigation already installed, and I’m trying to make sense of all the features.

    • Kevin says:

      We have version 2.8.4

    • Kevin says:

      I did find the slideshow actually, and that was somewhat helpful. Our main goal is to show subcategories on our parent level category pages. Creating a static block, and inputting the code {{block type=amshopby/subcategories template=amasty/amshopby/subcategories.phtml columns=2 order=name height=30 width=30 shownames=1}}
      into the content section, and assigning that static block to a particular category. It still doesn’t show the subcategories. Any thoughts?

      • Ksenia Dobreva Ksenia Dobreva says:

        Hi Kevin,

        thanks for your question. For helping you in this case, our specialists need to see the site itself. Could you please drop us an email at support@amasty.com regarding this? My colleagues from the support department will be happy to help you.

        Thanks in advance!

  4. Tom says:

    Is it possible to sort products on a brand page?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *