Optimizing Category Page Content for Traffic and Conversions
The easier it is for shoppers to find a product, the more likely they are to buy. Usability and having great product and category page content are paramount for e-commerce, impacting conversion rate, customer loyalty, and brand reputation.
This article explores how category pages can drive traffic and increase conversions, including how to optimize SEO for e-commerce category pages and best practices for writing category page content.
What Is Category Page Content?
Category page content serves as the online equivalent of physical store aisles.
For example, if a shopper is looking for garden fertilizer, the category page is like walking through the fertilizer aisle at a brick-and-mortar store. The page shows them all the available options.
Imagine walking through the aisles of a cluttered and disorganized store. It’s confusing and frustrating, right? The same is true for an eCommerce store. Organizing category page content so it is intuitive, informative, and user-friendly is foundational to delivering a positive user experience.
When you optimize category pages, you streamline the search process for shoppers, making buying from you more enjoyable.
The Impact of Usability
A shopper landing on your website is a victory. It represents your team’s time, effort, and marketing investment. Whether that shopper found you online or was referred by a happy customer, your website has ten seconds to engage them, or they will leave.
Studies show that ease of use impacts all of the following:
- Shopping experience
- Perceived usefulness
- Brand reputation
- Frequency of purchase
An average of 70% of shoppers abandon their carts without completing the purchase. This means that close to three out of four potential customers who want to make a purchase leave without buying anything from your website. While you’ll never get 100% of people who land on your site to buy, increasing your usability will increase your conversions.
Category pages are one proven way to improve usability.
What Should Be on a Category Page?
The category page content includes headlines, descriptions, images, and calls-to-action (CTAs) for products in a defined category. It may contain links to blogs if your products require more content for visitors to make an informed purchase. The types of products and target audience determine how much content should be included.
For example, a category page displaying toasters would highlight each toaster’s unique and most sellable features, including price. The goal is to allow shoppers to browse all available toasters quickly before clicking through to an individual product page.
They may be searching for a toaster of a particular brand, a specific capacity and features, a preferred color, or the one with the lowest price. The most successful category pages are well-organized, intuitive, and concisely informative, so shoppers can easily find what they want.
How Do You Optimize Category Pages?
As you optimize category pages, you have two discreet audiences in mind. They include:
- Your customers
- Search engines
Customers want a responsive, intuitive, attractive category page that makes it easy for them to browse through their options. Search engines want the same great UX experience but also relevant keywords and a precise hierarchy of category URLs.
How To Optimize Category Pages for Customers
The goal of a category page is to guide your customers through their options, helping them quickly locate the product that meets their needs.
The following e-commerce category page best practices apply to both customers and search engines. However, these have the most significant impact on customers.
Clear and Descriptive Category Names
Category names are not a place to get clever and fanciful. The purpose is to make navigation easier, so category names should be obvious.
Avoid jargon, puns, abbreviations, or unfamiliar technical terms. You want your category names to be instantly recognizable.
Visually Appealing Images
Grainy or unappealing product images will turn shoppers away. You want to use high-quality, visually appealing photos. Shoppers should be able to navigate through photos to understand the dimensions and characteristics of the product.
Keeping all images in a consistent format also helps create a professional and uniform experience.
Use breadcrumbs, filters, and sorting options to make your category pages easy to navigate. The more seamlessly shoppers can find what they want, the more likely they will purchase.
Three-quarters of US adults say they buy things using their mobile phones. The share of online shopping done on mobile devices continues to rise steadily. Ensure your category pages are easy to use and read on the small screen.
Fast Load Times
A one-second difference in load time can result in a 7% reduction in sales. To keep your customers happy, optimize your category pages to load quickly.
Don’t assume the first version of your category pages is as good as it can be. A/B test images, formatting, color, and other features to optimize conversions.
Optimizing SEO for E-Commerce Category Pages
Optimizing category pages for search engines includes everything you would do to optimize for customers, as listed above. Some directly impact SEO, and others indirectly improve SEO through longer view times. Shoppers that stay on your website and browse around improve your SEO.
This list continues the essential strategies, with a focus on optimizing SEO e-commerce category pages.
Long-Tail and Precise Keywords
As the number of e-commerce stores increases, the competition for category keywords is skyrocketing. If you manage a highly competitive e-commerce website with tens of thousands of backlinks, your site is positioned to compete for the highest volume and highest competition keywords. For smaller to medium-sized companies who are building their web presence, there are other effective strategies.
Returning to the toaster example. Your category keyword may be toasters, which is accurate and easy for customers to grasp. However, the keyword toaster is highly competitive and probably will only have a significant positive impact on the SEO of a high volume, high authority website.
Businesses of all sizes can balance that and boost SEO by including long-tail keywords as sub-categories or within the descriptions. For example, according to Ubersuggest, the following are all high-volume search phrases with medium competition:
- Toaster oven air fryer
- Toaster 4 slice
- Oster toaster oven
- Toaster oven baked potato
Including these more targeted and less competitive keyword phrases in your category pages will help the search engines lead the right shoppers to your website.
