After doing so many parts’ SEO optimization, we find that WordPress category page and tag page SEO are those parts that easily make users feel confused. Therefore, the question comes here! Many users do not understand what roles these pages are acting in their SEO for websites, and of course they do not know how these pages impact their SEO efforts.
In below article, we are to figure out the confusion for you and make sense the difference between the category pages and tag pages. After that, we are to talk about what you need to think about and when to optimize your WordPress for the maximum SEO effort.
About the Role of Category Pages
The category pages can help you put your different articles together, acting like the main blog page. Differently, they only display your article from each particular category. When you are editing new articles, you need to choose the categories to add them into at least one category, because by default pages do not have this choice.
If you are using a well-optimized WordPress theme, you will find that the breadcrumbs include the category that includes the article showing on that page. You can check out the image in below:
In majority, category pages share the same layouts with the same sidebar, widgets, and the same templates as the post. It mostly depends on what themes you are using. Generally, the category pages or Archive pages only display the posts’ titles, introductions, and images. Besides, it could show the paging at the bottom so that you can easily navigate through archives.
When users think about the blog structure as well as the navigation, to group the posts in categories and display them on the main menu are the most common practices you should come up with. Here we will show you the typical website structure as following:
Category Pages & SEO
Form SEO prospective, we see that category pages encounter some issues, and duplicate content is just one of those. You must know that the category pages can only how the general excerpts of your articles but do not display any unique and special content which has already been available on each individual post page.
Because of this, Google prefer to choose a page or a post from you site rather than you category pages. The character of category pages make harder for them to get higher rankings in all search engine results.
However, there is still one case that category pages might show in the search results. If your site includes many related pages to one of your category pages while your SEO structure for the site is such, then Google is much more likely to choose that category page over the post pages.
What Kind of Category pages are Good to SEO?
In your blog or the corporate sits, those category pages are mainly used to assist users navigate the website so that they can quickly and easily find their objects. Well, SEO wise, these category pages do not serve other purposes.
Nevertheless, supposed that you have a travel website or a services website, the category pages in these websites will serve as the landing pages. Moreover, those category pages are important to SEO as well. Here we will show you an example to explain it.
Supposed that you run a property rental website that is showcasing your villas available for rent in different places of China. In that case you should have the category pages for these main locations i.e. ‘Villas in Beijing’, ‘Villas in Shanghai’ and so on. Besides, each individual page is specific for each individual villa, such as ‘Villa Judy – Middle Villa for Rent in Beijing’, ‘Villa Lily – 4 Bedroom Villa in Shanghai’ and etc.
When there are users searching for ‘Villas in Beijing’, you should need them to land on the category page, which can make them get the information of all villas available in different places, instead of landing on individual location pages.
However, generally Google choose the individual pages rather than category pages because the individual pages contain more valuable and unique information. At this circumstance, what you can do to fix it?
How to Handle This Issue?
Actually, it is as hard as you think to fix it. You can do a number of practices to get your category pages appearing in Google search result pages.
First, you should make your category pages include unique titles as well as descriptions. This can be done with the configuration of your category pages’ title and description by adding the values to those relevant fields offered by your current theme. If you are just using Yoast SEO, you can take advantages of its category setting, which is easy.
Next, as to the issue of having not unique content on your category pages, you can add some paragraphs, picked up from the text, to the category pages’ description. Those paragraphs you choose are normally displayed at the top of the post page, but it is not absolute. Your theme will decide it.
If you do the two steps very well, then you can make your category pages having useful descriptions and unique titles.
After these two steps, you need to check out whether there are pages enabled for the category pages or not. If that, you need to ensure the all the subsequent pages have the canonical URLs which point to the 1st page to explain the details.
Advanced SEO and Category Pages
We need to tell you that even though you have done the steps above very well, the issues that Google prefers single post page over the category pages still remains. Therefore, you have to do more.
There you need enabled breadcrumbs on your site, and make sure your breadcrumb menu links are all clickable and include proper schema. Now, we are to show you the instance, property rental site, we have taken before. When a visitor view one the villa pages, it should be like this:
Home > Villas in Beijing > Villa Judy
The breadcrumb menu of ‘Villas in Beijing’ should link to category page.
And then, you should add the internal links into individual pages pointing to the category pages that use the right anchor text. Within the example, you need edit Villa Judy description as well as add the link to assist visitors navigate back to the category page of ‘Villas in Beijing’. These internal links you just added can help Google recognizes that the category pages are more important than individual pages and have better guides to visitor navigating your property rental site.
Finally, you need to examine that you do not confuse Google by editing category pages’ titles included in individual pages’ titles. So, do not edit this for your title, “Villas in Beijing – Villa Judy for Rent.”
Remember that when you are editing individual page’s title, you need include some details related to the unique features, text content for the villa, but never choose the words about the category.
About Tag Pages
Once you add the values to the tag of posts, then WordPress will create pages for those tags. You can see the tag’s URL is like this: http://www.yourexample.com/tag/tag-name.
Tag pages actually act like the category pages very similarly, because they both can group posts together. Besides, tag pages usually share the same templates as the categories (archive pages) as well.
Differently, tag pages will not appear in menu till you add them specifically. Just like we said before, tag pages act like category pages, so they also have the same characteristics that only include the general content instead of unique content. It means that tag pages cannot make Google be interested in, either.
In most cases, tag pages are often used to aid visitor navigation only. What’s more, when you are editing tag pages, you might find that the tag pages could include the same title as the category pages or sometimes same as post, too. It is really not good to SEO effort. So, to make tag pages more functional, you need do some SEO practices to make your tags more unique and more interesting.
We have viewed many cases on customers’ sites where the tag pages are shown in SERPS but not the main pages. It is bad for visitor’s experience for a company’s presentation in search results.
Best Tag Page SEO Practices
As far as we know, “noindex” tag pages and “nofollow” tag pages are the best SEO practices for tag pages. The two kinds of practices can make Google and any other search engine not take these pages into account while they are indexing your site. It also can save your time and make the site more optimized.
In addition to that, you can exclude these pages from the sitemap as well. However, if you still want Google to index these tag pages because of the importance of them, you need to use them carefully in your pages, while avoiding including too many tags acting as link on every page.
About the methods to nofollow and noindex tag pages, they all depend on the plugins or theme you use. for Genesis Framework or those child themes, it is very easy to make the practices. Find SEO SETTINGS and choose the “Apply noindex to Tag Archives” option. You can understand by checking out the image below:
For Yoast SEO, it is easy, too. Go and find the settings under TAXONOMIES.
On WordPress, if you want to exclude the tags from sitemap, you can make the configuration in XML SITEMAPS > TAXONOMIES, and then choose not to include tags in your sitemap.
Category pages and tag pages are displayed by default on WordPress websites. So, many users easily ignore them when doing SEO practices. However, they indeed have negatively impact on SEO efforts. Building a SEO optimized WordPress websites, you cannot forget them anymore. Reading and following our guides above, you can have a try on them and finally make it.
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