What is Faceted Navigation? Streamlining the User Experience

Adam Steele
Sep 28, 2023
Quick navigation

Transforming the browsing experience, faceted navigation allows website visitors to navigate through the labyrinth of options available on listing-rich websites.

Keen to learn more? Well, you’re in just the right place because, in this guide, we

  1. begin by answering, “What is faceted navigation?”,
  2. explore its significance in today’s digital landscape,
  3. and discuss its potential SEO challenges.

What Is Faceted Navigation?

A staple on websites brimming with listings—like online stores, booking services, and job portals—faceted navigation offers a refined browsing experience. How? It distills an extensive assortment of data, such as product pages, into an orderly, effortlessly navigable set of choices or “facets.”

What does this look like in practice? Reflect on the last time you visited an ecommerce store similar to the one above, New Era Cap. Websites such as New Era Cap use similar strategies to the following:

  1. Categorization: Facets represent various attributes of a website’s offerings. For an online store like New Era Cap, these facets can be categorized into product type, brand, color, size, release date/season, or price range.
  2. Result filtering. Once a user selects a facet, the website filters the search results accordingly. As you may have noticed when surfing New Era’s online store, we filtered for “7.5 inches,” “Black,” and “Date: New to Old” as their facets. The website then displayed only caps that met our set browsing criteria.
  3. URL updating. In many cases, as facets are applied, the URL of the page will update to reflect the selected filters. This makes it easy for users to share or return to their specific search results later.
  4. Continuous refinement. As the visitor continues their hunt, they can further refine their search by adding or removing facets until they find exactly what they’re looking for.

Moving away from ecommerce for just a moment, let’s consider other types of listing sites that commonly use faceted navigation:

  • Real estate sites, think Zillow or Realtor.com.
  • Car sale sites such as Autotrader or Cars.com.
  • Library catalogs like those found on university websites.
  • Movie and streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime.
  • Online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy.
  • Educational platforms such as Coursera or Khan Academy.
  • Food delivery platforms, think Uber Eats or GrubHub.
  • Recruitment sites such as Indeed or LinkedIn Jobs.
  • Travel booking sites similar to Booking.com.

Of course, these are just examples. Any website dealing with a large volume of diverse listings can benefit from the organized and streamlined search process that faceted navigation offers.

Learn more: Interested in broadening your SEO knowledge even further? Check out our SEO glossary, where we’ve explained over 250+ terms.

Why Is Faceted Navigation Important?

So now we know how faceted navigation works and the types of websites that employ it, let’s explore its importance.

Pathway to Conversion

Beyond enhancing search, faceted navigation can help boost conversion rates. How? It distills the multitude of options down to the ones that closely match a potential customer’s preferences, making it more likely for browsing to transition into purchases.

Customer Behavior Insights

The interaction pattern of users with faceted navigation can serve as a behavioral goldmine. These insights should be used to sharpen marketing strategies, fuel personalization, and contribute to a continually improving user experience. The better you understand your target audience’s behavior, the easier it is to offer them solutions that match their specific preferences and purchasing habits.

SEO Power Play

Faceted navigation also has potential search engine optimization (SEO) benefits:

  1. Improved site structure. Faceted navigation aids in creating a logical and organized site structure. When a website is well-structured, search engines find it easier to crawl, understand, and index. Improving crawlability can lead to better visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  2. Long-tail keyword opportunities. Faceted navigation also holds a significant edge in SEO strategy. When managed correctly, it spawns pages rich in long-tail keywords, serving as organic traffic magnets.
  3. Informed content strategy. By analyzing how users interact with your faceted navigation, you can gain insights into their preferences and behavior. This information can be invaluable in refining your content strategy, allowing you to create more relevant, user-focused content that resonates with your audience and earns favor with search engines.

It’s crucial to understand that while faceted navigation has its SEO advantages, it isn’t without its challenges, requiring careful management. For instance, the creation of numerous unique URLs can lead to challenges like duplicate content, crawl budget wastage, and dilution of link equity.

For these reasons and more, effective use of SEO techniques such as canonical tags, the “noindex, follow” directive, and a carefully crafted robots.txt file can help mitigate these challenges, ensuring that your faceted navigation serves as an asset rather than a liability.

Conclusion

Faceted navigation represents just one element within the vast jigsaw puzzle, that is SEO. With Loganix as your partner, you can trust us to guide you through the ever-changing landscape of SEO, offering expertise in everything from content optimization to the mastery of keyword strategies and link building.

🚀 Check out our SEO services today and discover how you can fuel your website’s ascent to the top of search results. 🚀

Written by Adam Steele on September 28, 2023

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.