How to Turn WordPress Categories into Organic Landing Pages
WordPress Categories and Tags are typically only used as archive pages, listing all the blog posts within those categories or tags. But did you know that with a few smart SEO tweaks you can turn Categories into landing pages that attract lots of organic traffic?
When creating or restructuring a new WordPress blog, it’s important to have a logical content architecture in place, with well-defined categories that represent the main topics of your website. Most people would only create category pages and not pay any further attention to them as time goes by.
This is a pity because not only are categories the foundation of a website, they can also bring in a good amount of organic traffic when optimised the right way.
Real Life Examples
Let’s have a look at a few examples. My website Best Sydney Walks is mainly about walking tracks in and around Sydney. I have a WordPress category for each type of walk, such as bush walks or coastal walks.
If you go to Google AUS and search for “Sydney bush walks”, “Sydney bush walking”, “Bush walks Sydney”, or any similar key phrase, most likely you will see my bush walks category page appear in the top three. You may even spot my site in the featured snippet. Pretty awesome for a good-old WordPress category page.
The same goes for “Sydney coastal walks”, “coastal walks Sydney”, etc. My coastal walks category page pops up in the top 3 of Google.
Organic Traffic Stats
Below is a screenshot taken from Ahrefs with the top 7 keywords my coastal walks category page is ranking for. Take note of the total amount of keywords (177 in Australia!) this page is ranking for. The search volume and position columns are also interesting.
You can imagine that the organic traffic potential here is enormous. Most of these keywords are variations of one another. In other words, you can simply focus on one main keyword and the related keywords are an added bonus.
Have a look at below screenshot taken from Google Analytics covering the month of December. Total organic traffic directly to my coastal walks category page in December was 1,477. Pretty awesome for just one simple WordPress category page.
In addition, total organic traffic ending up on my bush walks category page was 1,204.
Also take note of the very low bounce rate. This makes sense because most visitors will typically click through to a blog post from a category page. And as you probably know, a low bounce rate is a positive thing from an SEO perspective.
How to Optimise a WordPress Category so That It Can Rank?
So what can you do to rank WordPress category pages high in the search engines? Simply follow the below easy steps to optimise the categories in your site.
Please note though that if you’re targeting highly competitive keywords with huge search volumes, you probably won’t end up high in the search results for your category pages. But in that case, optimising WordPress categories is still useful because it lifts up the overall quality of your website.
To implement the below tips you will need to have Yoast SEO installed.
Optimise the Titles
Just like a blog post, a category should have a good title. A title that reflects what that category is about. Make sure you define a good page title but also a good SEO title. These two can be different.
The page title is what your readers will see, and the SEO title is what Google will use to display in the search results. This SEO title will need to be optimised with the keyword you’re targeting and also needs to have an appropriate length.
For example, if your category is about Europe travel, you could set the titles as per below.
Category page title:
2. Use a Good Meta Description
Use the Yoast SEO plugin to define a good meta description for your category page. Just like blog posts deserve a description, categories do too. WordPress category pages are real pages within your site and should be treated as such.
You can use the meta description to describe what the category is about and you can use it to include a few keywords you would like the page to ultimately rank for.
3. Add a Solid Introduction
This is often the most neglected part of a WordPress category page. Most category pages you’ll find on the web have no introduction content. It’s typically just a title followed by a list of blog posts.
This is a missed opportunity. You should treat the content part of a category page the same way as you would treat a blog post. Perhaps not as many words, but you should still include a structured piece of content, with paragraphs, headers, images, etc. if you really want that category page to rank in the search engines.
Depending on the type of category, you could also add a bullet list to format a top 10. I did this for the above mentioned category pages. Not only did this improve the rankings, it also earned me the featured snippet for some keywords.
You should also add a few internal links in the introduction, and ideally also one external link pointing to a reputable website.
Create Links to Category Pages
Internal linking is a very effective SEO strategy as you can use this to tell the search engines that certain pages play an important role within your website.
So make sure that you create a few links from blog posts to the category pages they belong to. Links from the home page to category pages will benefit too.
Author Bio: AJ Mens moved to Sydney from Europe in 2007 and has since spent countless weekends exploring this beautiful city. AJ shares his outdoor Sydney adventures on his website Best Sydney Walks, Sydney’s leading online guide to the best walking tracks and sights in and around Sydney. AJ also shares blogging tips over at Blog Pioneer, a website dedicated to helping others achieve financial success online.
Get to know more about Best Sydney Walks and Blog Pioneer on the brand page.
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