Eleven approaches to enhance E-trade category Pages for search engine optimization

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if you’ve been doing search engine optimization for a while, you’ll understand what I imply after I say category pages are a not unusual vicinity search engine optimization and UX specialists disagree on.

And this is for one key purpose: SEOs generally tend to need to add more content and hyperlinks, and UX specialists want to prioritize clicks to merchandise.

but, there may be a middle floor in which we can keep the economic nature of classes and consist of content to assist customers make their buy choice.

throughout this guide, I’ll show a way to improve your e-commerce category pages for search engine optimization at the same time as making sure the person remains on the core of your decisions.

however first, why are classes so critical?

The significance of extraordinary categories cannot be understated.

They’re the web page area where you’ll frequently seize “The fats Head” and “The Chunky center” of seek queries—the excessive-volume, less-unique queries that most bosses/customers want to rank for.

The search demand curve

That’s now not to say classes can’t goal lengthy-tail keywords. But until you have quite a few SKUs, sites often target the long-tail with product pages.

further to classes being essential for capturing site visitors from excessive-extent phrases, additionally they help:

  • users discover your merchandise when navigating your web site.
  • You effectively distribute PageRank to vital subcategories and products thru your inner linking.
  • users and serps understand your records architecture (IA), i.E., how you’ve organized your content.

before we pass on with a few recommendations, I’ll introduce the two forms of class pages you’ll discover on e-trade shops:

  • class listing pages (CLP) – categories that predominantly listing classes. 
  • Product listing pages (PLP) – classes that predominantly listing products.

You’ll see CLPs across many popular e-commerce stores, and they’re frequently found in classes better up inside a domain’s hierarchy.

as an instance, here’s a CLP on ASOS:

Category listing page from ASOS

And here is ASOS’ PLP:

Product listing page from ASOS

So why is knowing the distinction between CLPs and PLPs enormous?

CLPs target very large subjects. a domain is not going to carrier the user’s requirements by showing one product type. As an instance, on ASOS’ guys’s apparel CLP, it doesn’t recognize the unique sort of men’s clothing a consumer desires to see, so it links to a aggregate of different sorts of merchandise.

CLPs exist to assist customers navigate to a more particular web page. websites do this, as they won’t make certain specifically what the consumer desires yet—in order that they display them a spread of all relevant product kinds.

With PLPs, however, web sites know what a consumer needs. If a user searches for “guys’s black boots,” the purpose is obvious—so that they display them black boots.

at the same time as we must still assist users navigate to a more specific category (if possible), we recognize showing a list of black boots for them to purchase will satisfy their requirements.

Key factors for classes

Your regular class page is simple and seems like the PLPs I’ve just defined. They’ll likely have:

  • An H1.
  • A section beneath the H1 with a few intro replica.
  • A list of merchandise, probable with pagination.
  • Faceted navigation to assist customers filter out the goods.

but, there are some distance more factors you may encompass to help users and search engine optimization on each PLPs and CLPs.

here’s a mockup of the vital elements you have to do not forget for each types of categories that both customers and engines like google will love.

Critical elements of a category page (mockup)

I’ll now amplify on the above points all through the rest of the thing that will help you improve your category pages.

in this scenario, helpful content will help the consumer make a buying choice.

if you have an “engagement ring” category, writing about the history of engagement earrings isn’t helpful.

precious supplementary content in this scenario may be answering questions like:

  • How have you ever sourced your diamonds/metals?
  • Are your diamonds lab-grown or herbal? 
  • Why did you pick these? Metals to be had? What makes yours better?
  • What’s the most popular fashion?

you can in short answer key pain points under the H1, commonly in round 30–60 phrases. However then you could also add further facts lower down the web page, either in a accepted content block or an FAQ section.

Where to add helpful content on a category page

no longer most effective is this beneficial for a consumer, however it additionally helps you rank.

In an interview with Marie Haynes, Google seek suggest John Mueller stated:

while the ecommerce category pages don’t have another content at all, aside from hyperlinks to the products, then it’s honestly tough for us to rank those pages.

