Do people browse the blog category listings on your website? Probably not, but that’s ok.
Read more about this on the post at FeverBee that inspired this episode.
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A short post over on FeverBee last week about categories got me thinking, and I tend to agree with what they said. In short, their post says that almost no one browses through blog post categories on websites, and more often search or find posts in other ways. While they have no stats to support that, I think they’re probably right.
There are a few takeaways here.
First, you should indeed have a search box on your site. It’s a good way for user to find content, and it’s easy for you to track those search queries in Google Analytics and see what people are looking for to help you to help you craft better content.
Second, though, is that categories can help with SEO. People may not click on them from your home page, but they might be taken directly to them through search. Of course, this depends on your site and strategy, but category pages can often rank pretty well in Google search. We talked about some best practices for this back in episode 88, and how you should add some unique content to the top of your category pages. If you have a category page all about “red widgets”, that has a title for “red widgets”, some solid content at the top about “red widgets”, and then a bunch of posts listed on the page all about “red widgets”, Google will probably appreciate that page.
As often is the case, quality is key here. Don’t create 200 categories with keywords and cross your fingers. Be careful, deliberate, and add value to those pages if you want them to rank well.
There are cases where you should ignore your categories and perhaps even hide them from Google, but in most cases you’re best off to make your categories into amazing pages — even if no one browses to them from your home page.