7 Tips for Better Product Categories Featured.jpg

7 Tips for Better Product Categories

On most e-commerce websites, a lot of thought goes into product pages, and rightly so. But unfortunately, with such a heavy focus on product pages, many businesses end up overlooking the product category pages, which are arguably just as important as the product pages themselves.

Today, I hope to help you get your product category pages right.

How to build better product categories for your online store

#1. Make your parent categories selectable

The right product category hierarchy should include broader parent categories, as well as more specific subcategories. This makes it easier for your customers to find what they need, regardless of where they’re at in the sales funnel.

Let’s say that you are selling dresses. Someone who is further along in the sales funnel will be more in the know about the type of dress they’re looking for, so subcategories, like “A-Line Dresses,” “Sun Dresses” or “Skater Dresses,” will help them narrow down their options and find exactly what they’re looking for.

But, not all of your customers will know what kind of dress they want, and they may just want to browse through all of your dresses to see what you have to offer. These are the type of shoppers who will want to look through the broader “Dresses” category. By making that category clickable — rather than just making it a label — you can make it possible for them to do so.

#2. Don’t be tempted to get too creative with category names

There’s plenty of room on your website for creativity, but there are certain places where thinking outside the box can negatively impact your user experience. One of those is absolutely your product category names.

Let’s say that you’re selling glasses on your e-commerce website, and your sunglasses category is named “Shades.” This might seem like a cute, fun way to categorize your sunglasses, but it could also confuse your shoppers, or lead people to your website who are looking for window coverings.

As boring as it may seem to use straightforward language in your product categories, it’s an important part of providing your visitors with a better user experience and helps people find exactly what they are looking for.

#3. Don’t be afraid to add the same subcategory under multiple parent categories

Your subcategories don’t have to be limited to a single parent category. If a subcategory fits well and makes sense under multiple parent categories, don’t be afraid to put it under multiple parent categories.

The goal of your website is to make it as easy as possible for people to find what they’re looking for, and if there are multiple paths that they may take to find a subcategory, it’s important to make those paths clear and available to them.

Let’s say someone is shopping for a tinted sunscreen, and the categories available are, “Beauty,” “Pharmacy” and “Skincare.” Tinted sunscreen could easily fit in all of these categories, but if you only include it under “Skincare,” it will make it harder to find for customers who may think to look under “Pharmacy” or “Beauty.”

#4. Allow for filters and faceted navigation.

Faceted navigation makes it possible for your shoppers to search for the exact products they are looking for by filtering and sorting by specific product attributes. These attributes include things, like color, size, material, brand, etc.

Faceted navigation is great for the user experience, because it allows people to essentially do a custom search of your products, but it can have consequences for SEO (search engine optimization). That’s because faceted navigation leads to the creation of lots and lots of URLs and duplicate content. It also wastes more of Google’s crawl budget.

Luckily, you can fix this issue easily by using no-index tags to tell Google which pages not to crawl. You can also use robots.txt, which tells Google what pages to look at and what not to, as well as canonical tags, which define the main page for Google when there are multiple pages that are duplicate or similar.

#5. Keep product archive images consistent

It’s important to establish consistency in your product photos, including both the size and style of the photos. If there are many different image sizes or styles, it will make some products stand out much more than others on a product category page. It can also make your category pages look messy and unprofessional.

#6. Display product ratings on your category pages.

There’s a level of trust that goes into shopping online. People can’t directly touch or hold the products they’re looking at, and some trust has to be established before they will be willing to spend money on something they can only see in an image.

One of the best things you can do to build trust in your products is to display the rating and reviews of your products right on your category page. When a shopper sees that a product has 50+ five-star reviews, they’ll be much more willing to look further into the product than just an image alone.

Displaying ratings and reviews is only powerful when your products actually have reviews, so make it a point to start generating more of them!

#7. Optimize your category pages for search engines.

Not only do you want to make your product categories accessible by your users; you also want them to be accessible and easily found by search engines!

How to optimize your product category pages for search engines:

  • Include keywords in category titles and headings
  • Add keyword-rich product category descriptions
  • Optimize your category page URLs
  • Create keyword-rich title tags and meta descriptions

If your e-commerce website isn’t what you want it to be, it’s time to build a new one with Websites 360®. Our website design templates are completely customizable and designed to convert, and our website builder is easy and user friendly. Get started today!

Originally published on 6/11/20