John Mueller

Google needs a few content to recognize the web page’s content material, and customers who don’t realize your emblem want some thing to help them decide whether or not you’re the great preference.

So we understand valuable content helps. But, this is occasionally taken to the extreme, resulting in a big amount of content material that nobody will study under the fold.

one of the worst offenders is eBay, with many pages such as over 1,000 words of text placed at the bottom of the class.

Too much "helpful content" from eBay

inside the equal interview, John stated this approximately that exercise.

I’m no longer saying all of that textual content at the bottom of your web page is terrible, but maybe ninety%, 95% of that textual content is senseless. However some quantity of text is useful to have on a page in order that we can recognize what this page is about.

John Mueller

So it’s possibly now not supporting. But is it harming? The solution is probably—yes.

Our algorithms occasionally get confused after they have a listing of products on pinnacle and essentially a giant article on the lowest whilst our algorithms have to discern out the rationale of this page.

John Mueller

nonetheless not satisfied approximately doing away with the content material? 

right here’s a case have a look at.

on the cease of June 2021, I finished a four-week rollout of recent class web page content. 

I updated 191 pages with 70 phrases of content material above the fold. Formerly, as much as 800 words have been above the fold, hidden by using a “examine greater” toggle.

right here’s the traffic for the following weeks (“A” marks the point the rollout completed):

Traffic weeks after removing excessive content

here are a few snapshots of the rating for key terms on the pinnacle visitors pages. Each of those moved from 800 words to round 70 phrases (they formerly have been told more content equals better, so that they delivered greater content to their pinnacle pages). 

Rankings after removing content

right here’s the fifth-biggest, non-logo question: 

Fifth-largest, non-brand query—rankings after removing content

And right here’s the 6th-biggest, non-brand query:

Sixth-largest, non-brand query—rankings after removing content

And the lengthy-term effect? 

The web site has been regularly growing.

Long-term impact of removing content

there’s never one unmarried cause for seo increase—however this change sincerely did no harm.

As usually, do your own testing. however my revel in and remarks from John have proven that filler content material on categories doesn’t help.

To summarize category content material: 

  • answer questions that help users make buy choices
  • answer questions succinctly
  • Don’t stuff content

2. Prepare classes logically

most e-trade answers offer a manner so that you can set discern/baby relationships among categories.

here’s an example of that capability for a WooCommerce product category:

Parent category function in WooCommerce

Organizing your classes right into a logical hierarchy results for your website outputting breadcrumbs successfully; here is an example on my seo Toolbelt aid:

Organizing your categories into a logical hierarchy results in your site outputting breadcrumbs correctly

Breadcrumbs assist customers by using indicating wherein they may be on your site, and that they aid search engine optimization with the aid of distributing PageRank to the types in the breadcrumbs.

additionally they assist Google, as it uses inner links to recognize web site structure.

We do use the inner links to better recognize the structure of a page.

John Mueller

however, breadcrumbs are some thing plenty of UX experts are reluctant to introduce, typically because they:

  • soak up lots of room.
  • have a tendency to be pretty ugly.
  • promote customers to navigate to classes as opposed to merchandise wherein they’ll convert.

the best information is that breadcrumb placement doesn’t remember for seo.

I’m constantly cautious about introducing breadcrumbs, as enjoy has proven UX specialists are right. each time I’ve customers run an A/B take a look at, breadcrumbs have negatively impacted conversion rates.

but, the workaround is simple: pass breadcrumbs lower down the web page.

3. Internally link classes

On each CLP and PLP pages, you need to make sure you’re linking to other applicable classes the user can also discover helpful. On e-commerce sites, I suggest for a aggregate of automatic inner linking and manually positioned hyperlinks.

Automate hyperlinks to parent/toddler classes

For large e-commerce stores, with out automation, coping with links could be an admin nightmare.

