In our last article we covered a range of technical Magento SEO issues that you could come across in the optimisation process. These included product configuration, canonicalization, redirects and loads more. These were all with the impression that you had some basic SEO knowledge in advance. Click here to read our previous article, Magento SEO Part 1
Layered Navigation Issue Solutions
Welcome back to the second part of our Magento series where this time we’ll be tackling layered/faceted navigation issues that many Magento Developers face. Layered or faceted navigation is a very common a cause of duplicate content issues with Magento, filters that create URL’s will likely get indexed by search engines. Straight out of the box,Magento appends query string filter parameters, however a number of modules use directories amongst a variety of other conventions, these lead to the same outcome. You’re going to want to review this specifically if you’re using Manadev or Amasty.
One of the vital mistakes retailers make in their e-commerce SEO is to change the dynamic convention that their URL’s and meta data are made from, this makes the URL look cleaner and the title tag more targeted. However, many Magento Developers don’t think this is good because of the number of low quality pages that are subsequently indexed and leaves the website susceptible to Google Panda, which targets sites with high numbers of indexable pages with little unique content.
Prevent search engines from crawling the pages
If you were to have a large store or employing the use of a multi layered navigation system it is suggested that you block those pages with robots.txt or alternatively nofollowing the links to the pages. Some experienced Magento agencies may want to use both of these, this is mitigate any issues with the robots.txt along the way. This will prevent the product pages from using up your sites crawling budget.
Use a noindex, follow tag
Using a noindex directive is something that you should use on a regular basis on your layered navigation pages. The benefit of using the noindex follow tag, is your site will still be crawled but the page with that directive won’t be indexed. This is perfect for people that are having issues with search engines crawling products. This isn’t just specific to Magento by the way.
Use the canonical tag
This is a brilliant solution for duplicate pages being indexed. Not only this but you also have the benefit of being able to pass the value back to the appropriate category page. However that does not mean using the canonical tag is perfect, for example many have noticed that search engines can sometimes ignore the canonical tag if the pages are unique. The second issue is with Google, if the pages have already been indexed it may take a good deal of time for Google.
Using Ajax navigation gives you the ability to filter the featured products on your website without the need to change your URL, leaving only the category page. However, if you don’t have an experienced Magento Development Agency at your disposal, then this is going to be a near impossible method to implement. The technical issues that can occur if you attempt this without an experienced developer far outweigh the potential gains. An extra precaution to make is to ensure that your filtered links aren’t in fact linking to a URL in the background. This is because it could cause potential issues with dynamic pages being indexed, even though these URL’s don’t show up when browsing through the site. Any Magento Agency worth their weight in gold will know this!
Parameter handling in Google Webmasters Tools
The long held view from Magento Agencies is that this method is not all that affective. Particularly with faceted navigation duplicate content issues. However there are a lot of SEO Agencies that insist it has improved considerably. Similar to the canonical tag the best way to implement this is in conjunction with all other solutions.
We know that getting SEO perfect for Magento takes a high level of expertise and knowledge. Even with the tips we’ve highlighted in this post, be that Ajax navigation, or the use of Canonical and Noindex tags it is impossible to master every solution.
If you require development assistance to implement these key SEO solutions, our friends at Brave Agency have been working with Magento for a number of years now and know how to get the best out of it from an SEO point of view, it’s quirks and the opportunities.
Why not get in touch with them today, visit their website site at www.brave.agency or call them on 0845 544 3626 to speak to one of their Magento Technical Developers.
What to expect in part 3
In part 3 we’re going to be looking at more technical SEO aspects of Magento. We’re going to be looking at areas such as Sitemaps, search pages, URL rewriting and much more, so make sure you stay tuned.