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I'm building a tire ecommerce website, and i'm doing some SEO strategy before i move on. My plan is to let the user use a filter-based navigation where you can filter tires by type, size, speedlimit etc.

But i want Google to index my products, so i've chosen to create a link navigation, which is replaced by the filter-form using AJAX. This way Google can index my products by links and the user can navigate the products using filters. So far, so good...

My first question is: if i submit all my products using an XML sitemap, are the links (which are gonna be replaced with the form) neccessary? Or are they just excess?

My next question is regarding the structure of the "Google navigation" (the navigation Google bot will use, but not the user).

Select type (summer, winter etc.) -> Select brand -> Select model -> Product page
Select brand -> Select type -> Select model -> Product page
Select brand -> Select model -> Product page
Select type -> Select tire (all brands+model listed of type) -> Product page
Select tire (all types listed) -> Product page

I'm torn on which structure to use, or if it even matters at all. I see some pros and cons on each of them:

  1. To far down hierarchy, possible duplicate content (each tiretype page (summertires, wintertires etc.) would have almost the same brands as the other tiretype pages).
  2. Same as above.
  3. One less level to travel. Potentially many products at the 2nd level (i've read somewhere that one page should have around 100 links max.)
  4. Same as 3, would have even more products at 2nd level.
  5. All products listed in one page by Brand+Model. ALOT of products listed. Still not sure if this is bad though? Then the final product page would be only 2 clicks away from frontpage.

Should i index all the products i can, or should i have a selection of products, to precise the focus? Any good inputs on what to do here? Am i just overdoing things?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 4 '11 at 12:23

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Not strictly a programming question, so probably this'd be better off on the Webmasters SO. – Marc B Sep 2 '11 at 21:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. If i submit all my products using an XML sitemap, are the links necessary? Or are they just excess?

It depends on how many products you have. If it's a manageable number (say, in the thousands) then a sitemap of all products should suffice. In that case, you don't need to worry too much about the navigation links too much but, in principle, the simpler the better.

If your products are in the millions, however, your sitemap will get too large, so you would need a different strategy.

I guess the 'go to' example here is Amazon, who provide Google with a crawlable navigation, but also make heavy use of sitemaps.

  1. I'm torn on which navigation structure to use for Googlebot, or if it even matters at all.

Again, take a look at the Amazon example - view their tyres page with Javascript disabled [http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=sa_menu_wt16?ie=UTF8&node=15706571]

Their products are listed:

  • by type
  • by size
  • accessories
  • by brand

This navigation is all on a single page, so humans and robots can easily drill down into deeply nested sections of the site.

  1. Should i index all the products i can, or should i have a selection of products, to precise the focus?

That's easy. All the products you can - if Google and the other bots don't know it's there, it's effectively invisible.

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Thank you for your answer. By having by type, by size, by brand etc. won't it cause several paths to the same product? And is that even a bad thing? – Esben Sep 3 '11 at 8:47
Several paths to the same product can "waste" part of your crawl budget, but this isn't a big worry. You need to avoid duplicate content, where the same product can appear in multiple pages, but if you architect the site correctly you can avoid this easily. – Ciaran Sep 4 '11 at 11:15

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