Take GetYourGuide, for instance. On its “things to do” at the U.S. Page, it has a block of internal links decrease down the page to unique areas in the U.S.

Regions in the U.S.—automated internal links

If we head to Colorado, scroll down to the same vicinity. Now, it shows towns.

Cities in Colorado— automated internal links

once you go to Boulder, you’ll see hyperlinks to activity classes.

Things to do in Boulder—automated internal links

It maximum absolutely automates these hyperlinks.

How? The website is familiar with the determine/child relationship among classes. That’s how it may also display static breadcrumbs above the footer.

Static breadcrumbs above the footer generated automatically

It’ll be dynamically querying a database for the child pages of the contemporary page and then showing the ones to customers.

Site structure: source of automatically generated breadcrumbs

The motive why that is so useful is that:

  • you already know you won’t get orphan classes because of a human mistakes.
  • if you create a brand new subcategory and set the figure category, the discern category will link to the subcategory mechanically.
  • Your inner links will always suggest your site structure, e.G., Google will understand that Louisiana is a subcategory of the U.S. Class, as you hyperlink to Louisiana for your U.S. page.

some other massive advantage is that you’ll routinely create a pyramid web page structure, in which broader pages link to greater precise ones.

Pyramid site structure

We know this allows Google apprehend web site shape, as showed through John.

The top-down technique or pyramid shape enables us a lot more to understand the context of man or woman pages within the web site.

John Mueller

Automate hyperlinks to similar categories

similar to the above, you’ll additionally want to hyperlink comparable classes. You may automate this, but it doesn’t healthy each web site.

lower back to the Boulder web page on GetYourGuide, it additionally links to other popular towns.

Automated links to similar categories

For those links, it’ll be querying a database, getting the parent class of the contemporary web page, and then list the parents’ toddler pages.

Two-step process of querying a database for parents' child pages

Subcategories of the discern are in all likelihood relevant to the current page, in an effort to assist customers locate other pertinent classes and help seo via sharing PageRank among them.

Manually hyperlink popular classes

You’ll now have a good baseline for internal linking. However it’s additionally essential to take editorial manipulate of hyperlinks, mainly on CLP pages.

every so often, you may have a excessive seek opportunity page deep inside the website online hierarchy, so counting on figure classes linking to child categories can bring about “excessive possibility” categories being too deep.

consequently, you need to additionally ensure you manually upload links to famous/critical categories to pages in the direction of the homepage, along with your CLP pages.

Manually add links to popular/important categories to pages closer to the homepage, like your CLP pages

4. Pagination and linking to merchandise

A essential reason of classes is to link to merchandise, however there are some nuances on the way to try this high-quality.

hyperlink to famous products

For large stores, prioritizing linking to famous products is often higher than linking to all merchandise with pagination.

Take sports Direct within the U.Okay., for instance. On its broad CLP pages, in preference to linking lots of merchandise, it consists of hyperlinks to most effective its fine sellers.

Links to popular products

that is beneficial for customers and also consolidates PageRank into the ones URLs, improving how well they rank.

PageRank of one distributed to four pages

Doing that is a miles better option than linking to extra merchandise (however ones which can be much less famous), which ends up in the famous visitors-driving merchandise receiving less PageRank and rating worse.

PageRank of one distributed to 10 pages

recall view-all pages

even as you should aim to link to famous merchandise for pages better up on your category hierarchy, as you get deeper into the web site, customers generally tend to want to look as many products as viable.

often, the first-rate manner to gain that is by way of the use of view-all pages, that’s something Google found customers decide on (albeit again in 2011).

Google prefers view-all pages

the main caveat with a view-all web page is that users need rapid load times (as noted in Google’s view-all article), and center web Vitals can effect rankings.

View-all pages can impact site speed

if you’re going to enforce view-all pages, consider that it’ll cause PageRank to be diluted among all of the pages you hyperlink to from that category.

Don’t pass overboard with pagination

You don’t need to show all of your products within your pagination.

rather, link to more specific variations of the present day class, particularly if you may suit that to look call for (extra on that rapidly).

for instance, on ASOS, its “women’s dresses” category has 176 pagination element pages.

