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Ecommerce sites are more than just the usual website with a homepage, about page, services page and contact page. They’re usually made up of a larger number of pages under multiple categories. On top of everything else, each of these pages and their parent categories have to be optimized for the web. Therefore, categories or category pages have also become super important for ecommerce sites.

When potential customers visit your website, they’re not always sure about which specific product to buy, and the categories are usually what would lead them to the exact item(s) they’re looking for. And this is exactly why you need to make sure that the categories on your website are carefully and properly assigned, and that all your products are placed under the right category.

If you still haven’t put much thought into these pages, here are a few of the tactics you can try out to fix your categorization.

Do not allow distinct products to share the same category or page

You would ideally want a single category to target a single keyword and its variations, so having multiple unrelated keywords for one page may be too complex and may eventually prove detrimental to your site.

Take for instance this website that lumps headphones and speakers together under one category. Although both are gadgets related to sound or audio, they serve two completely different purposes.

Normally, people, won’t combine the keywords “headphones” and “speakers” under one query. You’d buy headphones because you don’t want the music blasting over a pair of speakers, for instance. Or if you’d rather listen to your podcasts while cleaning the house, you’d opt to buy those sleek speakers.

Even before going to your site, these potential customers have probably already decided beforehand about what consumer electronics item they want to purchase. They must’ve known they’ll be either looking for a specific type of headphones or a certain brand of speakers, so it will definitely be more helpful to put those items under create separate categories.

Add some context to your category names

While it’s true that proper categorization is the main key to organizing items on your inventory, you can’t discount the fact that Google will still apply the same standards it applies to other pages on the web once it decides to crawl your category pages to measure quality.

As such, you can’t just place images and links for each product under a category and expect your site to climb up the rankings page without doing anything else. You’d still need to provide valuable content in the form of descriptions in order for search engines to easily understand what each page is about.

Some websites have a block of text between the headline and the actual products displayed on a category page. These descriptions are supposed to provide context on what items should the website visitors expect to see listed on the page. Think of it as a news story wherein your lead or opening paragraph should provide a strong summary of the information that will be detailed in the actual content – your money pages. At the same time, you should also be able to grab their interest; enough for them to keep checking out each item on the page, hopefully add one or two items to their shopping carts, and actually check out.

Others would put rich copy at the bottom of the page to help search engines understand that this portion of the site represents a specific category. Aside from providing additional context, this tactic could help you rank for long tail keywords.

Avoid limiting categories to product type

Don’t settle for categorizing your products based on product type alone. Since searchers have many different ways of using queries, you’ll need to cover all your bases. Check out the other category types you can play with below:

  • By price. Price can be the primary driver of most purchase decisions. Given this, it would be a wise choice to categorize products based on pricing. Sort products above $100, products below $20, and so on through tagging. This tactic would work well for ecommerce sites filled with items at exponentially varied price points.
  • By brand. Sometimes, visitors already know the specific brand they’re looking for before they even land on your page or before even knowing the actual model or item they want. You can easily target users who use “buy HTC phones Taiwan” or “buy green Skittles” as queries when you have a specific category page for certain brands.
  • By demographic. Searchers also look for terms related to the specific demographic they belong to. This is why online clothing stores have sections for men, women, children, and so on. It’s why women’s sections on these sites have sub-sections for plus size, maternity wear, Muslim fashion, and the like. It’s always smart to categorize items based on shoppers’ needs.

Your categories will serve as the foundation for or gateway to your products, so you should be able to guide your customers accordingly and give them the best experience possible.

Business owners and website administrators who want to drive a boost in sales should do careful planning and execution when it comes to optimizing category pages. But more importantly, proper product categorization should go hand in hand with useful, optimized ecommerce content, and it will be great to ensure you’re only producing quality content for both of these facets so that none of your efforts will go to waste.