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Getting Category Pages Better Ranked


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6 replies to this topic

#1 chilluk

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:54 AM

I am the developer on a large e-comm site that sells tools - it's got 60,000 products on it, and all the associated categories etc - in all about 100k pages. The site is written in ASP.Net.

It does OK in searches for actual product level keywords / phrases - the product level pages all have their own descriptive text of course.

Where it doesn't do so well is for more generic terms that you might expect the higher level category pages to be able to target. Currently these pages are really only a filter mechanism to drill down to the level below, or to sort / filter the products within the categories (we have 3 tiers currently). There really isn't any content of any substance on these pages.

I have been moaning at the powers that be for ages that the whole site needs some more unique content - they moan about ranking - I ask where the content is to be ranked!

As you can imagine the site is driven by a pretty large and bespoke CMS - they want me to add an area for them to be able to enter some descriptive text at the category level for display at the various levels. The bulk of the page though will still have to be links to any lower level categories, and also the products within the categories.

Now as a developer I can do this easily, but I'd like to know that it's going to help, and also to be able to advise them on a strategy or approach for adding this content, otherwise it will waste a lot of their time if it has no effect. I can combine these changes with other on page changes if that will help.

What sort of advice should I be giving them regarding the content - obviously a lot of the pages content below this section is going to be database driven and to an extent a lot less controllable - although by it's nature linked by the subject / category that is being viewed. Should we be changing Title tags etc to pick up on the content they add, or of course craft the content around what is there (assuming it's already valid). Should the text be interspersed with keyworded links for example?

If this is a bit vague I can post a URL to illustrate - I didn't want to do that as a first time poster.

Many Thanks

Chris.


#2 Jill

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 11:00 AM

QUOTE
Now as a developer I can do this easily, but I'd like to know that it's going to help, and also to be able to advise them on a strategy or approach for adding this content, otherwise it will waste a lot of their time if it has no effect. I can combine these changes with other on page changes if that will help.


It will likely help as long as you're targeting appropriate keyword phrases on those pages within that text.

QUOTE
What sort of advice should I be giving them regarding the content - obviously a lot of the pages content below this section is going to be database driven and to an extent a lot less controllable - although by it's nature linked by the subject / category that is being viewed. Should we be changing Title tags etc to pick up on the content they add, or of course craft the content around what is there (assuming it's already valid). Should the text be interspersed with keyworded links for example?


As a quick hit, you could dynamically generate/automate 2-5 sentences in this text area based on a few keyword phrases chosen in advance for each page, assuming that each category is sort of similar. In other words, try to generate a paragraph that can then have the keywords switched out and still make sense.

Ideally, you'd want to have a copywriter individually write something for each category, but if that's not possible, the dynamic solution usually works well too. And yes, you'd create/automate Title tags and Meta descriptions according to the same keywords you chose for the content.

Hope this helps!



#3 chilluk

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 07:19 AM

Thanks for the reply.

I was erring away from the automated route - it's the way this site has always been run - which is fair enough because it's a large site run with fairly few resources (staff!) but with 40 top level categories that branches out to 2000 at the lowest level it would lead to a lot of very samey text I fear!

I think we would start in the areas that should attract the most searches, and there will be some pretty obscure terms we can leave well enough alone (and are obscure enough for there not to be too much competition so effectively we are already ranking OK).

If at a top level category and writing a little bit of blurb would you insert links / text that relates to lower levels for example? Or should we focus solely on the keywords for the level we are on? I.e. we could say (rough example - no laughing!):

You are browsing our range of Widgets which will help you to accomplish a specific task much more quickly and easily than doing it by hand. We stock widgets made by BrandA, BrandB and BrandC. Our range of widgets include SubWidgetA, SubWidgetB and SubWidgetC

However we will have a click through anyway (in our normal navigation) to each sub level so do we dilute our text on this page with mentions of what is to come lower down?

Does that make sense?

#4 Jill

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 10:54 AM

QUOTE
If at a top level category and writing a little bit of blurb would you insert links / text that relates to lower levels for example?


I don't think it's necessary if you're linking to them within the stuff that they'll find below the paragraph.

But let's make sure we're on the same page here (pun intended!).

I'm envisioning a top-level category page that leads people to a sub-category page. And the sub-category page then leads people to the individual product pages.

So at the very top level, you'd describe what that category is about, and below that you'd list each of the subcats with a blurb describing them and linking to them.

At the sub cat level, you'd describe that sub-cat with a blurb, and then below would be blurbs of each type of product or service within that sub-cat that would link to them.

And on and on...

Make sense?

#5 chilluk

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 10:42 AM

Yes pretty much that would be it.

However the links to the lower level cats would not neccessarily have any blurb - I'm presuming the blurb is better off on the level that represents the click through.

So :

Top Level Category
This is the blurb for the top level category (should I put any links in this text relevant to sub cats?)

Link to Sub Cat 1
Link to Sub Cat 2

>> Click through

Sub Cat 1
This is the blurb for the sub cat 1 level

Link to Sub Sub Cat 1
Link to Sub Sub Cat 2

Does that make sense? I'd figured that having blurb about the lower levels on the higher level would dilute things?


#6 Terri Z

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 10:55 AM

I have a site with a similar set up -- information categories rather than products, and not quite as big, but same idea. I'd hesitated to take on the job of writing descriptive paragraphs for 100+ categories/subcategories, but using a "generic" paragraph and then inserting keywords that make sense is something I'd never thought of. Thanks for that idea, Jill!

Terri Z


#7 copywriter

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 12:24 PM

I agree with Jill and Terri. You want a structure that helps naturally filter visitors from one category to the next to the next. At the same time, you need original, relevant content on those pages. That content may come in the form of copy, and at least part of it should because you need text that won't change or rarely changes. Then you also could use some "fresh" content in the mix. This could be Twitter feeds about the products, customer reviews, Facebook statuses from your fan page, etc., etc.






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