The category pages on an ecommerce site are often overlooked from a search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective, despite the fact that they routinely already target and contain keywords that customers frequently search for. So, what further steps can you take to bolster your category pages’ rankings for those often highly competitive keywords?
Begin with the metadata
You can barely claim to have optimised your online store’s category pages if you leave the title tags and meta descriptions untouched. Such metadata will always be at the forefront of any responsible and informed efforts to improve SEO – so be sure to incorporate relevant keywords into them, and a ‘call to action’ (CTA) at the end of each meta description.Also try to keep the length of your title tags and meta descriptions within Google’s character limits – 60 and 160 characters respectively.
Use relevant headings
The title tag and meta description, while crucial to on-page SEO, are hidden away in the page’s HTML, and aren’t visible on the category page itself. The headings, though – with their tags like H1, H2 and so on – very much are clear to see on the actual page. So these, too, need to be relevant. A good rule of thumb is to use the H1 heading – which is typically the primary heading at the top of the page – to reinforce the theme you put in your title tag, referring to the overall subject of the entire page. This might be followed by H2 and H3 subheadings to represent supporting themes on the page.
Incorporate body text
Not everyone actually likes the idea of using body copy on an ecommerce site’s category page, with some preferring to leave imagery of the relevant products to ‘do the talking’ by itself. However, if you want your online store to do well in the organic search rankings, you really can’t do without at least some text in the body of each category page, even if you merely settle for a sentence or two. Carefully choose just one or two descriptive keywords that naturally fit with the copy, and you won’t need to write paragraph after paragraph for your body content if you don’t wish to do so.
Aim for relevant link text
Some ecommerce stores attempting to optimise their category pages often end up committing the classic error of using link text – such as ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’ – that is useless from an SEO point of view.So, consider the opportunities you have with your link text – including in the aforementioned body copy – to send relevance signals to the search engines, such as by referring to specific products or subcategories of products.
Include links in the header and footer
Sure, your site’s header and footer are the same across your site, so you might not see this as a tip for optimising your category pages, so to speak. However, your site’s header and footer do represent useful space in which to perhaps incorporate links to some of the most valuable category and subcategory pages.With Christmas looming in just a few months, for instance, you might take the chance now to link to your festive-season category page, in time to attract the attention of both search engine spiders and human users on the lookout for the best deals on Yuletide gifts.Just make sure you don’t overdo it with the header and footer links; trying to link to all of your ecommerce store’s category or subcategory pages here will not come across well to human shoppers, and will be over-optimised from a search algorithm point of view.
If you would like to discuss your requirements in ecommerce website design or SEO marketing in greater detail, the Piranha Designs team is available at the other end of a phone or email inbox. Don’t wait any longer to get in touch with us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh.