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How-to 9 min read August 29, 2019

How to optimize filtered navigation for online store

Filters help the user find the right product among the offered variety on a website. The filter page is the search result obtained by narrowing the general list in the category by selecting parameters. Correct work with such pages and their optimization can bring significant benefits to the website.

What can filters do for an online store

Besides a convenient search in the online store and benefits for the visitor, the correct filter setting has a positive effect on the SEO promotion.

Filters allow you to create a new landing page with your own URL. Its content corresponds to the user's request as much as possible. Well-optimized and open filter pages for indexing are an additional source of high-quality targeted traffic.

The presence of filter landing pages affects the behavioral factors of website visitors. A potential client goes to the page from the search results by his request, finds the desired product or group of products; this has a minimized bounce rate in this case. Let's dive deeper into the main advantages of using filter pages in SEO promotion.

Increased website visibility

The page received as a result of using filters for the online store is the most relevant result for the target request. Optimizing the filter page as a landing page is an additional opportunity to promote the website based on mid- and low-frequency queries.

How does it work? Imagine that two users are choosing a bike:

User А — with 26mm wheel size.
User В — with hydraulic brakes.

User A enters the high-frequency query "buy a bike", while user B enters the mid-frequency query "buy a bike with hydraulic brakes".

If the website does not have the appropriate subcategories and the filter pages are not optimized, both queries will most likely show the results of the entire "Bicycles" category. And users must manually apply filters to find the right product on the page.
Filters in the online store
If the filter page of the online store is optimized, the result will be different. When entering the target mid-frequency query "buy a bike with hydraulic brakes", user B can see the page corresponding to his request and go to it directly.

If user A makes his request "buy a bicycle" more specific, like "buy a bicycle with 26mm wheel size", he will probably get to the filter landing page, where he will see the specific result he searched for.

High-quality website optimization for queries with low frequency is an opportunity to win a share of high ranking in a competitive niche. A low-frequency query gives less traffic than a high-frequency one. But if you use a large coverage of mid-frequency and low-frequency queries when setting up the filter pages, this can give a tangible positive effect on the website visibility in the search results.

Increase in quality organic traffic

An important benefit of filter landing pages is the quality of traffic. A user who enters a targeted detailed request has a clear idea of what kind of product he needs. If the page in the search results meets the specified criteria as much as possible, it increases the probability that he will make a purchase.

An optimized filter page attracts a flow of potential customers to the website, and it has more conversion traffic.

Who should use the filter page setup

Optimizing filters for search engines will help you to promote any online store. The user will find the desired product not only by manually specified search criteria but also by going to the page related to his request directly from the search results.

How to optimize filter pages on a website

One of the techniques to make landing page out of the filter page and optimize it is to use static URLs. The link text, in this case, is generated from the website name, categories, and filters. This makes it SEF URL, i.e. search engine friendly, and helps the robot to find the page using key hints.

Filter page optimization for search robots

1
Select mid- and low-frequency queries.

The first step is to determine which filter pages will be most demanded. Find out how users search for products of the selected niche in the search engine. Targeted search queries can be found in the semantic core or assembled manually using analytics tools.

To get as many ideas for the filter pages as possible, use the "Site Search" in Google Analytics: go to Behavior section -> Site Search -> Search Pages. Here you can see the statistics of requests from the internal search of the online store: what request the user searched for and how many times.

Another set of filters that should be added to optimization is price-related filters. As practice shows, most buyers are looking for "inexpensive", "budget", "cheap" products. This makes the use of commercial queries the most effective in optimization.
2
Determine filter landing pages.

Select the filter pages you want to optimize. Before setting up pages that use one filter or the intersection of two different thematic blocks, make a list of combinations just like in the scheme below:

  • category + filter parameter 1;
  • category + filter parameter 1 + filter parameter 2, etc.
3
Distribute keywords on the pages.

In order to optimize each filter page using relevant keywords, we will distribute the selected mid- and low-frequency queries into clusters. You can do this using the Clustering tool in Serpstat. Please, pay attention to which clusters are already used in the categories of the website and which are not. Those that are not used are moved to the filter.
4
Generate friendly links for pages.

It's important that the link is search engine friendly when optimizing filter pages. This makes it easier for a search engine to recognize and rank it higher in the search results. Each human-friendly URL should be generated in the following way:
Site Name / Categories / filters
The link to the filter page for a user who is searching for the latest bike models will look like this:
http://myshop.com/bikes/2019/
This link coincides with the sequence of steps on the way from the main page to the filtered products by year of manufacture. If there are two search parameters set on the page, then the filter sequence in the URL will be determined by the sequence of blocks.

For example, the user sets the second criterion besides the year of manufacture: the bike suspension. Despite the fact that the "Year" filter was set before the "Suspension" filter, crossed filters take place in the URL according to the sequence in the filter column:
http://myshop.com/bikes/hardtail/2019/
This kind of link generation pattern will help to generate multi-level URLs for landing pages.
Filters and friendly URLs on the site
5
Optimize filter pages using meta tags and SEO texts.

Filter optimization at this stage is similar to the SEO setting of any other landing page. You must include content with relevant keys in the meta tags into the page content: Title, Description, title <h1>.
6
Properly indicate the canonical link.

The filter page should contain the rel = "canonical" attribute, referenced to itself, and not to the category page.
7
Open optimized pages for indexing.

You should allow the robot to index useful pages. Add filter pages to sitemap.xml.

Conclusion

Filter page optimization is an effective tool to promote e-commerce projects by keywords with low-frequency queries. Using this technique, you can increase the website visibility for targeted queries.

Filter landing pages can be a source of high-quality conversion traffic by attracting potential buyers to the online store.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
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