Faceted Navigation Overview
Before you do anything else, let’s review what a faceted navigation system looks like so that we can get an even better understanding of the issue at hand. The layout allows your visitors to find the exact product they want by filtering their search results. It’s important to remember that each combination has a link pointing to it, and this can trigger Google to flag your website for having duplicate content. Also, a faceted navigation system will spread your domain authority to pages that you don’t need to index, wasting your SEO potential.
Those who want to reduce the harm of a faceted navigation system often turn to noindex tags to get the job done. At the surface, this solution seems to make a lot of sense, but you will need to take a close look if you want to get a clear picture. Although using noindex tags will prevent Google from flagging you for using duplicate content, it won’t stop your extra links from consuming your crawl budget. If the search engines spend too much time crawling links that don’t matter, your SEO efforts might not draw any attention.
Nofollow tags are another option that you can try when your goal is to maintain your SEO rank. These tags will tell the search engines not to crawl your faceted pages and prevent you from wasting your crawl budget. But this solution is not without its setbacks. If you opt to take this path, it won’t stop Google from picking up duplicate content on your site, which will put you at risk for a penalty.
Using a faceted system without running into problems with SEO is not impossible, but you will need to weigh your options and consider what is important to you. Taking one path will force you to give up benefits from other areas, and making the wrong choice can hurt your progress. If you are not sure what solution makes the most sense for you, review your website and ask yourself if you prefer to save your crawl budget, domain authority or time, and the correct answer will become apparent. When you don’t get the outcome for which you had hoped, you can always try new approaches until you find one that meets your needs.