We frequently come across websites with entirely mismanaged category and tag structures. Overusing tags and categories can have negative effects on even major news websites. A taxonomy system includes things like tags and categories. An effective taxonomy system can improve the SEO of your website when applied properly. The inverse is also true: if utilized improperly, it will cause damage. The importance of those pages and how to use them are covered in detail in this article. Category archives will serve as our main example. Read up on taxonomy SEO here!
Landing pages are archives by category and tags
We organize information on our website using category and tag archives, and SEO relies heavily on them. Despite the fact that WordPress employs both of these taxonomies to classify information together, their use calls for different approaches. In contrast to tags, which let you classify information by topic, categories help you give your pages a structure. But you should be cautious when using tags, and you shouldn't just keep adding new ones to every page you make. Learn more about using tags correctly or the distinctions between tags and categories by reading up on these topics.
The importance of categories and tags might sometimes outweigh that of your individual pages and posts, especially for eCommerce sites. Consider that your internet shop sells shoes. Sneakers, loafers, and other shoe categories could exist on your website. You should undoubtedly attempt to rank for terms like "sneakers" or "loafers" rather than only for the individual pairs of shoes you offer. Naturally, you may sell a pair of shoes that is particularly popular and for which you want to be found, but most people search for more general phrases, so you want to make sure that they can locate you. If so, those category archives, which serve as landing pages, need to appear as the first result in the search engines. Therefore, they ought to offer the best user experience possible.
This is true to a greater extent the more likely it is for your individual pages to expire. Your categories are particularly crucial if your website doubles as an online store with changing merchandise. Your categories are especially crucial if your website is a job listing site where jobs expire. Otherwise, you'll be optimizing sites that will be obsolete in a few weeks or months.
Individual pages are unable to compete due to taxonomy SEO
The likelihood of your individual pages expiring increases the likelihood that this is true. If your website doubles as an online store with constantly-changing inventory, your categories are very important. If your website is a job listing site with expiring jobs, the categories you use are very important. Aside from that, you'll be optimizing websites that will be out of date in a few weeks or months. Consider how much text you include on your product pages and whether doing so is still in the best interests of your customers.
No matter what kind of website you have, this is true. When you optimize this page, your tag or category for that topic may rank #1 in the search results if your site is a blog and you produce multiple posts on a particular subject. Don't overoptimize your individual product pages; instead, start with that one.
Archives for categories and breadcrumbs
In this kind of setup, breadcrumbs are crucial. Every item should have a link back to the closest category. This not only demonstrates to Google the layout of your website but also reinforces the authority of the category page on the main subject.
If the category's subject enhances the value of the product or post, having the URL structure mirror the category may be helpful. But be careful: if your site already exists, don't change the URL structure. The advantages of modifying the structure outweigh the "cost" of redirecting all those URLs. It would be much better to simply use the breadcrumbs feature that our Yoast SEO plugin provides.
How to design outstanding taxonomy pages?
Describe the category
Having some code snippets to examine and use as examples can be useful. In-depth and filled with useful code samples, our tutorial on WordPress archive pages is available here.
Despite being extremely valuable, taxonomy archives frequently go unappreciated. Although adding information to the page can be useful, you want the attention to be on the goods or items that are being showcased there. Nevertheless, you ought to be selective about the material you include. Prior to this, it was advised to place the remaining information at the bottom of the page and just add a little amount of introductory material to the top. However, it is now obvious that doing so will just confuse search engines and lower your page's results.
What sort of content should you include on your taxonomy page?
Consider truly delving into the queries that consumers have regarding your products when it comes to your category pages. Then use the answers to those queries to produce content that helps your category pages. Content that explains why customers are in the optimal location to buy these products and dispels any lingering questions about the goods or their application. Your sales will increase as a result of this user-centered approach, and search engines will understand the purpose of these sites. which is beneficial to your rankings.
