Do you sell quality products online?
Is the page loading speed decent?
Are you able to offer dedicated customer support?
Are you still unsatisfied with the e-commerce sales?
Well, the problem could be the category pages on your e-commerce store. They hold great importance for e-commerce businesses. By having well-optimized category pages, you will be able to enjoy high rankings for specific keywords. It will make finding and making new customers easy for you. In this detailed guide, let’s understand everything about category pages and how you can use them as a solid marketing tool for your business. If used properly, category pages can truly become a powerhouse for your store.
Why Category Pages are Important for an E-commerce Store?
Before optimizing the category pages, learn why they are so essential for your e-commerce business to become a success.
1. Stronger link juice
“Link juice” — the value or equity passed from one page to another — is stronger on category pages. They have a higher value in comparison to product pages and so it is essential that you optimize them and promote them, whenever necessary. If you do not give importance to category pages, search engines will ignore them and the overall importance of your domain will be affected by it.
2. Product page vs. category page
If you are a start-up or a small e-commerce business, your product pages may not be listed higher as same/similar products that are available on more popular websites such as Amazon, eBay, etc. In such a situation, it is best to target generalized keywords and promote category pages instead of focusing on individualized product pages. For example, it makes sense to promote the category page with the keyword “Men’s Jeans”, instead of promoting a single product page for such a big keyword.
3. Category pages as landing pages
In today’s world, when an e-commerce website is selling multiple products and varied categories, category pages have become landing pages. They act as a guide to help search engines and users find exactly what they are looking for. So, they are more important than individual product pages.
What Factors to keep in mind when optimizing Category Pages?
Optimizing category pages can get overwhelming, especially now that you know how important they are. But you need to improve the pages keeping in mind two things: the search engines and your users.
Factor in the SEO aspect, so that the search engine crawler is able to comprehend the importance of category pages and improve your website rankings. Also, make sure that navigation is simpler so that any user who comes to the category page is able to make the purchase quickly.
The Main Question: How to Optimize Category Pages?
Whether you sell a handful of things online or offer a wide range of products on your Magento store, one thing is for sure: you need to optimize category pages. Here’s how you can do it.
A. The SEO Way
First, let’s focus on the SEO aspects of the website. On-page optimization will help the search engine in understanding your website in a better way.
1. Restructure the website and pick out unnecessary categories.
2. You do not need to delete the existing category pages. Instead, use 301 redirects method to redirect users to relevant category pages.
3. Optimize category URLs. For example, if you have a category for men’s jeans, the URL should mention it clearly: www.example.com/mens-jeans. Keep the URLs short and simple.
4. Now, come to the category meta titles and meta descriptions. Focus on the category instead of giving emphasis to the domain name. Give categories a clear name and write a unique meta description with all the essential keywords.
5. The category page will have multiple images. Every image should have a clear alt-tag so that search engines are able to access and understand the page easily. Including a self-explanatory tag in each image will give you a competitive edge over other e-commerce sellers.
6. Do not forget the heading tags otherwise, search-engine crawlers won’t be able to interpret the page properly. Give the H1 tag for the category page heading/name. Provide H2 tags for headings that are important after the main name of the category. Use the H3 tag for items that come third in the hierarchical structure and so on.
7. Usually, category pages have multiple links to different sub-categories and product pages. This makes it necessary to include textual content on the page. Content shouldn’t have to be lengthy tomes about your business. It should not be a place to list down keywords as well. You can just discuss the importance of the category and mention how it helps the user. You can place it anywhere – top or at the bottom of the page. Check out the example below.
B. Don’t forget your Customers
Once you have taken care of the SEO issues, let’s focus on the needs of your customers. Why would customers keep coming back to you? In a word: convenience. Provide them a convenient shopping experience and they will become your loyal supporters.
1. Create an easy to understand layout for customers so that they can find everything in one place.
2. If you own an e-commerce store with multiple categories and sub-categories, customers can get confused in finding products easily. In such a situation, you can add a sub-category listing section to the website to organize categories in an efficient manner. It will help with customer navigation and improve sales numbers.
How to make it easier? To simplify the task, you can make use of sub-category listing extension and display sub-categories easily. Whether you want to display the listing in a grid view or a list view, you will be able to showcase the sub-categories in multiple ways. This extension will provide enough opportunities to add content to the category page.
3. The category page should have a robust search feature. If you have multiple sub-categories listed on the landing page, it is best to have a search feature so that customers can stay on the website longer. It will increase the chances of generating more sales. It is also a rule that the longer a user stays on your website, the more favorable will be the page’s search engine rankings.
How to make it easier? You can use Ajax quick search extension to add a search feature to the category page. The extension works on all types of pages. It auto-suggests results quickly to save customer’s time and offers great convenience to them. You can customize the appearance of the search results and even show matching products, categories, CMS pages, etc. to keep the customer on your website for a longer time.
4. The search feature is essential when customers want to look for a specific product. However, when he wants to find products by selecting a few key attributes, you need to provide a layered navigation feature on the category pages. For example, if the buyer wants to customize the results on the basis of color, size, availability, ratings, etc., layered navigation filters will do a great job.
How to make it easier? Install improved layered navigation extension to offer 100% Ajax-based navigation filters to your customers. They will be able to multi-select different product attributes and shop for products easily. The extension will display sub-categories in different ways and enable you to customize the navigation features of the website. It also includes “Shop by Brand” functionality to display brand logos and brand sliders on the category page.
5. Do your customers use specific product characteristics such as year, make, model, etc. to search for products? In such a situation, you may need an additional YMM filter. It is usually beneficial for e-commerce websites selling car parts, car accessories, spare parts, printer parts, electronic items, etc.
How to make it easier? You can install a product parts finder to create drop-down filters for the category page. You will be able to create custom fields and a specific number of drop-down filters to make product searches simpler. You can set up a finder based on all the categories available in your Magento store. You can manage all product data manually or import values with the help of a CSV file.
Category pages are a pillar of any successful e-commerce store. In order to ensure a thriving business online, you must monitor the category pages and make changes according to the evolving SEO trends and customer demands. By following the above-mentioned tips, you will be able to transform the category pages into a powerhouse of your e-commerce store.
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