Long pagination on ASOS website

on every occasion it links to a “girls’s dress” issue web page, it dilutes PageRank. This successfully reasons ASOS to lose a few PageRank to deep component pages which might be very unlikely to rank.

instead of linking to 176 factor URLs, it could restriction the pagination and consolidate PageRank into different more particular classes via linking to them as an alternative.

typically, this will additionally be beneficial for UX.

If a consumer reaches web page #20 of your pagination, you possibly need to help them refine what they’re seeking out—perhaps through linking to “women’s dress” categories via type or coloration—as suggested with the aid of John.

while developing your pagination strategy, you must recollect whether sequential linking like ASOS or linking to more than one issue pages is the better preference.

Sequential linking causes the primary set of element pages to have more potent alerts, with a view to bring about the product pages they hyperlink to additionally having stronger signals, as confirmed via John.

in case you link sequentially, what will typically manifest is the first web page of your site may have lots stronger signals inside the sense that your predominant content material hyperlinks to the first web page, after which it form of like incrementally drops and drops and drops as it is going via the pagination set.

John Mueller

consequently, if you need ranking alerts to be spread across all merchandise in a class, link to more component pages. In case you need to consolidate indicators into products earlier inside pagination, link to fewer.

Aren’t certain which method you must take? Do a little testing!

five. Create long-tail categories

A famous tactic to enhance your categories is to create long-tail, more precise versions of broader classes.

here’s my favored manner of doing that using Ahrefs’ key phrases Explorer.

First, enter the query a broader class is targeting, e.G., “engagement rings,” and search for it inside the tool.

Keyword research starting from a broad category in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

next, head to the Matching phrases document.

KD for "engagement rings"

inside the 2nd left sidebar that now seems, click on “figure subjects.” this may group keywords with similar search results into the highest volume keyword.

Long-tail variants for "engagement rings"

We’ve now discovered many lengthy-tail editions of our “engagement jewelry” pages that we will create on our web site.

by using growing pages concentrated on those queries and higher masking the subject location of “engagement jewelry,” we’ll rank better for large queries within that subject matter. 

SEOs frequently talk over with this as “topic information”—and we did no longer make this up.

John showed it’s a part of Google’s algorithms.

It’s something wherein if we can apprehend that this website is without a doubt right for this broader topic location, then if a person is trying to find that broader subject matter area, we are able to strive to reveal that internet site as properly. We don’t have to simply recognition on character pages, but we’ll say oh, like, it looks as if you’re seeking out a brand new laptop like this website has a variety of facts on various facets around laptops.

John Mueller

want to recognize more? Read Ahrefs CMO Tim Soulo’s guide at the long-tail key-word approach

6. Pick out a faceted navigation method

A vital detail that may move incorrect on category pages is the way you deal with faceted navigation (frequently known as “filters”).

right here’s an example of 1 at the Nike shop:

Faceted navigation example

I suggest analyzing my faceted navigation manual for all the info, however the number one seo issues are to:

  • restrict crawling – Do ensure you prevent Google from crawling all facet links (as there can be thousands and thousands of ability mixtures, wasting your move slowly budget).
  • prevent indexing of low-value aspects – if you don’t, Google can index loads of hundreds to millions of basically replica pages that aren’t beneficial for seek.

if you’re going for an ideal implementation, you’re going to want to:

  • practice facets patron-aspect with AJAX, and don’t consist of <a href> links.
  • offer alternate move slowly paths to critical facets you want to be listed.

This topic is undoubtedly a technical one—and one you’ll want to get proper. So I recommend you examine my manual so that you don’t simply save you seo issues with aspects however take advantage of the blessings. 

facts from Reevoo suggests nice critiques bring about an 18% uplift in sales on common—so that they’re pretty important.

Many websites limit reviews to product pages, however they’re also splendid to include in categories.

