Category pages are crucial to the taxonomy of most websites. They allow users can see all the products within a particular niche that your site offers and decide which, if any, they are interested in reading more about. |
More often than not, these pages are what site owners want to rank in Google as opposed to the products themselves. This is mostly because product pages are a ‘dead-end’ of sorts – users will quickly navigate away from them if they don’t want to buy that specific item. Category pages, on the other hand, act as a menu of choices.
For example, if your site lists or reviews SEO agencies around the world, you may have a ‘London’ category page. For the key phrase ‘SEO agency London’ you probably want this to rank. Users searching ‘SEO agency London’ are probably not searching for a specific agency in the city, but want to get an idea of how many there may be and what distinguishes them from their competition. The ‘product’ is the individual SEO agency. London is the category that this agency is a part of and therefore is what you’d prefer users to see first.
But how do you get this to rank?
Site Architecture and Internal Linking
Categories are essential to a site’s structure and make a big impact on how easy it is to navigate for both users and Google spiders. In general, the fewer clicks a user needs to reach a category page, the better. This implies that each product that is part of the grouping should feature a link back to the category page. With this structure, not only is the user experience improved, but Google spiders are more likely to realise that this is an important page that is relevant to the search term.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Excessive keyword use has been confirmed by Google to have a detrimental effect on rankings, so you need to carefully avoid this in your text. While it is important for SEO that content is key phrase rich, repeating key phrases unnaturally or too many times could make Google doubt the trustworthiness of your website.
External Link Building
Building external links into your category page as well as your home page, is also helpful for SEO. The best backlink portfolios are made up of links that are reliable and trustworthy, coming from prestigious websites such as leading online industry journals. A word of warning here though – using black hat SEO methods or artificially acquiring links is far less effective than building your backlink portfolio naturally. Content that is interesting and engaging should attract links organically as owners of external sites will recognise its value.
Consider User Intent
It is important to note at this point that there are instances in which you may prefer your product pages to rank, since here you will have persuasive copy and salesmanship aimed at converting traffic into sales. It stands to reason that a certain percentage of users when searching for a general phrase are actually looking for a more specific item. Therefore, if some users searching general phrases are ready to buy, it’s better for you (and for Google) that they see exactly what you’re selling first.
Follow this advice and you can hope to see ranking improvements for your desired pages. Remember to think carefully about user intent and whether you are prioritising the right elements of your website.
Kit Jones works for LeadGeneratorsDigital, a successful and professional SEO agency. London is home to many online marketing companies, but LeadGeneratorsDigital is the one to choose if your business needs a boost. Their content marketing skills and comprehensive SEO packages promise to not only improve your webpage rankings, but also the overall quality of your site.
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