WordPress offers categories and tags to structure your blog, and they also play a vital role in the SEO of your website. When ever I talk about SEO of a WordPress site, I always ask to 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 two important aspect from the user-experience, and they play a vital role in many other things. For example, most of related posts plugin uses categories and tags to show related post. If your posts are not well structured, related posts will be showing irrelevant article from your blog, and it will have 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 following categories:
- WordPress themes
- WordPress plugins
- WordPress SEO
- WordPress news
- WordPress hacks
This helps me to stay focus on my content strategy, and more over if I’m writing off-topic, it gives me warning. Now, the question arises: Are WordPress categories good for SEO?
As I mentioned above, WordPress category and tags are useful for structuring your own blog. From a search engine perspective, Google is more interested in your post content (Posts). Also, category archive pages are considered as low-quality page, as it doesn’t do any value addition in terms of search engine optimization.
Category and SEO:
Usually people think more pages we have in search results, we will get more traffic. This used to be true till 2011, when search engine bots were not so smart, and for more indexed pages, you end up getting more 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 select category, and depending upon your blog design, it may show complete post or post excerpt. Now, here are two questions, which 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 same content as your post level? And you end up creating duplicate content
In short, category pages are useless from SEO perspective, but beneficial from user experience, as it offers another way to navigate your site. It’s also helpful for search engine bots to crawl your website more deep.
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 will not be affected because of that. If you use permalinks like %category%/%posts% I will not advice you to change your category or use permalinks migration plugin for your blog if your change your category.
Though people and SEO expert suggest that using a %category%/%posts% or %date%/%posts% is Google friendly permalinks structure but I rather stick with %post%.html structure for simple reason my post will never get old and I can reuse them and if I make any changes anywhere it will not break my sitemap.
Tip: Try to change your categories name to something appropriate
Do you have any question ? I love question.