Complete SEO Guide for Optimised eCommerce Category Page

The-Perfectly-Optimised-Ecommerce-Category-Page

There are three most important pages within an e-commerce website. Those are

  • Home Page
  • Category Pages ( PLP)
  • Product Pages (PDP)

Category Pages ( PLP)

The Ecommerce category pages list all related products under one common theme. Due to this, most of the time, category pages are the primary driver for organic traffic.

Let’s look at the elements of the SEO optimised category page.

URL Structure / Taxonomy For Category Pages

Category URL structure is one of the most critical technical SEO factors of an e-commerce website. Below are some primary guidelines for URL structure.

  • All URLs should be readable.
  • Category URLs should be indexable. Note that the “Filtered” URLs are not indexed by Google. Hence it’s not considered SEO friendly URLs. This is common mistake done by lots of Web designers and developers. Having filters and filtered URLs are totally fine. Just be sure that pages you want to be index have dedicated URLs.
  • Keep a flat URL structure, do not place directories too deep within the URL
Follow Google_Product_Taxonomy structure for your category URL structure. This is the default category structure Google used to identify product categories for their Google shopping campaigns. Having same category structure will help Google to understand your category pages much better.   

Below is an example of how you can use the Google Product Taxonomy structure to develop your URL structure.

How to use Google Product Taxonomy for URL Structure

Ignore This Level If Not Applicable Ignore This Level If Not Applicable Primary CategorySecondary CategoryTertiary Category
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet Supplies
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesBird Supplies
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesBird SuppliesBird Cage Accessories
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesBird SuppliesBird Cage AccessoriesBird Cage Bird Baths
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesCat Supplies
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesCat SuppliesCat Beds
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesCat SuppliesCat FoodNon-prescription Cat Food
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesDog Supplies
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesDog SuppliesDog Apparel
Animals & Pet SuppliesPet SuppliesDog SuppliesDog Beds

Metadata – Category Title

The eCommerce category title is what you see in Google Search Results when your category page is visible in Google.

Optimised category title will consist of primary targeted keywords for the category. Generally, this can be similar or related to the primary heading of your category page.

Google recently updated that they will auto-generate the title tags based on the content of the pages. However, this is not always the case; hence it’s better to update your category pages with targeted keywords.

Breadcrumb Navigation

Breadcrumb navigation is a navigational aid text that you can often see at the top of a web page. It shows the current location of the user.

Why do we need a Breadcrumb?

  • Its improve user experience and reduce bounce rate
  • It is an additional resource for Google to crawl and understand the website structure.

Yoast has a great article on “What are breadcrumbs? Why are they important for SEO?” Highly recommend reading this for more information.

Category Page Heading

Category heading plays a crucial role in SEO optimisation. Therefore, it’s always recommended to use the H1 tag for your category page headings.

It is important to be descriptive and specific as much as possible in your category headings. Do not use general terms within the category headings. See below for an example of common mistakes we see with category headings.

Website is aboutGeneral headingOptimised heading
Men's Clothing UnderwearMen's Underwear
Mobility EquipmentScooters Mobility Scooters

Category Description / Copy

Google recently updated that product category pages do not always need extra content if Google can understand what’s on the page based on the names of products.

However, in most cases, product names alone will not give Google the complete picture of your category page. Due to that, it is recommended to add additional content copy to the category pages.

Then there is the common question, “How many words should you include in the category description? “. There is no exact answer to this. However, based on our experience, we know that the short description at the top of the category page works well. Category description at the top or bottom of the page is totally up to you as we need to balance the user experience side.

Internal Links ( Cross Linking )

Internal links are one of the most ignored and most influential areas for SEO optimisation. Adding internal links to similar categories will improve the internal link structure and crawlability of the website.

Sometimes, keyword specific internal links are more powerful than backlinks. Below are some examples of how this is used in few websites.

Faceted Navigation Design

Within the faceted navigation design, you will see filters or other links to other navigational pages. ECommerce websites mostly use this layout for two reasons.

  • Its improve user navigation
  • Its improve website crawlability
  • Its improve your category page keyword/content relevancy

Product Name / Product Info Display

As updated above, Google primarily understands the category page based on the product listed. Therefore, product name optimisation can directly impact the category page SEO performance.

Conclusion

Category pages are the primary driver for organic traffic for most eCommerce websites. In summary, a perfectly SEO optimised category page will include :

  1. SEO friendly , indexable URL structure
  2. Keyword optimised category metadata including title
  3. Breadcrumb Navigation
  4. Keyword optimised category heading
  5. Category Description
  6. Optimised product names
  7. Internal links to other category pages
  8. Faceted navigation or filters
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