Magento Layered Navigation: best settings for SEO

improved layered navigation for magento - best settings for seo
Posted in: Magento 2 Guides

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. Mostly, the ideas will be alike for Magento 2 Layered Navigation with multiple select as well.

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.htmlAlso, check how to manage the Magento 2 filter by attribute feature.

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.

What to do if you set pages to be indexed, but they won’t?

Many clients complain that brand pages are open for indexation [INDEX, FOLLOW] but Google won’t index them. To answer the question why this is happening, you need to ask Google about it.
Here are just several alleged causes:

  • Sometimes Magento users leave the default robots ‘INDEX, FOLLOW’ as noindex on a dev server and forget to change the configuration when switching to the live server. To find the setting follow the path Admin Panel>Stores>Settings>Configuration>General>Design and untick the Use System Value block to the right of Default Robots to make changes:

index-follow-magento-2-optimization-seo-guide

  • Make sure you’ve set a preferred domain and verify the ownership;
  • Don’t disallow pages in robots.txt file. In case the pages that need to be indexed are disallowed, Google crawler will ignore the pages even if they are set to be indexed and followed.
  • If you run a new website, give Google at least several days to index your site;
  • Check if the sitemap is uploaded and works correctly. You need to create a sitemap.xml, which simplifies the process of indexing your website for Google by showing correct directions within it;
  • Google may come across some crawl errors. In this case, the search engine won’t be able to crawl your website pages thought it sees them. To check the error navigate to your Google Webmaster Tool, choose the website you need, click on Crawl and select Crawl Errors. If there are any issues, the unindexed pages will be indicated in Top 1,000 pages with errors;
  • Google can give up on indexing your site pages due to duplicate content issue. To solve the issue find the duplicate pages, leave one ‘main’ page to be indexed and set the duplicates to be redirected to 301;
  • As long as indexing of AJAX and JavaScript pages is more difficult for Google than HTML pages, you need to configure them correctly. So, check all the settings in your Magento 2 AJAX Layered Navigation are tuned fine for the AJAX-filtering pages. For instance, see if the list.phtml file is updated and everything works smoothly;
  • There can be an interminable load times issue with your website. In this case, Google is likely to ignore the pages from indexing. Also check whether you have hosting down times. Once it occurs, the website won’t get crawled as well.

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 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

The Improved Layered Navigation extension can change metadata for category pages when one or a few filter parameters are applied.
You can specify individual SEO parameters for each filter. The predefined parameters will work for all pages to which the filter values are applied.
E.g.: a user goes to the category page example.com/category.html and chooses purple in filter Color. In this case, Robots and Rel NoFollow parameters selected for the color filter will be used for example.com/category/purple.html page.

How to configure filter options?

  • At the Options tab, you’ll see a complete list of all the filter options, including Magento 2 custom filter. Click on the required option (e.g.: Purple) to configure the metadata, make it featured, upload an image, etc.:

color-filter-properties-magento-2

metadata-properties-color-filter-magento-2

  • In order to achieve better SEO results you can then specify the way the metadata is added to the category page here:

specify-meta-data-magento-2

The custom meta tags for pages with selected filter option(s) will allow you to avoid issues with duplicate content, enable you to show relevant content on your pages and optimize the site for Google. Besides, you can specify title and descriptions for each store view separately. See the Improved Layered Navigation guide to learn more about it.

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 for Magento canonical URLs and other important SEO issues, please read this article: An Extensive Guide on Magento Duplicate Content.

 

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

 

