With website search engine optimization (SEO), people typically focus on site content and user-friendliness. They often forget to optimize one seemingly-minuscule aspect of their blog or website.
That’s right, we’re talking about category pages. You should be using category pages to help both potential customers and Google crawlers understand your content. Let’s take a closer look at why you should take category page optimization seriously, and how to do it properly!
Why Optimize Category Pages for SEO?
Many websites boast a blog page that contains numerous articles about topics in their industry. While some industries are very focused on one service, others have a wider scope, making their blog posts a cornucopia of “flavor”.
Google loves flavor in site content, but it has to be pointed in the right direction before it can even find that content. That’s where your categories come in.
Optimizing your website’s categories makes your blogs discoverable, usable, and focused on user intent. Each of these traits are necessary—they help Google find your blogs and properly rank them as relevant content on the Internet.
Let’s take a look at an example of two websites that have blogs about easter eggs across the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Doesn’t use categories
- Has several other blogs about movies
- Has one blog about easter eggs
- Has 3 categories
- Has several posts specifically about the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Has all Marvel Cinematic Universe blogs categorized under Marvel Movie News
Which blog will be more valuable to Google? Blog B, of course, because Google will quickly be able to define what the site’s content is about based on the format of its content and categories. Categories make your content clear, and that’s the main reason why your category pages need to be optimized.
Here are some easy ways to optimize your categories and make your website’s blog a simpler place to navigate.
Organize Your Categories
Take some time to evaluate your blog categories. The number of categories your site needs depends on its content. We suggest really digging into your content, finding similarities between topics and coming up with a list of five to ten categories that these topics could fall under.
When you organize (or simply create) these categories, use relevant keywords that will give your categories the SEO boost they need. For example, if you were in the landscaping industry, relevant categories might include:
- Weed Control
- Lawn Care Tips
- Lawn Mowing
Even with these four categories alone, there could be several blog posts on your site that associate with them. Once again, your categories help your readers discover and digest your content.
Make Sure Your Categories Make Sense
When coming up with new blog categories, don’t get too creative. You want Google and site visitors to easily navigate your content. So, creating categories that use jargon or witty terms that only you and a small group of people understand isn’t the best way to get discovered. Find the highest ranking keywords and take a look at the categories your competitors use to attract visitors.
Optimize Category Meta Descriptions
If your website uses a solid content management system like WordPress, then you should take advantage of the ability to optimize your category meta descriptions. Meta descriptions add indexable content to your category pages that Google can crawl and rank. Take some time to describe what this category is and give visitors an idea of what type of content they’re going to find when they click through to it.
Avoid Duplicate Categories
Many site owners make the mistake of creating categories that are too similar to each other. If you find that several of your posts can easily mold into another category or two, it’s time to thin out the herd. Merging categories with crossover content will help streamline your categories pages and prevent the issue of duplicate content within your category pages.
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