After initially auditing a website and optimising existing pages, many SEO campaigns move on to content creation, Digital PR and outreach. However, there are often some quick wins that can be had by creating new pages that better fulfill your users’ needs.
With ecommerce sites, sub-category pages are sometimes overlooked. Creating hubpages around specific product categories that you don’t already have pages dedicated to can give you many opportunities in terms of the keywords you are targeting.
Why create new ecommerce category pages?
The main reason for creating additional category and subcategory pages is that they better match a user’s search intent. When someone uses a search engine like Google, they expect to find specific information based on their query. Ecommerce category pages can be built to give users a more tailored experience. For example, if I was to search for “stainless steel kitchen door handles”, a page listing all stainless steel handles would fulfil my needs better than a page listing all door handles (including, for example, brass, copper, wooden and ceramic ones). This, in turn, means that specific ecommerce category pages tend to rank better for these specific queries than top-level category pages.
Aside from better matching searcher intent and improved UX, category-level ecommerce pages are also easier to acquire links to. Acquiring links to ecommerce sites can be tricky; this is especially the case for product pages. You can get links to product pages by sending out products to be reviewed by bloggers, but this will eat into your profit margins if you produce high value products and bloggers will often charge for publication even when they’re receiving something for free. Leveraging digital PR and producing press releases around new products can also lead to links, but it is difficult to sell this to journalists – particularly if you aren’t an already recognised brand. You can find out more about the importance of Digital PR here.
Category-level hubpages, on the other hand, will give you more opportunities in terms of link acquisition. They make sense to link to for all the reasons above and more. This is particularly the case if the category pages become useful resources in their own right. For example, you could create a category page that not only lists the products relevant to that category but also links out to useful resources you’ve created (such as in-depth FAQs or “how to” style guides), other relevant product categories, answers frequent customer questions and highlights recent blog posts pertinent to that specific product category.
Finding keywords for new categories
There are a few different ways of finding categories that your products fit into that you’re currently not utilising. These range from looking into the keywords being targeted by your competitors (check out these five tips to help your business benefit from keyword research), finding longer-tail keywords around your main terms via search suggestions, and utilising your site’s “site search” functionality.
Competitor keyword analysis
Firstly, you can analyse the categories and subcategories used by your competitors. You could do this manually by looking through their navigation. For example, if you were a retailer selling dresses for parties, you could take a look at Pretty Little Thing’s ‘party dresses’ category:
As the image above shows, they have further subcategories for other types of dresses belonging to the broader ‘party dress’ category, such as ‘evening dresses’ and ‘cocktail dresses’. For the aforementioned hypothetical dress retailer, this gives you a new list of terms that you could create category pages around.
Aside from clicking through all your competitors’ websites, crawling their site using Screaming Frog can give you similar information. Pay particular attention to the site’s folder directory structure, as this will reveal how categories and sub-categories are organised in relation to each other:
As this screenshot shows, Lark and Larks have broken all their kitchen handles into categories based on material or colour – e.g. black, chrome, copper and pewter. This, in turn, means that specific pages can be created that more accurately match the intent of the person searching.
Secondly, you can uncover potential ecommerce keywords by undertaking standard keyword research. While keyword research is a crucial part of any SEO project, it is sometimes conducted at the outset and not returned to on an ongoing basis.
However, it is worth returning to keyword research periodically to see if there are any missed opportunities. Simply entering your core product keywords into Google will give you some category-level ideas. For example, if you were selling a product like “window film”, the related searches (shown at the bottom of the SERPs) give a few ideas about potential category pages that existing products could be grouped under:
Rather than a single category page for all window film products, the suggested searches highlight the need for more specific subcategories.
There are a whole range of tools designed to extract the “searches related to” data directly from the SERPs. These free SEO tools include Ubersuggest, Keywordtool.io and the handy Keywords Everywhere chrome extension.
Finally, you can utilise site search. If you have a search function on your site then you can pull this data through into your Google Analytics reports. This will then show you how users search your site, including the search terms that they enter. For ecommerce sites, this can give you useful information about potential subcategory pages.
For example, if you find that users are using your site’s search functionality to search for particular colours, materials and so on but you don’t have individual pages catering for these keywords, then it may well be worth creating them. In the screenshot above, for example, you can see that a number of users search for keywords around “copper”, including “copper handles”. Creating a page for this specific product category would allow you to better target your content to these particular users.
If you would like some advice regarding your ecommerce website – including undertaking competitor and keyword research – then get in touch with us today. Don’t forget to check out our ecommerce case studies for clients such as Diamond Heaven, and Lark and Larks.