Post Redirect Get Pattern | Faceted Navigation

One of the biggest challenges in SEO is managing URL inventory, particularly if you work with e-commerce sites that have many categories and subcategories. Often there are different types of filters which can be combined. E.g. in a category of laptops you can select inches for the display size, or memory, or hard disk drive capacity – and combine all of them.

All of those different types of filters would usually create different types of URLs. And in most cases, each filter combination also has its own unique URL. From Google’s perspective, they have to crawl all of them – because they don’t know if they all have important, unique content on them – or not. But almost always those are duplicated versions of an URL. It can lead to millions and millions of URLs and more – depending on the amount of categories and category combinations. It is a nightmare from a crawling perspective and most of these URLs would not have enough search demand anyways.

Instead of letting Google crawl all of this, you could implement what’s called a PRG (Post Redirect Get pattern) which is one of the advanced concepts in SEO.

Instead of having millions of URLs and links that internally lead to them, you would use a post form and just style the text using CSS according to how your hyperlinks actually look. Google does not execute or submit forms that use the post method. You would use Javascript to submit a post form and send this to a controller. The controller then redirects to a clean GET-URL that you can also use for paid search if you really need to. Google will not follow the post request, so for Google – and from a classical crawling perspective – this URL is not present, because it’s not linked anywhere. Also, this implementation doesn’t waste any link equity because it is not an A-HREF link tag anymore. To be sure you would put a noindex or canonical on that final GET-URL to ensure that it is not shown in search results at all. This would be a problem, as it is probably a very thin or almost duplicate page to something else (for example the same, unfiltered category listing).

A great benefit of using post redirect pattern is that it is a control mechanism on how to distribute internal link equity. If you link all these different types of filters or different variants, and if those destination pages have been put on noindex as they should be, it will cause the loss of link equity – because lots of links would go to URLs that are noindex. That is not the case as the post submit is not even using a link tag, so it is a nice way of sharpening a link flow.

Suggested Article

  1. Wikipedia PRG

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