NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / June 20, 2022 / With the advancements in Google's ranking algorithm, finding information is easier than ever. Put your question in the search bar, hit return, and get the answer in less than a second. However, it becomes challenging when users do not know what they want but are looking for inspiration and ideas. Googling can be time-consuming and energy-draining for this; that is when faceted navigation comes in handy. This feature should not be a strange concept if you have shopped online; it allows you to narrow down search results by applying multiple filters based on the faceted classification of the items. And surprisingly, this feature has never been utilized in digital publishing until the newcomer MarcoFeng.com, a source for travel, food, and craft, adapted it in 2021.
Faceted navigation that offers readers a brand-new way to find and consume content
Today, if you go to the site's "Recent Posts" section, you will see faceted navigation on the left-hand side that lets you search destinations and guides using filters like "best time to visit," "located in," "great for," "cost," and "visa and vaccination requirement," offering readers a brand-new way to find and consume content. For instance, if you want to know the best family-friendly things to do in your area, you would typically Google an article and browse through every activity to check if that is something you want, is it happening right now, and how much does it cost, and is it kid-friendly, so it will take a while. With faceted navigation, you just need to tell the system the time, your location, and interests, and it will return recommendations within a few seconds. Healthline follows suit, implementing a similar feature for its library.
Also, during the pandemic, when infections and policies change frequently and uniformly, this offers publishers more flexibility in presenting information timely without much manual input. According to Feng, "this is the first time faceted navigation is being used in publishing, and it will continue to be fine-tuned to return better results." However, developing such a feature involves months of planning, coding, and testing. Each post will be assigned multiple categories, determined by extensive research, that indicate to the system when they should be surfaced. User testing is also needed, where participants are asked to perform content searches and evaluate the results.
This feature, according to Feng, reduces the time on site of taxonomy pages from 56 seconds to 23 seconds, meaning users are more likely to find what they are looking for without spending too much time scrolling. At the same time, the metric of views per visit improves drastically, from 1.5 to 4.5, suggesting that readers love playing with the faceted navigation to surface articles with various combinations of filters.
While the traditional way of discovering onsite content via search bar still works, the future of publishing lies in such innovations that fundamentally change the way readers discover and consume information. It is no longer a one-sided experience but an interaction where users can "talk" to the site about what they want at that moment and get the answers without having to bounce back to Google and perform a long search that will likely return no result.
In addition to providing a personalized experience, where users can get recommendations based on time, location, and interests, faceted navigation helps boost on-page engagement and give more exposure to content. Web owners can also track the click performance of combinations of filters to identify opportunities or priorities. For instance, if a specific set of filters are used often, but the research result returns only one post, then it is a gap that might need to be filled to provide a better experience.
Despite the benefits, faceted navigation poses serious SEO problems if not addressed properly. Faceted navigation operates by creating a new URL for every filtered search. It will either dynamically generate the URL or append parameters that specify how the category URL behaves. That means even if you are not creating new pages for every possible permutation of attributes, your faceted navigation is creating them as they happen. This will create hundreds or thousands of thin pages for Google to index, wasting crawl budget and link equity.
MarcoFeng.com is an online resource that shares guides to the world's best destinations, ideas for home crafts, and everything you need to live a happier, simpler life.