Fanatical is a awesome instance, an e-commerce save promoting Steam Keys for laptop games.

Reviews on a category page

It consists of suggestions from other gamers throughout its categories.

This adds particular content material to classes and enables users discover well-reviewed video games. Crucially, nicely-reviewed video games (which can be more likely to transform) get more PageRank and rank higher.

8. Beneficial guides and equipment

As mentioned, one element frequently missed in classes is that you need to offer content to help users make a buying choice.

while including written content to the web page helps, it isn’t meant to be overly distinct. That is why you should also link to in-intensity courses.

Take Sephora, as an instance. Its CLPs have links to courses to assist customers determine on a product.

Guide on a category page

For search engine optimization, this also helps the weblog posts rank, as they’ll acquire more PageRank. Additionally, it helps Google higher recognize your subject matter understanding, as you’ve got plenty of interlinked content.

nine. Pick an highest quality URL structure

there is plenty of recommendation on URL structure already available, but the most important element to don’t forget is to choose a layout you gained’t want to trade.

John said that URLs are identifiers for content.

For the most element, we treat URLs as identifiers of content.

John Mueller

changing URLs (and redirecting them) is regularly deemed volatile interest—you can’t make sure how lengthy it’ll take Google to consolidate alerts into the new URL.

consequently, it’s first-rate now not to alternate URLs unless you’ve got a very good reason (such as you’re rebranding).

stopping URL modifications for classes comes right down to maintaining them simple and pre-planning.

for instance, you can inform your builders to structure URLs based on the discern/toddler relationships between categories:

  • www.Example.Com/mens/
  • www.Instance.Com/mens/trainers/
  • www.Example.Com/mens/trainers/white/

however what takes place in case you trade your website online hierarchy?

Say the business starts offevolved selling boots. You’ll probably want to introduce a “footwear” category into the hierarchy as the figure of the “trainers” page and the new “Boots” web page.

Your URLs will now change to be:

  • www.Instance.Com/mens/
  • www.Instance.Com/mens/footwear/
  • www.Example.Com/mens/footwear/trainers/
  • www.Example.Com/mens/shoes/trainers/white/
  • www.Example.Com/mens/shoes/boots/

We’ve now simply triggered redirects for the “teacher” URL and any subcategories it had.

Herein lies the troubles with hierarchical structured URLs.

but what’s the answer?

keep them as simple as possible to lessen the want for changes. 

right here’s an example: If for the “white trainers” URL above, we instruct developers to take the very top-degree category (which is much less probably to alternate) and then encompass the last class, the URL might be this: www.Example.Com/mens/white-trainers/

Now, if any of the figure categories of the white teacher’s class change, it received’t effect the URL but will nevertheless have an effect on the breadcrumbs.

but wouldn’t or not it’s higher to eliminate the structure and feature a flat URL like this: www.Instance.Com/mens-white-running shoes/?

My non-public experience here is that structured URLs effect scores, in spite of what Google stated on the topic.

right here’s a latest example: 

Structured URLs impact rankings, as shown in line graph

This uplift only impacted the changed URLs. We altered nothing else however saw a right away impact.

test this yourself. But additionally, as I’ve mentioned, changing URLs is unstable.

thankfully, for my above instance, we didn’t need to exchange too many URLs, and the revenue danger to the enterprise wasn’t significant vs. The praise I’d had doing this for different customers.

I’m not writing a key-word studies article, and also you need to begin there before you make a decision on H1s and title tags. However the advice here is that you need to use H1s and title tags for your web page that suit the language customers use to locate your product.

For both H1s and identify tags, you should check and learn what works first-rate to your website. However there are a few preferred guides and things you could try out.

Use templates

typically, you may want to have a templated identify tag shape that closely fits your H1. 


Ahrefs facts suggests Google will rewrite your name tag in 33.Four% of cases after converting the way it created web page titles in August 2021.

Google was more likely to rewrite titles in September 2021 than in June 2021

while Google rewrites your identify tag, Ahrefs records suggests Google will alternate it for your H1 tag 50.Seventy six% of the time.

