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Most SEOs Opt To Canonicals To Manage Faceted Navigation

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Most SEOs Opt To Canonicals To Manage Faceted Navigation


Joe Hall posted a poll on Twitter asking what do SEOs use most to manage faceted navigation. The vast majority of SEOs responded that they use “proper canonicals tags.” Others responded they use robots.txt and then some said meta robots tag. But most of the over 300 responses said they use canonical tags to manage faceted navigation. Is that the right answer? Possibly or possibly not, a lot of it depends on the specific case.

Faceted navigation is when you have a set page that lets you sort, filter and browse other pages or results by various parameters. So if you have a page on shirts, you might let people filter by color, size, brand, or other parameters. In short, it allows users to narrow down search results by applying multiple filters based on faceted classification of the items.

This gets tricky with SEO in that you need to decide which of these landing pages a search engine should try to crawl and index. If you provide unlimited options, which most search results pages can lead to, Google might decide not to crawl and index the pages that are important to you. For example, maybe you don’t want the blue buttoned colored dress shirt size 16 to be indexed by Google – maybe you just want the blue dress shirts page indexed by Google? Then when you start added pagination to that set, so you have multiple pages of options, it can get super complicated.

Here is the poll results from Joe Hall:

In the old days of SEO, Google and other search engines would chow down on this content, likely index all of it and likely rank it all for long tail keyword searches. These days, not so much. In fact, at some point, Google asked SEOs to just block most of it from spiders. Then the answer to the question became more of a it depends, leading to let Google figure it out. But it is not that simple and SEOs spend a lot of their time figuring which sets should be crawlable and indexable.

Here are some other responses to the poll:

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Forum discussion at Twitter.





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The Google Supplemental Index Has Not Existed In A Dozen Years

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The Google Supplemental Index Has Not Existed In A Dozen Years

Over the past several days I have noticed a bunch of SEOs sharing information about the Google supplemental index and talking SEO strategies related to it. Just as a PSA, the Google supplemental index has not been in existence for a dozen or so years now.

Today, in 2022, there is no such thing as the Google Supplemental Index.

Yes, pre-2010, Google maintained two indexes for technical reasons. The main index was updated more frequently and faster and the supplemental index was for pages of lower importance that didn’t need to be updated as quickly. Generally, pages in the main index would rank higher in Google Search than pages in the supplemental index. And Google would generally only rank pages in the supplemental index if it couldn’t find good matches in the main index.

In fact, Google use to label search results that came from the supplemental index, as such. Here is a screenshot I posted back in 2007 with this label:

click for full size

In December 2007, Google started to hide the supplemental index label, stating “We improved the crawl frequency and decoupled it from which index a document was stored in, and once these “supplementalization effects” were gone, the “supplemental result” tag itself—which only served to suggest that otherwise good documents were somehow suspect— was eliminated a few months ago. Now we’re coming to the next major milestone in the elimination of the artificial difference between indices: rather than searching some part of our index in more depth for obscure queries, we’re now searching the whole index for every query.”

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Then in 2009 Google started testing a new indexing method called Caffeine and in 2010, Google launched Caffeine fully. With that launch, Google stopped using the supplemental index all together. Heck, Google still uses Caffeine today

In any event, John Mueller of Google was asked to confirm that the supplemental index is not longer and he said on Twitter it’s safe to say that index from 2003 is now enjoying the great bit-bucket in the sky.”

So don’t let anyone confuse you or set you off in the wrong direction – Google’s index works differently than it did pre-2010 than it does post-2010 and there is no supplemental index anymore.

Forum discussion at Twitter.



Source: www.seroundtable.com

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