Skip to content

Why are category pages so important for eCommerce SEO?

What makes a great category page?

So many people in eCommerce – particularly DTC – put all their focus on product pages. In terms of SEO though this isn’t always the right approach.

The graph below is a breakdown of organic revenue by page type across 500k+ URLs across our clients stored in our data warehouse. As you can see, category pages are the clear winner.

Revenue by page type

There are some obvious caveats here, like that this is on a last-click basis, so blogs are bound to be a little underrepresented in terms of attribution, but the general point still stands. Category pages have by far the biggest impact in terms of generating organic revenue.

Why then, are we focussing so much on product pages? And how can we translate that into making better category pages, AKA where more of the money is at?

It’s pretty simple. The main model for many DTC businesses is essentially using Facebook Ads to drive traffic to product pages. We’ve talked before about how categorisation is the key to moving from Facebook Ads to organic traffic, but regardless it’s an approach that works – there’s lots that we can learn from it that can be applied to an effective SEO strategy.

Much of the time with product pages, this is where a lot of great creative work happens. For instance, it’s a given that a decent product page will include the following:

  • An emotional pull – something that sells the sizzle and not the sausage, to use the old copywriting cliché
  • Value propositions – what do visitors stand to gain from buying your product?
  • Points of differentiation – what sets your product apart from the rest?
  • Trust points or signals – how can you evidence all of the above?

Let’s look at an example. This product page from Perfect Keto is a great one.

Perfect Keto product page

It ticks all of the boxes above, and combines it with a slickly-designed, well-organised layout.

But how does a category page compare? If we look at the category page for “All supplements,” not brilliantly.

Perfect Keto category page

There’s little on the page other than product, with no real content to add context or try and show why the products are unique or appealing.

In our view, this page is a great candidate to rank for the term “keto supplements.” According to Semrush, this term has pretty strong traffic (around an estimated 6.6k monthly searches in the US alone). It also has a string of transactional intent and is, most importantly, extremely relevant.

Keto supplements ranking

However, the site is currently only ranking in position 26 for this term.

Perfect Keto ranking

Interestingly, the page that is ranking here is a piece of informational content.

Of course, “keto supplements” is a competitive term. The strategy here may be to focus on informational content, as that’s what makes up the majority of the SERP, as can be seen below.

Keto supplments ranking

However, time and time again, we’ve seen well-optimised category pages achieve first page rankings for terms like this. It’s a subject we covered in our webinar, “How to Outrank Amazon.”

This is a bit of a digression, though. Let’s go back to the point at hand.

What do you need to have a better-performing category page?

Rankings aside, including all the great copy elements that are on Perfect Keto’s category pages is going to have obvious benefits for conversion and user experience. Strong points of differentiation, value propositions, etc. are only ever going to help you sell more.

But then, as we’ve touched on already, there are advantages more specific to SEO. The biggest reason we see category pages underperforming (apart from poor faceted navigation implementation, which is a subject for another day) is a lack of content.

Aleyda Solís wrote a brilliant post about this a while back. Content is needed on a category page so that Google can work out what the page is about. But, Solis says, many sites don’t “feature content at all, and if they do it, include the content at the bottom of the page as a tactic to make it relevant to the targeted queries without ‘messing’ with the featured products conversions.”

Copy optimised for the primary keyword or discovery term and supporting keywords are a must – this is kind of a no-brainer for SEO, but still important to mention.

FAQs are important, too. These are product-specific rather than service-specific, and should address any questions visitors might have about the product. They can also serve an SEO function, as they can draw in visitors who are asking search engines these queries.

Just these elements alone can have a big impact on category pages. If you haven’t been working on them, hopefully this’ll give you a steer in the right direction. We’re not saying you should write an essay at the top of every category page, but a little copy definitely helps.

If you have any questions about the above, just get in touch

Get in touch

Have a problem that Blink can help with? Let us know more about your project below and we’ll be in contact as soon as we can.