SEO categories are not as important as they used to be. The search engine algorithms have become smarter about how categories are used. For top-level keywords, categories are useful for the user experience. This means that previous strategies of matching exact match to long tail keywords is no longer in play.
During this series about current search engine optimization topics (Onsite SEO Step by Step), there have been some of the same controversies regarding SEO tags (from the previous post). It seems that people are not wanting to let go of old theories.
Here is what is still in play. The category is still going to be a part of the URL. If your website is very niche, then having precise categories is still okay to do. Otherwise, keep the categories as basic as possible for the most gains.
Best Blog Categories
If you are starting with a new site, you are going to need to brainstorm categories. This takes a lot of patience because you are wanting to find no more than 10 categories that will be the backbone of your site for quite a long time.
At first, I would recommend these 4 blog categories:
This will give you a good basis to see where the direction of the website is headed. I also do not recommend touching the category structure for 6 months at a time. This will prevent to many changes to the database. Too many 302, 404, and 500 errors lets Google reviewers know there is something wrong with your site that affects customer satisfaction.
A quick note on Google: They make money from the advertisements they run. Google really wants to be the search engine that provides the most relevant information to its users while it competes with Bing, Metacrawler, Ask Jeeves, and other search engines for your interest. It is a big money game, and Google want to be number one. It isn’t personal.
Blog Categories List
Over the past many weeks, we have been covering the importance of keyword mapping. Having a good idea where the links are coming from and going is very important. This includes categories, too!
Have you ever thought about why the categories are so important? If it is not for SEO, it is for user-friendliness. Added to that, categories should be a path for conversions.
Let me explain. Before someone buys something, there is a specific pattern of behavior. First, there is general interest in a subject. Then, there is a more niched-down interest. The next step is to really isolate the product or service. Then, the user usually looks around for a discount or a better deal. Then, the product or service is purchased.
If you think about the categories as a way for customers to find their way to your checkout line, then you are doing the categories correctly. I thing what happens is that people start website without thinking about the full intent of the website as a business itself.
It is no secret that a proper keyword hierarchy that connects to all of the categories at some point is the most return on investment for a site. So, the combination of a strategy with a keyword hierarchy that takes advantage of specific categories is the correct path to take.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel. Use categories that are common – because they work!
The top blog categories include:
From The President
SEO Category Pages
As with the tags, you absolutely do not want to have duplicate content of your pages or posts caused by having them available for web crawlers. What happens is the web crawler chases down each link that the pages are attached to. When the pages are duplicated, Google needs to decide which post to hold up as the original.
This is a killer for brand new website, because it is the category and tags archived listings that get the most traffic right away – and then Google rates them higher. By placing the category archives as no-follow right away, you avoid accidental penalization of your site.
Best Onsite SEO Category Results
Once again, a solid keyword strategy is the key for taking full advantage of WordPress categories. There is no need to make this structure too complicated. The tag cloud is better suited for fine-tuning people’s searches.
If you have made it this far, congratulations! You have learned a lot about search engine optimization on the webpage or post itself. We will end this two weeks with SEO reviews.
How would you organize your SEO category structure? Leave a comment below.