As is the case with most eCommerce companies, category pages are among their most important destinations. Given their prominent status in the eCommerce website hierarchy, these high-priority pages often pull in searches for short-head, high-volume keywords.
However, this does not mean that they are automatically optimized for SERP rankings. In fact, the situation is quite the contrary.
In the world of eCommerce, search engine optimization is a preeminent strategy for scaling a business. This fact becomes evident when one realizes that 39 percent of all global traffic comes from search.
Given this information, it is critical to optimize category pages as these destinations naturally target many keywords that consumers search. That said, these pages tend to contain the least content, thereby making them difficult to optimize for some.
While optimizing product pages for SEO performance is also a critical task, it often overshadows category-level content, leaving a gaping hole in a brand’s search strategy.
Yet, by utilizing specific tactics, retailers can help to elevate these pages in the SERPs, thereby increasing their traffic and potentially earning more conversions overall.
Take a look at Southern Tide’s category pages for their jackets and vests:
Ready to get your content pages to top Google? Read on.
When establishing optimization strategies for category pages, it is essential to understand that consumers are far more likely to search category-like keywords rather than precise product names.
For instance, if shoppers are in the market for a new pair of headphones, they are likely to search terms like “wireless headphones” with the potential inclusion of a specific brand or retailer. This scenario is far more likely than consumers searching “Bose SoundSport Wireless In-Ear Headphones.”
Besides, more specific searches (such as the example mentioned above) are the job of product pages, not category pages.
Therefore, retailers should conduct keyword research that aligns with the products sold within a category or collection to understand the terms that buyers are searching and apply to the page in later steps. Moreover, when using the words on said pages, it is vital to only direct those keywords to the page that it relates to in order to avoid keyword cannibalization issues.
Look how many possible keywords are used in one of Refrigiwear’s category pages:
That said, when handling the research, sellers will have to go beyond short-head terms. While such keywords are undeniably crucial, the fact is that long-tail keywords still drive the majority of purchases as these phrases tend to show strong user intent and usually reside lower in the sales funnel.
When optimizing category pages, the natural starting point is its header tags. In the page’s H1, utilize the primary keyword that is likely to draw in customers. This is vital real estate as a page’s header helps search engines and users to understand what a destination is all about.
Unfortunately, this is where category search engine optimization effort usually ends for most merchants. One of the biggest problems that retailers face regarding their category pages is that they only show products.
While products are certainly the star of the show on such pages, category pages that are not designed to house content severely limit optimization opportunities.
Therefore, one of the easiest ways to help elevate a category page’s optimization potential is to build these destinations in a way that allows for content to be added. This content will usually take the form of a small block of introductory text.
With an introductory section, retailers can utilize various short-head and long-tail keywords that were determined to be valuable during the keyword research process. However, be sure that the copy flows smoothly, naturally and avoids any keyword stuffing. Failure to heed this warning could result in lower rankings within Google and other search engines.
For merchants who aren’t copywriting experts, it may be wise to partner with an eCommerce SEO company that can make the most out of this real estate.
Finally, within the text, merchants can include internal links to related subcategories, as well.
However, it should be noted that this space is not solely reserved for SEO purposes. Introductory text on category pages gives sellers an opportunity to show off their brand’s personality. After all, a distinct persona can help retailers move merchandise and cultivate customer loyalty.
For instance, shoe retailer Famous Footwear boasts on their men’s shoes category page:
“We’re the work boots you pull on every morning and the slippers you can’t wait to slide into at night. We’re the oxfords you wore on your second interview and the chukka boots you wore on your first date. We’re the men’s running shoes that helped push you to the finish line (all the training paid off!). We’re the basketball shoes you lace up when you shoot hoops with the guys and the sports shoes that help you chase your kids around the park.”
While this is only a snippet from the page’s much lengthier text, in this paragraph, the brand not only shows off its identity, but it also forms a connection with the customer with the continual usage of “we’re.” Moreover, the company also links to a variety of subcategories with anchor terms like “chukka boots,” “slippers,” “running shoes” and other relevant keywords.
That said, the links that merchants include on their category page need not be limited to those of other subcategories.
Content is the bedrock of all SEO efforts. With that in mind, it is possible to utilize such materials to elevate category pages in the SERPs.
Ames Walker does a fantastic job of putting content on their category pages:
While it is essential to devise an interlinking strategy as it relates to category, subcategory and product pages, employing content to achieve a deeper level of interlinking can be extremely valuable.
Given that category pages sit near the top of a site’s hierarchy, these destinations benefit more from internal linking than other, deeper pages. Therefore, retail sites can potentially earn greater visibility by using categories as pillars to create content around.
To achieve this, begin by asking what solutions are intrinsically tied to each category or collection. Moreover, establish what category-related information users would seek out during the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Brainstorm how to develop useful, valuable, educational or entertaining content related to each category.
Taking things to the next step, do the same for the consideration and decision phases as well. After uncovering some pain points and potential topics, it is wise to go back for another round of keyword research to build an effective eCommerce content marketing strategy.