Being strategic with your content addition is important when discussing tag pages. A good rule of thumb is to constantly keep the website visitor in mind. What would they want to read here, and how can your page be tailored to meet their needs? Making ensuring a person doesn't bounce when they arrive at one of your taxonomy pages depends greatly on having the appropriate material there. In addition to serving as a centre, a strong archive page should entice users to explore more of your website rather than less of it.
Tag and category duplication
Duplicate tags and categories on websites are a related problem that we frequently see. You shouldn't have a tag for "bathing suits" when you have a category for them. How will Google determine which one to rank first if you do?
The same rule applies to singular and plural forms; an article shouldn't fall within the "shirt" and "shirts" categories. The tags "WordPress plugin" and "WordPress plugins" shouldn't be used on a post. There shouldn't be one of those. For all of your category and tag terms, choose single or plural and stick with it.
Tools with which Taxonomy SEO can be implemented
1. The Grid
We're really excited about the possibilities offered by The Grid plugin, which is included with the X/Pro Theme as mentioned below. It encourages us to have a totally fresh perspective on taxonomy SEO.
We may apply a range of advanced filters to The Grid to collect any kind of content. Here is an easy illustration from a Product Page on our website: Content Plan for Bathroom Renovation. The Grid was used to fetch these Related Products with a lovely layout once we developed a Product Category for Home Improvement. The only thing that could be done to make this better is to remove "Bathroom Remodel" from these Related Products as that is the Product Page we're looking at.
2. X/Pro Theme Framework
You may get most of the way there by utilizing Themeco's X and Pro Themes. The Meta title, Meta description, page title, and page subtitle can all be changed for each taxonomy page. The Description, which is distinct from the Meta Description, is not displayed by default, thus it could need some specific coding to render and appear correctly. An illustration of how X/Pro offers a nearly comprehensive solution to taxonomy SEO is our tag on "community". What's lacking is a 200-word description that appears above the posts with the keyword "community" and below the page title and subtitle.
For further ideas on how to use X/Pro as a workaround, including constructing custom pages with widgets that bring in content based on Category/Tag, see the comments section below.
3. Thesis Theme Framework
Some themes and theme frameworks, like Thesis by DIY Themes, come with built-in Category and Tag optimization. The introductory fields are referred to in the Thesis as "Archive Title" and "Archive Content" correspondingly. The thesis also excels at another task: it makes it simple to add rich text, photos, and other elements by turning on HTML in these fields (which is not enabled by default). Nevertheless, the Thesis does not seem to be updated or maintained in any way, thus we advise against using it.
4. Plugin to allow HTML in category descriptions
You might need to allow HTML if you can set up the introductory fields but they won't format properly. At least for Categories, there is a plugin that solves this nicely.
Try out the WordPress repository's Allow HTML in Category Descriptions plugin by downloading it. The plugin hasn't been updated in a while, so keep that in mind. If we locate a plugin that supports this feature, we'll update this article.
5. WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
If you use anything for search engine optimization, it's very possible that you're utilizing the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, which has thirty billion downloads and instals on six million planets throughout the Milky Way. This simply takes you a little step toward effectively applying taxonomy SEO.
Yoast WordPress SEO provides you with the following very crucial fields when updating a Category or Tag:
SEO Heading (or Meta Title)
Description for SEO (or Meta Description)
Canonical (for setting the correct URL for indexing)
Noindex This Class (changed to index when properly optimized)
Embedding in Sitemap (should be set to Always Include when properly optimized)
The introductory title and content, which are so important for producing a high-quality informational page, are not provided by this plugin. As a result, we are not quite where we want to be.
6. Plugin for Showing Archive Descriptions
The Show Archive Descriptions plugin had a lot of potentials, but it was still in the very early stages of development. In fact, it hasn't been updated since 2008 as of 2022! However, it demonstrates the capabilities we need.
The Sidebar widget has to be eliminated, the Category and Tag title setup need to be separated out, and the CSS needs to be pared down but changeable. Having said that, one piece of the puzzle we're trying to solve is having the Description appear on Archive sites.
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