Category pages are a great way to introduce your brand to new users and display your product offering to your customers. You can also use them to improve your site’s internal linking, which is important for any SEO strategy.
Whether you have a large E-Commerce store with thousands of products, a regularly updated blog, or a website that offers a range of services and informational content, category page copy can create an optimal user experience and enable the best conversion rates.
Whilst your content/products will change, your category landing pages won’t, so it’s worth taking the time to optimise them fully. I have put together a step-by-step guide of how you should go about writing fully optimised category content that will appease both the crawler and the user.
Step 1: Keyword research
As with any copy, researching your keywords is essential to ensure that your category content is written with SEO in mind and to improve the organic performance of your site. It can often be helpful to consider the volume of traffic for a keyword, the difficulty in ranking more highly for it, and where you currently rank (if at all). To do this, I use Ahrefs to monitor how keywords perform and Google Keyword Planner to find other suggestions that can spark further ideas for new keywords.
When doing your keyword research, be creative with different phrasing, and remember that keywords can be framed as part of questions. Always consider what the intent is behind keywords: there is no point ranking for searches that people make in order to find information, when you want users to buy from your page. Consider your target audience’s language, what questions demonstrate an intent to buy, and how they will find the products you know they need.
N.B. It is important that your category pages have a balance between what it is you’re offering, what users are searching for, and what Google is ultimately going to rank.
Step 2: Organise your keywords by page
Once you have completed your initial keyword research, make a checklist of your chosen keywords, and organise them between your categories and subcategories. Remember to account for how specific your keywords are – more generic words should generally be targeted by top-level categories. It might also be useful to organise all the keywords you’ve researched under each category as you go, and then determine which ones are most important to include.
N.B. It is more important to target most keywords on your main category pages rather than on every product page. Use your product page to target specific, longer-tail keywords – the style/model/brand of a product and why the product is special. Keep your bigger, more generic keywords for the category page.
Step 3: Write the content
Whilst keywords are vital for searchable content, ultimately, a checklist of keywords isn’t going to automatically turn into a great page. There are other important elements of the copy that make it ‘readable’ (see list below).
The amount of copy is perhaps best at around 3-4 sentences: you don’t want the whole page to be dominated by words. This could disengage a visitor who wants to easily see your products. This isn’t a strict guideline, but remember to write with your visitors in mind and consider how it will look on mobile – users shouldn’t need to scroll to see your first line of products.
What your content needs to do:
Below are the 4 key points that every piece of category page content should do. It is important to remember that each step should include your keywords, but that your content message is the most important thing.
- Describe your page: Immediately show your customer that they have come to the right page for the content they are looking for and what they can expect to find on this page. Answer this with the customer’s intent in mind: show them that you have the right information and products for them, whether they find the page intending to learn, compare or (most importantly) buy.
- Show off your products: Describe anything and everything from your subcategories, product range’s colour palette, technical specifications, brand names etc. This is where your keywords should just flow across the page (without stuffing them in unnaturally).
- Provide context for the product: Detail how a product might be used, and keep in mind those keywords: are these products good for particular seasons, for particular occasions, jobs, styles, personality types? Google favours pages that discuss their targeted topic broadly and accurately.
- Explain why you’ve got the goods: Demonstrate why your range of products/services/content is the best for customers to explore. Explain what the links below provide the answer to, e.g. the latest trends, best models, cheapest prices, highest quality, etc. Highlight what need you are fulfilling and why you are the best.
Internal linking within the copy
Making navigation as easy as possible is crucial when optimising your category page content if you want to increase the likelihood of smooth conversions. An easy way to do this is to internally link appropriate subcategories through the use of anchor text within the copy. For example: ‘Explore our latest denim jackets, camel trench-coats and vibrant parkas’. This will also improve your internal site structure, and make relevant content easier to access, which will please your visitors.
Step 4: Make category content ‘readable’
Following on from the 4 key points above, make sure your content is written to identify with your brand voice. Even though this is an excellent opportunity to get your keywords in, don’t forget your tone. Make it exciting, informative and engaging. Show your passion for your products and highlight your expertise in knowing what products are best for different visitors and their various needs.
N.B. Be mindful of competitors. Whilst you don’t want to sound the same as other websites, it is important to research their strategies. Creating a recognisable, but distinctive tone is an important balancing act which can enhance your brand voice, whilst showing trust signals that demonstrate your products are what your visitors are after.
Step 5: Call to action
Once you’ve answered your visitor’s questions clearly, it is vital to move them onto the next part of the conversion funnel: exploring the products and finding the solution to their needs. Therefore, the final part of any good category page content should be the call to action.
Some examples of good CTAs include:
- Enjoy browing our exclusive collection below.
- Explore our exciting range below to discover your unique style.
- Find your perfect [product] now!
- Discover the new range of [product] below.
Make sure your CTA is clear, concise and exciting! Your visitor is about to find the answer they’ve been searching for…as long as they stay on your website.
Step 6: Make it easy to access subcategories
Once you’ve finished your category content, provide easy links to your subcategories. You may already have a filter option to help visitors find what they are looking for, but guide them easily to their specific subcategory by providing links after the main body of copy.
Remember to also include a clear link back to a previous top level category page if applicable, e.g. from ‘Denim Jackets’ to ‘All Jackets’. Internal link building is a great way to organise the structure of your site, but most importantly it helps your visitors navigate and find the content/products they are looking for.
Have fun writing your content for your category pages! It’s the time to show off your expertise and demonstrate that your products are the best for your visitors. This copy is NOT the time to be bland and technical, it’s the time to be unique, helpful and inspiring.
This guide was written by Bethany Angella, a digital marketing analyst at Impression and English graduate from the University of Nottingham.