The content itself should showcase the category of products and naturally weave category page links into the content as, from an SEO perspective, this is the core purpose of the materials. However, the links must be natural and actually useful in the context of the piece. Otherwise, these efforts will merely seem like product peddling.
When it comes to linking, it isn’t just internal links that are useful in enhancing a category page’s SERP performance.
As far as search engine ranking factors are concerned, backlinks are still one of the most heavily weighted components.
Therefore, eCommerce retailer’s content marketing efforts should not end with crafting on-site materials, but also extend to pitching articles and blogs that relate–and link to–category pages.
When a brand gets mentioned by other sites, those destinations tend to either link to the company’s homepage or a specific product page. This leaves a massive gap where category pages are concerned.
Take a look at this article about Tiege Hanley where they get linked to their site in the opening sentence:
Given this dynamic, merchants should work to make connections and pitch pieces that place category and subcategory pages at the center of the message while linking to the relevant destinations.
For instance, if sellers take the time to build truly memorable and unique category pages, they can pitch their creation story and lessons learned to a marketing company that is likely to publish a roundup post on great category pages. Moreover, merchants can even offer to pen the piece (so to speak), thereby giving themselves more creative control over the message and the included link(s) while also earning a byline.
In many ways, category pages are the heart of eCommerce websites. Therefore, retailers should pay considerable attention to how these destinations are structured and optimized for providing the best customer experience and SEO outcomes.
Given the amount of traffic that these pages can attract through the implementation of the tactics listed above, any seller who fails to utilize these pages to the fullest is doing their site a disservice.
Implement the strategies outlined here to help your site’s category pages climb the SERPs, generate more traffic and earn substantially more sales through their newfound visibility.
12 Tools and Resources for Software Developers in Insurance
If a developer designs a system for Big Data analysis or creates programs for processing and analyzing application data for mobile gadgets, in any case he cannot do without analytics tools and services. Big Data is understood as the basis of the business of insurance companies that depend on information, that is, probabilities, statistical data, customer information, and so on.
Today, for programmers whose responsibilities include insurance software development, many useful tools have been created that are suitable for their needs and corresponding to their skills.
TOP-12 tools for programmers of insurance companies
Every developer who works on coding for insurance products will need the following 12 “helpers”:
- BitDeli. It is a startup that has been operating since November 2021. With its help, programmers are able to analyze various data using a variety of metrics through Python scripts. An important plus of it is that the scripts can be of different levels of complexity, which will depend on the needs of the developers. They can even be self-taught. Suitable for analytics. The solution is easy to use.
- Continuity. It is a platform that was created with the aim of pulling businesses to the same level as the companies of its creators – Yahoo and Facebook. The guys created a data structure to implement a new level of abstraction over complex connections in HBase and Hadoop. The main advantage of the platform is the facilitation of Big Data development processes for programs that are designed to work with external and internal audiences.
- Flurry. This application is in the “store” format, which is intended for the creation of mobile programs, as well as for the analysis of their data. This allows the application to be improved.
- Google Prediction API. Suitable for developers who have the necessary knowledge to work with the Prediction API. This interface will provide a wide range of diagrams and topics, and will also allow the application to give correct answers.
- Infochimps. We are talking about a platform, despite the fact that the brand today is trying to become a company and become even more successful. As for the platform for the programmer, he gets the Wukong framework, which has a key task – to interact with Hadoop and its data, while using Ruby scripts.
- Keen IO. In 2012, this tool was recognized as the best and most effective in its category, and it is used in analytics by mobile application developers. Its plus lies in its ease of use. You need to apply just one line, which is inserted into the source code to be able to track all the necessary information from the programs.
- Kontagent. A tool for processing huge amounts of information.
- Mortar Data. It is a cloud service that has managed to replace MapReduce with a combination of Python and Pig. It differs in simplicity and clarity in operation.
- Placed Analytics. A tool that provides programmers with ready-made products. With its help, it is possible to obtain complete information about the use of the application by customers: where, when and how long it lasted. The data is especially useful for app owners and advertisers.
- Precog. It is an interactive environment for developing insurance analytics products based on Quirrel, an open query language.
- Spring for Apache Hadoop. A tool that greatly simplifies the creation of programs that use Hadoop, and also provides integration with other Spring applications.
- StatsMix. It is a tool with which developers can collect and analyze data received from programs using only the languages they have learned.
Take a look at the Fireart site for more interesting and useful information. The main thing to remember is that analytics not only assesses the quality of traffic, looks for ways to increase conversion and reduces the cost of attracting customers, but also determines the most effective advertising channels, compiles portraits of visitors and their behavior patterns on sites, identifies site shortcomings up to technical errors.
From Creation to Stellar ROI
Reaching the right customers with your Google Ads campaigns is critical to increase conversions. While it’s possible that scattershot advertisements could catch the interest of Internet users, it’s far more likely that this general ad approach will result in a disconnect between dollars spent and sales made.
