If you have a blog or magazine style website built on WordPress, you probably have a bunch of different categories to organize your posts. It’s a fantastic feature of WordPress that helps in organizing your content, but it raises the question:
Can a category page rank well on Google?
The answer is no, and it can become an issue when a certain category of your site targets a big keyword that you can potentially be ranking for.
That may sound confusing so I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you have a blog about sea animals. You have a couple hundred articles about anything related to different kinds of sea animals. Your site even ranks for the term ‘sea animals’ and it’s doing well on Google.
Let’s say that because you have a lot of posts about cute looking animals, you decide to create a category called ‘cute sea animals’ and you put your relevant articles that fit into the topic. Now, when you visit that category page on your site, you can see all the different posts related to ‘cute sea animals’.
The problem is: you may think that this page is a great resource and deserves to be brought up when someone searches for, ‘cute sea animals’ but it’s not the case.
Why WordPress category pages have such difficulty ranking
The answer is simple: Google doesn’t like showing category pages in its results.
When a user makes a search, Google prefers to bring back results of ‘pages’ that are full of information and packed with useful resources rather than make the user have to sift through pages of various different articles. It’s not a good user experience, which Google is all about.
That makes sense, right?
It makes perfect sense, but it also sucks for us. In our eyes, we know we have the perfect page for anyone looking for ‘cute sea animals.’ I mean, there’s a hundred pages here of awesome content all about the subject!
But Google knows how to differentiate between a category page, and a regular information page. Believe me, I’ve even tried going into my WordPress php files and adding ~500 words of content in each of my category pages to see if that would help. That helps a bit, but it’s nowhere near as effective as optimizing a separate page around it. You’re playing a losing game.
If you have ever tried to rank for category pages in the past, you might know what I’m talking about. If you’re trying now to rank a category page, stop.
Here’s what you should do instead.
Create a giant post and manually put in the links to the posts
Continuing on with the example, we’re going to take the keyword ‘cute sea animals’ and create our own mega post around it.
We’ll call it: “Top 50 Articles Showcasing the Cutest Sea Animals in the World.”
We’ll take the best 50 posts from the category and just link to them. To bulk up the article with more content, we’ll add a short description under each link.
At the top, we’ll write a few hundred words in an introduction to help build context around the links, and then maybe a small conclusion at the bottom of the post.
You’re free to do whatever you want to beef up the article (ie Categorize them even further into sub-categories, add images, etc.).
Category pages are difficult to rank, but these mega resource style pages are extremely easy to rank even though they are essentially the same thing. Google loves this kind of content.
On top of that, it’s barely any work at all. The bulk of your content is in your links, and those are all posts that you’ve made in the past. With just a little organization into this new post, we now have a giant resource page we can start ranking in Google for this meaty keyword and boost our traffic.
Taking advantage of resource pages
This doesn’t just work with categories on your site. The idea of resource pages opens up a lot of ideas to new content with posts that you already have.
If you have a lot of posts about a certain topic or sub-topic on your site, try and see if it makes sense to group them together and create a resource style post on your site. You might be surprised how well it can do in the search engines.