How to Optimize E-Commerce Category Pages

Search News You Can Use’s Marie Haynes sat down with Google’s John Mueller to discuss how to best include and optimize content on e-Commerce category pages. Finding a balance between increasing the contextual relevance of an e-Commerce page and optimizing for users’ best interest has been an on-going battle for SEOs. When optimizing for e-Commerce pages, we often ask ourselves, “how much content is enough?” or conversely, “how much content is too much?”. Finally, we’re awarded some clarity, as Mueller sheds light on how Google ranks e-Commerce pages based on the algorithm’s understanding of the intent of the page.

Having Some Content Is Essential

When approaching content creation for e-Commerce category pages, Mueller confirmed that having some content is necessary to help the algorithm understand what the page is about. No surprise here, as we know content enables search engines understand the intent of pages by targeting relevant queries.

“...When the e-Commerce category pages don’t have any other content at all other than links to the products then it’s really hard for us to rank those pages.” - John Mueller

Having Too Much Content Can Misinform Intent

However, having too much informational content on e-Commerce pages can misinform Google of the intent of the category page. e-Commerce pages are transactional, and though some content is important to help rankings, having too much content can misdirect Google into thinking the page has informational intent. Mueller points out that having “giant articles on the bottom” of e-Commerce pages can confuse search engines when product lists are also present.

“I could imagine that our algorithms sometimes get confused by this big chunk of text where’d we say oh, this is an informational page about shoes but I can tell that users are trying to buy shoes so I wouldn’t send them to this informational page.” - John Mueller

Moreover, it’s important to consider users’ intent on category pages. Are they interested in reading paragraphs of information, or are they really just looking for a product that fits their needs?

How Should We Optimize for Category Pages?

Content should certainly be included on e-Commerce category pages. That hasn’t changed.

However, this conversation encourages us to only include as much content as needed to adequately describe the value of a product. We should include content to describe a product’s features, functionalities, and other UVPs and keep in mind that adding more content may not necessarily yield better organic search results.

So, now you want to optimize content on your category pages, but don’t know where to start? Check out these step-by-step instructions to learn how to prioritize your e-Commerce SEO Opportunities.


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