Magento Support Files: Layered Navigation
What is Magento layered navigation?
Magento’s built in layered navigation functionality is a format that allows customers to search across multiple variables simultaneously. And while that sounds like a mouthful, the concept is actually quite simple: layered navigation allows your customers to parse search results instantly. This means your customers will find what they are looking for faster and ultimately, faster results lead to more conversions.
An example will really bring the concept into focus:
The customer can filter by any or all three of the options: From the anchor category “Men’s Clothing“, he could choose from one of the two subcategories – “Shirts” and “Pants”, or he could specify a price range, or he could look at only red pants.
How to get started using Magento’s layered navigation
The default setting on Magneto e-commerce sites has the variables “Category” and “Price” already set for layered navigation, so those options will automatically appear for any customer search.
In this instance, the term “Categories” includes subcategories for any anchor categories. This is easily seen in our example where “Shirts” and “Pants” are subcategories to the anchor category “Men’s Clothing”
The options shown under the price category are generated based on the quantity of items shown and the range of their prices, and therefore will be different in each instance. The maximum number of price range options shown is ten.
Customizing Magento layered navigation
Customizing the attributes that appear in your layered navigation pane is a multistep process. The first step involves the attribute itself (which is found under catalogueàattributesàmanage attributes) to ensure that the two fields required for layered navigation are set up properly.
The first field to check is the “Use in Layered Navigation” field. You must set the field to “filterable” and can choose either secondary option – “with results” means the filter will only be shown if the results (the number in parenthesis next to each filter in our example above) are greater than zero, while “without results” will show up no matter the results.
The second required field is the “Catalog Input Type for Store Owner” field which can be set to dropdown, multiple, select, or price.
Advantages of Layered Navigation: SEO
By using layered navigation properly you can vastly improve your search rankings by increasing the number of objects indexed by search engine crawlers.
Imagine that your customer searches for a black pair of Levi’s jeans. The standard layered navigation protocol means that the resulting URL would be similar to this:
However, by using an SEO tool you could transform that URL into something more SEO- friendly, like this:
Though the actual work of making these changes may be too technically advanced for many, there are a variety of Magento extensions available that automate this task.
Whatever your expertise level there are simple ways you can upgrade the shopping experience for your customers – one of which is Magento’s layered navigation feature – and ultimately a better shopping experience for your customers means more conversions for you.