Suppose I'm creating a category tree with several levels, call them L1, L2, L3, L4.

My inclination is to put products within the leaf node of each path through the tree. Where most of my products have 3 categories they would be in L3 categories, some in L4 categories.

Is there any reason I'd want to also put the products in the L1 and L2 categories? For search or any other reason? Are there themes that expect a product to reside in all categories down to the leaf?

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3 Answers 3


You don't need to put products in the top level categories. Put them where ever you want.
But if you want to see the lower level category products in the higher level categories you can simply mark the high level categories as anchor (set Is Anchor to Yes).

  • Thanks, I did some more research on the 'is anchor' category attribute. My understanding is this mostly affects the category pages. Curious though if omitting products from top level categories impacts search results. Apr 27, 2015 at 17:37

I think if you have a large catalog, it is probably worth keeping them in just the low level categories as it will improve the indexing processes. As long as the parent categories have the anchor setting on, they should appear regardless. The indexes that would especially slow down when processing would be the category URL rewrites, category flat data and category products. I have around 4,000 products in my catalog and the indexing just seems to go on and on.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong though, I would like to know the best practice myself.


For me, there are 2 reasons.

  1. The first reason to put it in L1 and L2 categories if you have L3 and L4 categories and so on is that when you search per category, via the Advanced Search feature, the results will show. If your top-level category is blank and the user searched an item under that top-level cat, there will be no results.

  2. If people are looking for specific items in a category. For example

Girls Outfits - Girls Shorts - Girls Pants

You'll add all products under Girls Outfits (both shorts and pants), then all shorts under girls shorts and all pants under girls pants. This way, all your products will be organized and easy to find. :D

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