Content is a huge factor in both SEO and website conversions, but how do you incorporate it into your categories without pushing the products down, spamming the page for the search engines or taking away from the user experience?
Below you’ll find a few layouts which may work for you and if they don’t, they work as a starting point to find a format or style that can. Some of them are “spammy” but what you may be able to get approved (they’ll be marked as spammy) or that may apply in specific situations. Others are ways many companies haven’t thought of. If you have another layout you like, feel free to mention it or share an image of it in the comments section below.
Far Right Column
In the layout below you’ll see an option that isn’t used much, probably because many people haven’t thought of it. What I really like about this style is that you get the copy into the body text of the page (where it should be in theory) so it isn’t hidden and you can also provide value.
Take your product grid and if it is 4 or 5 columns, think about replacing one column or a partial column of product and adding a content block into the far right or left column. If it’s a brand in your store, you can now talk about the brand a bit. If it’s filled with a specific product, go over the specs, how its used or other things based on search queries. If it’s something dedicated to a person, give some history of the person and incorporate the products into it. There are numerous ways to naturally add the the user experience, explain the benefits of the products or service and make the search engines happy with this layout.
Category Blocks for Navigation With a Few Lines of Text Under Each
This is one of my personal favorites. It adds easier navigation for consumers through sites with a lot of sub categories and helps you easily get at least a few hundred words higher up on a category page in an organic way.
Start by having a small content block above the fold and then instead of using a leader board or going straight to products, show the next level of categories. Now add a short two or three line description of what the person will find if they click through. This also gives you a good opportunity to add a keyword rich internal link into the category page to go downwards and pass authority.
Top and Bottom
This is what we see the most. I do not recommend it, but am normally stuck with it as my only option. It is where you do some copy at the top and then add some at the bottom. If this is what you have to work with, your best bet is to be descriptive about the products on the page and how to use the page. In the lower section you’ll want to go into anything that is directly relevant and can provide value to the person on the page. I consider this one spammy, but many sites use it so proceed with caution and push for better options when you can.
Note: This is not the footer but still in the body section of the page. You should never add and stuff copy into the footer of your site. That is just stupid. If someone has recommended that, fire them instantly.
Read More Accordions and Tabs
Accordions, expansions and tabs have all been labeled as spammy and bad for SEO, with good reason. They are exactly that. Spammy. But with mobile first coming, Google employees have said publicly that read more and expansions may be ok in certain situations, but move forward with caution because this is more than likely going to be retracted as people begin to abuse it. It is only on mobile and when the copy would hinder UX.
Do not start to use accordions everywhere. It also doesn’t mean use a small or hidden read more symbols. It means you need a big old, vegas-styled flashing sign that screams click here for more copy. If you don’t have a mobile version, then you shouldn’t use this either. I did a giant post about mobile first and mobile SEO here. You should also prepare to remove the accordion and have a backup plan if or when Google takes back saying that it is ok to do. If you have tabs for content, make sure you also make them crawlable and not hidden, stuffed or spammy.
Under Each Product
This one is interesting but branding people and website owners hate it. Under each product add in a couple lines of text about the product. If you have 12 products in your grid and you add 20 words, that is immediately an additional 240 words. Most sites can handle 20 to 40 words easy. Combine that with a few lines of text at the top and you’re probably a bit more content rich in an organic way than your competitors.
With Categories, Products And Sales
This is another one I like a lot. It’s a fusion of multiple versions from above. Add a text block to the top of the category page to introduce what the person will find and how to use it. Next have a couple of larger images that show the main subcategories of the page and to the right show a featured deal or sale.
Under each of these you’ll be able to add a few lines of text. Now you can go to your product grid. If you want to go a bit more crazy, add a few more lines of text above the products, but that is getting a bit carried away.
As you can see there are a ton of ways to get content into the page to help make them better for the search engines and your website visitors/customers. The trick is getting the rest of your company on board with that. If you’d like me to help or give you some of the pitches I’ve used, fill out my contact form and lets connect. If you found this useful, I’d love a few shares or a comment below.
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