When Google ignores titles, it uses H1s

The excellent way to make sure you’ve got a name tag that Google won’t rewrite is with the aid of templating it so it is generated based in your web page’s H1. 

right here’s an instance: [Page H1] – [Brand Name].

you may want to add a few range to the page title, however what works first-class comes down to testing.

test, check, test

there are numerous distinctive tests you may run to see what works satisfactory for you; right here are some examples:

  • Use dashes (-) over pipes (consist of a price – [Page H1] beginning from X – [Brand name]
  • upload “buy” on the start of your name tag – purchase [Page H1] – [Brand name]
  • upload secondary key phrases – [Page H1] – [Secondary Keyword] – [Brand Name]

You’ll also want to recollect how templates can also range by using length. Google is fifty seven% much more likely to rewrite titles over six hundred px.

Google was more likely to rewrite title tags over 600 px in September 2021 than in June 2021

according to Google, lengthy titles also are a purpose why it’ll rewrite the ones you add for your pages.

Google listing length as one of the reasons for rewriting titles

I’ve tackled this earlier than by way of in my opinion customizing a template for an extended category name or the usage of exclusive templates—relying at the length of the generated name tag.

you could add multiple structured facts types for your class pages to help Google higher understand your content and gather wealthy effects.

the main applicable sorts Google recommends in its seek gallery are:

including these will immediately effect your SERP snippet.

For FAQs, it enhances them by means of showing the FAQs on the serps, that’s the strategy journey advisor takes.

FAQs coming from schema markup

For breadcrumb established facts, Google suggests the breadcrumbs on the search engines like google and yahoo. Right here’s an instance of Google doing that for Currys within the U.Okay.

Breadcrumbs coming from schema markup

you could see the dependent statistics it’s delivered in the Schema Markup validator:

Schema code via Schema Markup validator

outdoor of these two sorts, Google has no suggestions for product class structured statistics.

but you don’t have to prevent there.

On a “search Off the record” podcast, Ryan Levering (workforce software engineer operating on established statistics at Google) answered whether dependent records past what Google recommends is precious (like what you could discover on schema.Org).

So it’s difficult to carry that during some of our reporting and stuff that we clearly locate this [structured data] beneficial as it’s a nuanced calculation.

however while there may be problems detecting it [what the page’s content is about], we are able to use it as an additional sign.

So it’s normally on the threshold instances in which we discover that stuff useful.

Ryan Levering

even as including further structured statistics need to be a secondary recognition, I tend to take the approach of leaving as little for Google to determine out as possible.

the 2 principal extra matters I’d take into account including are:

further, you may also add mainEntity to CollectionPage and upload the ItemList inside that. By means of doing this, you inform Google the principle part of the web page is the listing of products, supporting it better keep in mind that that is a category web page.

here’s a easy instance of what which can appearance like:

  "@context": "http://schema.Org",

  "@type": "CollectionPage",


    "@kind": "ItemList",

    "numberOfItems": "[number of products]",

    "itemListElement": [


        "@type": "ListItem",

        "position": 1,

        "url": "[Item URL]",

        "call": "[Item Name]"



        "@type": "ListItem",

        "function": 2,

        "url": "[Item URL]",

        "name": "[Item Name]"



        "@type": "ListItem",

        "function": 3,

        "url": "[Item URL]",

        "call": "[Item Name]"




pro TIP

You’ll be aware I haven’t cited overview or product markup. E-commerce shops frequently add this markup to category pages—and you shouldn’t.

For critiques, Google mentions explicitly inside the technical tips no longer to feature assessment markup if the principle content material is a category list gadgets.

Google advises not to use review markup on product category pages

It affords the same training for product structured facts.

Google advises to use markup for specific products rather than categories or lists

final thoughts

There’s lots to do not forget to make fantastic class pages for seo. But with a bit of luck, this manual has made that process more painless.

were given a query about optimizing e-trade categories? Tweet me.

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