How To Create SEO-Friendly Facets With Spreadsheets
There are a lot of ecommerce sites and we are talking about mega sites, that use filters or facets in the URL structure. The users do not pay attention – and he doesn’t have to do it- on the URL structure, on the page titles, meta descriptions nor h1s, because they do not have to.
However SEOs have to do pay attention to onsite elements like page titles,h1s or URL structure as they have an impact in terms of onsite SEO.
Therefore the use of facets play an important role in terms of onsite SEO as it can allow an ecommerce siste to rank for a greater range of keywords. In a nutshell, you don’t need to rank just for the term ‘formal shirts’, or ‘slim fit shirt’, but you can rank for a combination of terms such as, ‘black formal shirts’. In this way, you can rank for longer tail keywords, which obviously don’t generate a huge amount of search volume, but these longer tail keywords, will reach users who perform more targeted queries and therefore they are more likely to convert as they know what they are looking for.
However this task may seem quite daunting as ecommerce sites have thousands of URLs and it can be quite time consuming.
This method shows you how to develop from scratch SEO friendly URL structure, page title, h1. You fill in the gaps and the formulas do the rest for you.
This method is not panacea, but it can help you a bit by speeding up the process of facets. Each problem is almost unique for each ecommerce site and therefore the solution, needs to be customised.
In this case I focused on TM Lewin. Why? It so happens that I like the quality of their shirts and it’s a site that I visit quite often to check for any offers : ) however, checking other websites, we may find different types of problems in their facets, therefore its solution should be customised. In this case if you handle a website with similar issues, in terms of facets, then this spread sheet could be very helpful.
Let’s assume that in this you want to have indexed on search engine 4 facets: mens/womens/, style, fit and colour. Obviously you can index more facets, but for the sake of time restrictions, I am simply recommending four indexable facets.
You simply fill in the gaps as you see below, based on the products that you have:
In the auto-generated URL column, using a combination of functions (SUBSTITUTE, PROPER, IF and CONCATENATE), I regulate the order of the URL structure based on the above facets in this way: parent URL/gender/style/fit/colour
That’s the order of the indicative URL structure that you want to have, as you can see within the highlighted column. How to achieve this?
You simply, use a combination of functions (SUBSTITUTE, LOWER, CONCATENATE and multiple IFs), which ensure the following: if the facets that you type are in capital letters, then the LOWER ensures that your characters will not appear in capital letters. If you use two words within the facet (e.g. slim fit), then the SUBSTITUTE ensures that there will not be any gap between these two words as there will be the hyphen. With CONCATENATE you can regulate the order that these columns will appear. IFs ensure that if for example one or more facets will be empty, there will not be two or more consecutive trailing slashes between each subfolder within your URL structure.
With this combination of sample functions you can arrange the order of your structure eliminating any issues with multiple slashes and ensure that hyphens will appear properly.
Quick tip for developers: The URL structure should be forced – if the URL structure is forced any potential duplicate content issues are eliminated!
H1 and Keyword Target
The keyword target – which can also be used as H1 appears in the other column (column E).
You need to have unique H1s for each facet selected.
Again there is combination of multiple functions that you need to create in order to get the optimal result.
You need to use the function PROPER so that you have the first letter appearing as capital letter ensuring the that your result will be more professional. There are cases where H1s appear as capital letters only; in this case, you can use the UPPER function. Again as mentioned earlier, CONCATENATE regulates the order of your keywords. You can regulate the order any way you want as long as the final result makes sense! Therefore where necessary you can use stop words (e.g in, for, at etc) so that your words make more sense.
With this combination of sample functions (PROPER, CONCATENATE and IF) you can generate your unique H1s and of course arrange their order:
Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Their Length
That’s another easy way that facilitates the creation of page titles and meta descriptions for your facets. Whatever is created in Column H, the page title and meta descriptions are automatically generated. All you need to here is adjust the content of your page title according to your ecommerce site. Additionally you need to do that same thing for your meta description adjusting the content so that it contains the USP and your CTA. Both (page title and meta descriptions) are automatically generated. In this case you have to use a formula which should be something like this for the page title:
As for the meta description should be something like this:
Obviously the content of the meta description is purely a figure of my imagination for the sake of our little cas study.
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These two figures that you see, simply count the number of characters and you can do it with the use of LEN; it should be something like this for the meta description and page title respectively:
That is one case, out of many where spread sheets can be used for the automatic generation of URLs, targeted keywords, H1, page titles and meta descriptions.
Soon, more fun spread sheets to follow…
PS: I have no direct or indirect professional affiliation with TM Lewin.