While in life it’s not always important to put a label on everything, websites, though, are a whole different ball-game; in the realm of sites– labels are everything. Category pages help weave similar items together based on a defining characteristic such as topic. They give your website a solid framework that you can add on in a systematic way.
Category pages see to it that all your content is easily accessible within a click or few. These pages essentially serve as a directory listing all the pages, posts and products relevant to that category.
How do category pages work?
Category pages provide your website content with a logical hierarchy. You have parent category pages (primary category), that contains links to one or more child category pages. This can go even deeper with “grandchildren”, “great-grandchildren”…you get the point. Essentially, category pages give your website a top-down taxonomy, where the parent category- in a sequential format- holds a whole list of subcategories. A well planned network of category structure has the potential to become a high authority page, and this is important because if your category page receives a flood of traffic, then that the link juice will also spread to your child pages.
6 Ways to Optimize your Category Pages for Higher Rankings
According to Yoast, your category archives should rank higher than any of the individual post or pages on your website, because they are essentially landing pages, and as such brings the most value to your website visitors. And, even if one of your individual pages expire or suffers a technical glitch, your category page will give your users more content or product they can browse through.
That said, here are tips to boost your category page rankings:
1. Optimize your URLs
The URLs of your category pages should highlight exactly what your page is about. Remove unnecessary words and characters. If, for example, you want to create a category page that exclusively links to pages containing medical books, then you should consider having the url as: http://example.com/medical-books. As a rule of thumb, the user should be able to know exactly what they will find on the page just by looking at the URL.
2. Make your titles keyword rich
The title of your category page should include your main keyword, and it should be placed in the beginning of the title. The keyword you use must accurately match the content of your subcategories.
3. Create a unique meta description
Meta description is the little snippet of text that comes up in search engine rankings directly under your category page’s title. Meta description in category page is a prime real estate that you can use to boost your click through rates once your page achieves a high ranking. So refrain from just copy-pasting the same generic copy on all your category pages. Your meta description should include keywords, and should be short and snappy. It should essentially be catchy enough to make people want to click the link.
4. Don’t skip on content
Many businesses, especially ecommerce stores shy away from adding content to their category pages. They prefer having a clean gallery that highlights just the image and name of their products. But a short descriptive copy might just be what your category page needs to boost conversions and rankings.
In these texts, you can highlight any relevant promotions, shipping information or loyalty programs that might encourage users to stay and buy.
5. Use descriptive anchor texts
Anchor texts are clickable content in a hyperlink that links one page to the next. To attain the maximum SEO benefits, it’s important that you link all your primary category pages to relevant subcategories using texts that accurately reflects the content of the page. Also, on your category page, instead of using anchor texts such as “More Information”, be more descriptive with text like “Learn More About Anchor Texts”.
6. Remove duplicate categories and tags
Make sure that you don’t have duplicate categories or share a category name for a tag as well. Doing this will cause you to compete with yourself. For example, if you write an article about “best student savings account” and put it under the category page titled “savings” and also under the tag “savings”, this can be confusing for the Googlebot when it comes to crawl, index and rank your page.
If you are an ecommerce story or a business with a blog, it is imperative that you set up category pages to give your website a robust backbone. When you add new products and posts, you can then easily place the item to its appropriate category. Category pages aren’t a one-and-done type of deal, and must be constantly updated.