WordPress categories and tags help you to structure your blog and also play a vital role in the SEO of your website. Whenever I talk about SEO of a WordPress site, I always follow one simple rule: Keep low-quality pages out of search index. Today, I will be talking about WordPress categories for SEO, and should we keep it noindex or do-index.
WordPress categories and tags are the two most important aspect from the user experience point of view. For example, most of the related posts plugin use categories and tags to show related post. If your posts are not well structured, related posts will show irrelevant articles from your blog, and it will have a negative effect on the bounce rate of your WordPress blog.
How to structure WordPress categories:
Planning the category of your blog should be done from day one when you are writing your blog business plan. For example, when I created WordPress Freesetup blog, I used the following categories:
- WordPress themes
- WordPress plugins
- WordPress SEO
- WordPress news
- WordPress hacks
This helps me to stay focus on my content strategy, and moreover, if I’m writing off-topic, it gives me a warning. Now, the question arises: Are WordPress categories good for SEO?
As I mentioned above, WordPress Category is useful for structuring your own blog. From a search engine perspective, Google is more interested in your post content (Posts). Moreover, Category archive pages are considered as a low-quality page, as it doesn’t do any value addition in terms of search engine optimization.
Category and SEO:
Usually, people think, the more pages we have in search results, the more traffic will we get. However, this used to be true till 2011, when search engine bots were not so smart. More were the indexed pages, higher was the traffic. But with Google panda update, Search engine made it clear that they hate content farm. By content farm, they meant adding pages which are not useful for search engines.
A category page usually contains the archive of a select category, and depending on your blog design, it may show complete post or post excerpt. Now, here are two questions that you should ask yourself:
- Is your category page solving any problem to a user using Google search?
- If your category page is indexed, isn’t it showing the same content as your post level? And you end up creating duplicate content
In short, Category pages are useless from an SEO perspective, but beneficial from the user experience point of view, as it offers another way to navigate your site. It’s also helpful for search engine bots to crawl your website deeper.
My recommendation for better SEO of your blog is to keep WordPress categories as noindex but dofollow. This will ensure that search engine bots can crawl all links but will not index categories archive page.
In case, if you are planning to change your existing categories name to something sensible now, make sure your permalink should not be affected because of that. If you use permalinks like %category%/%posts% I will not advise you to change your category or use permalinks migration plugin for your blog.
Though some SEO expert suggests that using a %category%/%posts% or %date%/%posts% is Google friendly permalinks structure but I would rather stick with %post%.html structure for a simple reason that my post will never get old and I can reuse them. Also, if I make any changes it will not break my sitemap.
Tip: Try to change your categories name to something appropriate
Do you have any questions ? I love questions.
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