To help ensure your ads are reaching the people in the right place, it’s worth leveraging a function in the Google Display Network (GDN) known as affinity audiences. Using these audiences helps pinpoint customer segments that may be more likely to purchase your products, in turn driving more effective and efficient ad spend.
But what exactly is an affinity audience? How do they work, how can you create your own — and what can you expect once you dial in the ideal customer segment? Let’s find out.
What are Affinity Audiences?
Affinity audiences are used by the Google Display Network to deliver your ads to relevant locations online. Given that Google’s network reaches more than 90 percent of Internet users worldwide, it’s well worth the time and effort to understand and apply these audiences at scale.
But what is an affinity audience?
Let’s break the term down into its component parts. Audience is easy — it’s the group of people that will see your ad. Affinity, meanwhile, is defined as “a feeling of closeness and understanding that someone has for another person because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests.” The result? An affinity audience is a group of potential customers that share similar interests or qualities (similar to a buyer persona).
Using affinity audiences allows your brand to better align ad campaigns to buyers who are interested in what you have to sell. For example, if you’re in the coffee-making business but also have a focus on reducing plastic waste, your affinity audience might contain both people who love coffee and those who love the environment. Groups with both of these qualities are far more likely to buy your product than either group individually.
Affinity targeting, meanwhile, is the process of identifying the ideal affinities that align with your product or service. Consider the coffee example above. While targeting buyers who love coffee helps improve your brand placement, it also puts you in direct competition with a host of other brands all producing similar products. Additional affinity modifiers that narrow your focus — such as sustainable growth processes, fair labor practices, or environmental priorities — can help set your brand apart.
Do note that it is possible to get too specific with your audience targeting. For example, if your coffee brand targets audiences that prefer beans from a specific region that are collected, packed, and shipped in a specific way, you may end up with a handful of very loyal customers but almost no broader appeal. As a result, targeting needs to narrow the focus without preventing you from reaching the greater public.
What are Custom Audiences?
GDN and the Google Ads platform contain a host of pre-built Google affinity audiences — also called segments — that you can use to focus your marketing and advertisements. These include everything from pet lovers to do-it-yourselfers, TV comedy fans and users with an interest in news and politics.
But they can’t cover everything. You may have a product or service that doesn’t dovetail with existing segments — here, custom affinity audiences can help.
Understanding Custom Affinity Audiences
Custom affinity audiences are those you create yourself in your Google Ads platform to align with the interests of your target customer base. While Google will suggest different potential segment tags depending on what you input, it’s worth taking the time to do some market research before diving into the custom affinity process. This lets you pinpoint the audience preferences that align best with your brand.
You can create custom affinity audiences related to four criteria: Interests, URLs, places, or applications. In general, places and applications are the least useful of the bunch. Here’s why. In our coffee example above, there aren’t a lot of coffee-related applications that would set your audience apart. And while geography has some impact on buying behavior, it’s usually not enough to justify an entire segment.
Interests and URLs, meanwhile, can help you dig down and identify potential affinity options that may be shared by your target market at large.
How to Create Affinity Audiences
Ready to create your own affinity audience? Follow these steps:
- Log into your Google Ads account.
- Select “Tools and Settings”, then “Audience manager.”
- Select “Custom Segments.”
- Enter segment name and interests.
- Save your new segment.
Let’s tackle each step in more detail.
1. Log Into Your Google Ads Account
First, log into your Google Ads account. Here, you can see any active campaigns along with the associated affinity audiences.
2. Select “Tools and Settings”, then “Audience Manager”
Next, head to “tools and settings” in the upper-right-hand corner and then find “Audience manager” in the drop-down menu.
3. Select “Custom Segments”
Now you’ll see a list of any data segments you’re currently using to target prospective buyers. To create an audience or segment, click on “Custom Segments” and then the blue “+” icon.
4. Enter Segment Name and Interests
Now, give your segment a name and add a few potential interests. For example, if you enter “coffee”, Google will return interests or purchase intention ideas such as “coffees to make with an espresso machine”, “how to make coffee with coffee beans” and “coffee makers that make different coffees.”
5. Save Your New Segment
Finally, save your new segment with use for ad campaigns. You can create as many segments as you like until you’ve covered all relevant market bases.
The Impact of Effective Affinity Audiences
Ideally, affinity audiences lead to a definitive result: Increased ROI.
Here’s why: When your ads are shown to audiences that are interested in what you’re selling, they’re more likely to click through and purchase your products. As a result, the money you spend on advertising is directly offset by the conversions driven by these ads, in turn creating positive ROI. More generic campaigns, meanwhile, may still increase overall sales but not enough to balance out the spend required to reach larger audiences.
The right audience makes all the difference. Targeted, customized affinity audiences help you reach the people that want to buy your products, in turn boosting conversions and making your overall ad spend more cost-effective. Custom affinity audiences further narrow your market targeting, increasing the likelihood of revenue and reducing the gap between what you spend on ads and what you get in return.
The HubSpot Blog’s 2022 Social Media Marketing Report: Data from 310 Marketers
In our recent Marketing Trends survey, we learned that social media is the most effective channel marketers leverage, as well as the channel they use most.
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