Product and category page descriptions greatly impact both customers and search engines. You want them to be compelling, including salient details and keywords.
See below for an extended look at descriptions and writing content for e-commerce category pages.
Header Tags and Content
Use header tags (H1, H2, H3) to help the search engines (and shoppers) understand your content’s structure. Use H1 only once, at the top of the page, for the category name. Ideally, include your primary target keyword in the H1.
Image Alt Text
Including descriptive image alt-text with relevant keyword phrases helps boost your SEO. Ensure every image on your category pages includes alt-text.
Your category page will naturally be a powerhouse of internal links since each product listing will link to the product page. Internal linking improves user experience and SEO.
Monitor and Analyze
Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor vital metrics like organic traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate. Minor adjustments can dramatically increase the traffic to your website and the percentage of shoppers who convert.
You can follow this list of best practices to optimize SEO for your e-commerce product pages.
Another vital part of optimizing your category pages for shoppers and search engines is your category page descriptions.
What Is a Category Page Description?
The category page description is a brief section of text that provides an overview of the category. While this may seem straightforward at first glance, the category page description sets the tone for the page.
Vital for Shoppers and Search Engines
For shoppers, the category page should confirm they are on the right page while matching the personality of your brand. You want the tone of your category page description to speak to your audience and match their expectations.
For search engines, the category page description is a great way to incorporate at least a couple of your long-tail keywords. They will help the search engines understand the content of your page. However, only use the keywords if they fit naturally.
Category Page Description Best Practices
The category page description is usually below the page header and above the fold, an invitation for shoppers to keep scrolling. However, sometimes it is at the bottom of the category page. Both locations are good.
The general best practice is to keep the category description concise, at about 100 to 300 words. However, this can vary with the complexity of your products. A jet ski category page may include more details than a page for cotton t-shirts, for example.
How Do You Write Content for a Category Page?
Writing e-commerce content requires a blend of SEO expertise, marketing skills, product knowledge, and insight into your customer’s motivations. There is not much room for text on category pages, so each sentence needs to be well-written and targeted.
Here are six keys to writing compelling content for your e-commerce category pages.
1. Understand Your Audience’s Pain Points and Desires
If a shopper is frustrated with losing their keys and your category page promises they will “never lose their keys again,” you have engaged with their pain point. They know they have found the right page and are likely to browse your products to find one that fits.
Use the data you have available to identify who is buying each product and what problems they are solving when they do. If you are a newer store and don’t have that data yet, talk to your sales team or look at your most successful competitor sites to gain those insights.
Understanding your customers makes selecting which features or benefits to highlight on your category pages easier.
2. Keep Content Clear, Concise, and Relevant
Category pages must be easy to browse; too much text bogs down the process. Keep your content relevant to the shopper’s search, clear, and concise.
Where appropriate, use bullet points for easy readability.
If you know some shoppers need additional information, you can link to blogs or add FAQs.
3. Use Keywords as Naturally as Possible
If you’ve done your keyword research, you have a list of relevant, long-tail keywords with a solid search volume and medium to low competition. Use your keywords everywhere you can, but only where they fit in naturally. If you misuse keywords, it will be jarring to shoppers and won’t benefit your SEO.
4. Tell Shoppers What To Do Next
Whether you have a simple CTA button near each product on the category page inviting shoppers to “Learn more” or “Buy now,” it’s essential to make the next step easy and obvious.
You can invite them to explore a sub-category, check out a featured product, or take advantage of a special offer. Whatever you want them to do next, make your CTA clear, visible, and compelling.
5. Make Category Page Content Unique
While it can be tempting to reuse content on multiple category pages or lift the exact text from part of a product description to paste onto the category page, you are undermining your SEO optimization when you do that.
The text on each category page needs to be unique. Otherwise, you run into duplicate content issues that can harm SEO.
6. Add Social Proof
Hearing from your satisfied customers is becoming more important to shoppers. Over 99% say they read reviews when shopping online, and 98% view reviews as an essential resource for making purchase decisions. The same survey found that shoppers rank ratings and reviews as a higher priority than even price and free shipping.
Highlighting a few positive reviews on the category pages helps reassure shoppers and motivate them to keep looking.
Quality Content Increases Traffic and Conversions
You may have the best product on the market, but shoppers will miss out if your website is confusing, difficult to navigate, or lacking compelling content. Optimizing your category page content is a powerful way to boost SEO, increasing traffic. It also augments usability, increasing conversions.
If writing concise, targeted, and unique content for your category pages seems daunting, don’t worry. ContentWriters has you covered.
Joan Weisman’s strong research skills, SEO knowledge, adaptability of style and voice, and passion for staying current make her an asset for freelance web content, SEO, and copywriting.