July 27, 2015
July 30, 2015
July 21, 2015
Comments
Paul
August 1, 2015
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
Reply
Ksenia Dobreva
August 3, 2015
Hey Paul, thank you for reading, we're happy it was of use for you. We will continue creating similar guides in the future.
Mikhail
February 9, 2016
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.
Reply
Ksenia Dobreva
February 9, 2016
Hi Mikhail, thanks for your question. Please check your email for the detailed answer.
Dmytro
March 28, 2016
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
April 4, 2016
Hi Dmytro, I apologize I didn't answer your question before. I sent you the answer via email. Hope that helps!
Wout Hegeman
August 9, 2017
Hello Ksenia, We also want noindex if more than two filters are selected. Can you please send me a more detailed answer? That would be great and help me a lot!
Kevin
April 29, 2016
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.
Reply
Kevin
April 29, 2016
We have version 2.8.4
Kevin
April 29, 2016
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
May 2, 2016
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!
Tom
October 5, 2016
Is it possible to sort products on a brand page?
Reply
Ksenia Dobreva
October 7, 2016
Tom, here's the example of the brand page on the demo store. As you can see, there are basic options of sorting there.
Tom
October 7, 2016
True. I asked my question not specific enough. At the backend of Magento you can sort products on category level. Is this also possible on brand page level?
Ksenia Dobreva
October 12, 2016
Yes, the sorting will be applied according to the sorting you set on a category level for the default category. However, you can't set individual sorting for each brand page, the default category sorting will be applied for all the brand pages. If you still have any other questions, you're welcome to ask.
Zhanna
June 14, 2017
Hello! At the very beginning you advice to block everything from indexing. Does that mean, the other described advices/actions in your article will do not have any impact on results? Should I do either block everything or implement the other settings? Am I right? Thank you for advicing on that.
Reply
Alina Bragina
July 20, 2017
Hi Zhanna, thanks for reading us and for the question! If you don't want to go after the settings, you can close everything from indexation. If you want to optimize your brand pages - open them. In case you need a complete optimization, you can make mini-landing pages with keywords from pages with filter results. You are free to choose either of the opportunities. Cheers!
Parnel Combs
July 25, 2017
Hi guys, I'm not strong in SEO at all and so far I closed everything from indexing. But I'm waiting for a specialist that will come soon to make all the needed settings. Is it ok that I closed everything from indexing or will I have any problems with the matter when all the pages are to be opened?
Reply
Alina Bragina
July 28, 2017
Hello Parnel, thanks for reading us! Yes, it's absolutely riskless, as once the pages are opened everything will be indexed. Cheers!
Cooper
July 29, 2017
How can I make filtered pages to be indexed by Google?
Reply
Alina Bragina
April 17, 2018
Hi Cooper, thanks for the question! If you let a filtered page to be accessible via search engines (don't deliberately set 'NoIndex/NoFollow' to 'No') the page will be crawled by search engines and therefore indexed. Hope that helps!
Miles
August 9, 2017
Hello! I need noindex for pages with more than two filetrs selected. Can you help me, with it?
Reply
Alina Bragina
September 1, 2017
Hi Miles, thanks for your question! Please, check your email for the detailed answer.
Cristian
September 5, 2017
I chose index brand pages but when entered brand attribute code all went wrong and couldn't complete the settings. Can you help me?
Reply
Alina Bragina
September 8, 2017
Hey Cristian, thanks for using our extension and for the question. Pity you’ve come up with the issue. You see it’s difficult to answer from here. Could you please <a href="https://support.amasty.com/index.php?/Tickets/Submit" rel="nofollow">leave a ticket</a> with the site access info for our support team so we can check the problem in details for you? We’ll see what we can do with it. Thanks in advance!
Tero
September 22, 2017
The features are cool but it costs a fortune for me... I monitored the latest promos yet navigation wasn't there.
Reply
Alina Bragina
October 2, 2017
Hi Tero, thanks for sharing your thoughts about the price of the extension. Sorry you were disappointed by it but we appreciate letting us know because customer's feedback helps us provide better products and services. However, if you feel like the price is still on the higher side for you, feel free to login to your <a href="https://amasty.com/customer/account/login/" rel="nofollow">Amasty account</a> to see if you qualify for the loyalty program discount. Also, feel free to subscribe to Amasty <a href="https://amasty.com/" rel="nofollow">newsletter</a> to receive information about offers right away or check the weekly deals section on the main page from time to time. Please let me know if we can help you with anything else. Cheers!
Moshe
October 12, 2017
Will you have something like that for M2 module?
Reply
Alina Bragina
October 27, 2017
Hi there, thanks for your suggestion, we will definitely look into this question and try to see if we can cover this question in the future articles. Cheers!
Kinley
November 1, 2017
What can you say about bing and rest of search engines?
Reply
Alina Bragina
November 16, 2017
Hi Kinley, thanks for your question! The settings will work for all the search engines. Cheers!
Isla Steffen
November 17, 2017
Hi! The post is of a great use for me! I have a question about indexing. Isn't it risky to block all the pages created by ILM from indexing?
Reply
Alina Bragina
November 20, 2017
Hi Isla, thanks for your feedback! We are glad to be helpful. No, there is no risk in blocking the pages generated by ILN. You just close them from indexing and Google doesn't crawl them. It doesn't influence anything else.Good luck with that!
dean
November 26, 2017
Hi, Amasty! Thanks for useful SEO info. There are lots of features that have improved our user experience as well as SEO.
Reply
Alina Bragina
November 28, 2017
Hi Dean, thanks for your feedback! We are glad to share our experience. Cheers!
Braden
December 1, 2017
Is google indexing of urls with filter parameters bad for seo?
Reply
Alina Bragina
December 13, 2017
Hi Braden, thanks for reading! The downside is that the pages won't be optimized, and there might be an issue with duplicate content. We offer you to make the pages more optimized to avoid the duplicate content problem. Hope that helps!
Miriam
December 20, 2017
Great and easy tutorial thanks
Reply
Alina Bragina
December 26, 2017
Hi Miriam, thanks for sharing your opinion! We're glad to know the article was helpful for our readers.
Saul
December 28, 2017
Hi amasty! Hope see more posts like this was very useful.
Reply
Alina Bragina
January 3, 2018
Hi Saul! We are glad to share our experience and try to be helpful for you in future posts. Cheers!
Rhett
January 12, 2018
Should I create new page rule if I need white T-shirts to be chosen from the category T-shirts but I have already created a rule for black?
Reply
Alina Bragina
January 20, 2018
Hello Rhett, thanks for your question! Yes, in this case, you'll need to create another page rule if you want to distinguish white T-shirts as well. All the best!
aaron
January 26, 2018
Can I set meta-keyword tag for a brand page?
Reply
Alina Bragina
February 2, 2018
Thanks for reading us, Aaron. It's good you asked about it, but actually, the meta keywords have gone out of date and aren't applied by search engines now. But surely, you can make it in the Meta Data section of the extension settings. Cheers!
Guest
October 29, 2019
3.5
Reply
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