Category pages play a critical role in the success of any commercial website, since they constitute an important step on the way to conversions. You should put SEO for category pages near the top of your list when developing your general optimization strategy, to get your most important content featured at the top of the search dropdown, attract more targeted users and hit high sales.
In this article, we will consider the most common mistakes that website owners make when implementing SEO for ecommerce category pages. If your content does not rank well in SERPS, study our tips and you may find the solution.
1. Irrelevant Text
If you think you can impress Google with lengthy descriptions, you are mistaken, especially if you do not write your own original text but simply copy it from another website. Search engines value quality over quantity, and they frown upon plagiarism.
In addition, large volumes of irrelevant content are harmful from the point of view of sales, since they distract users from shopping. Some prospects may forget why they clicked your link in the first place. Others may not have the time or patience to read long descriptions, and they will leave to seek faster solutions to their problems elsewhere.
You have services or products to sell, so don’t wear your prospective clients out with irrelevant information. Push forward your enticing offers right away and explain how customers will benefit from them.
When compiling each SEO category description, ask yourself the following questions:
- What user behavior should this page drive?
- Do all page elements contribute to this behavior?
- Will this page continue to sell, or just provide information after I add new text?
2. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is one of the most common sins of inexperienced SEOs, who think that the more keywords are embedded in the text, the better. While this approach may have been effective in the distant past, today’s search algorithms are more sophisticated and not so easy to manipulate. Cheap tricks and primitive spamming have no power over them.
The most popular forms of keyword stuffing are:
- Using the same keywords multiple times on the same page.
- Too frequent use of keywords.
- Beginning every heading and subheading with the same keyword, adding no value.
- Listing regions for which a brand wants to rank.
- Providing phone numbers without context.
- Listing keywords instead of providing a normal description.
Do not expect these practices to push your website higher in a search dropdown. Not only will they deliver zero SEO results, but they will also alienate prospective buyers. The use of low-quality content demonstrates your indifference to buyers’ needs, and your inability or unwillingness to provide an upscale user experience.
To help boost the credibility of your website and score better rankings, it is in your best interest to create useful, valuable and entertaining content, embedding keywords in the text naturally and inconspicuously.
3. Lack of Meta Tags
It goes without saying that each of your SEO category pages should have a title built around the strongest keyword among those selected for this particular page. A title should be attention-grabbing and appealing to both search robots and users.
Also, be sure to create alt text for all images on the page. If an image does not upload for some reason, this text will give users the idea of its context. In addition, alternative text is intended for people with disabilities and AI-driven virtual assistants like Siri.
While users like visual content, search engines are still unable to scan it as accurately as text. Use alt tags as hints to attract the attention of bots to the most important content and help them interpret it in the right ways.
4. No Internal Linking
Internal linking reflects relationships between pages, and helps both users and search robots navigate your online platform. Once a visitor has studied a certain page, they can move to a related page to expand their knowledge about their topic of interest, or buy additional products. Links embedded in the text eliminate the need to use on-site search, dig through your blog or catalog and make extra clicks.
Be sure to place links to your category pages in product descriptions and informative articles. This will help you cross-sell and urge prospective clients to proceed from reading to buying. In addition, if many product pages link to a category page, search engines gauge the importance of such content and push it higher in search.
5. Duplicate Content
Even if you have two similar categories that have almost identical descriptions, for example, “cross country mountain bikes” and “trail mountain bikes,” it is still necessary to write an original text for each category page.
Also, do not use the same content for a category page and product pages. A category description should accommodate general keywords, while a page description should use more specific keywords. Then shoppers who are still unsure of their choice will be able to study all the available options on a general page, compare them by different characteristics, and decide on items of interest. At the same time, shoppers looking for a specific item will be able to go directly to a product page and quickly purchase it.
6. Lack of Microdata
Microdata is an HTML specification that helps search engines more accurately interpret page source code. You can make all the necessary alterations manually. But with a large code volume, it is recommended to automate the process with a helpful app, widget or plugin.
At the very least, you should tag category names, prices and other meaningful information within the page to increase its chances of being featured in rich snippets. After implementing microdata, be sure to check it with a validator like Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
7. Merging Unrelated Categories
It is common for brands to have several large categories with items that strictly fit those categories, and a number of items that cannot be listed in any of them. For example, a furniture brand sells 20 table models, 30 chair models, two bed models, and one sofa model. The number of tables and chairs is sufficient for the creation of two full-value categories. Since there are only two beds and one sofa, a furniture brand may create an “Other” category for both, or add them to the table or chair category, which could be even more confusing.
Even if there is only a single sofa in your catalog, you have to create a separate category for it. A straightforward website structure is one of the pillars of upscale user experience. No one would ever search for a sofa in the table or chair category, while “Other” sounds like “Accessories.” Do not skimp on unique category pages, since they will help retain users on your website and send clear signals about your products to search engines.
Now you know about some common SEO mistakes to avoid, as well as how to create effective category pages that will greatly improve your search rankings, boost conversions and help your brand thrive in the long run.