bbarbeau - 4:04 pm on Jan 25, 2013 (gmt 0)
My company is shifting our product gallery pages to a faceted navigation structure.
My question is: what is the best way to handle "unselect" or "remove filter" links that appear in the breadcrumb or in the filterset?
I'll use computers as an example, because I think it might make it a little more clear than using "widgets," but if this is inappropriate, let me know and I'll change it. (n.b. my company is NOT in the electronics space at all--just seems like a ubiquitous example to use.)
Let's say a user is looking for laptops, and they want a Samsung laptop, and want it to have at least 1TB of hdd space. They navigate to a gallery page with breadcrumb navigation showing them where they are, what they've selected, and giving them the option to unselect those options, and let's say it looks something like this:
Home > Laptops > Samsung (x) > 1TB+ (x)
Let's say similar "unselect" links exist in the left side column containing the filter set area themselves, like you would see at any of the major ecommerce websites.
My concern is that in a situation like that, you'd be adding hundreds or thousands of links on the site pointing to the "Samsung laptops" page with anchor text "1TB+ (x)". Conversely, you're adding a comparable number of links pointing to the "laptops with 1tb or more hdd" page with the anchor text "Samsung (x)".
To me, this seems less than ideal (at best), and harmful to the internal focus of anchor text to landing pages.
I've seen some sites where they handle this by NOT hyperlinking the entire facet, e.g.:
Home > Laptops > Samsung (remove) > 1TB+ (remove)
where "remove" is the anchor text, and the facets are just plaintext. To me, this seems odd just because it doesn't seem intuitive to avoid linking the characters between the > brackets. In the mythical "world without Google," I guarantee the facets are hyperlinked as well as the "remove" text.
I've also seen some places where these removal links DON'T point back to appropriate URL, but instead point to a new URL entirely duplicating the content of the previous gallery page on the new URL. On the new URL, they'll add a canonical tag pointing back to a higher category page.
Seems like a duplicate content nightmare, a spider trap, and just an all-around bad idea. I feel like I've read where Matt Cutts disapproves of this use of the canonical tag, too, but I'm not sure if that's the case.
So again: what *is* the best way to handle these links? Are these breadcrumb and filter links not that strong a signal, thus making their anchortext not all that important? Even if you are adding thousands of them to your site at once?
Looking forward to hearing how you guys have tackled this problem. Thanks!