Optimizing WordPress For SEO – Categories

This article will discuss how and why to optimize WordPress For SEO through the use of Categories in WordPress. While this is not complicated, the secret behind Categories is using them often and appropriately in WordPress.

What’s The Point Of Creating Categories?

Well, actually Categories are content, and content is used by Search Engines to find you. So like many things on your website, Categories can really drive traffic if you figure out the proper wording, this may take some simple research, and you just fill out all the fields in the category management in WordPress. One other thing to note is the Hovering over categories will typically show the user the content of the category description. This means increased usability. In the end, for most of us, its about driving traffic, and categories in WordPress is one of the not so complicated ways to drive that traffic.

Where Are Categories In WordPress?

There are categories in 2 places in the basic WordPress Implementation. These places are Posts and Links. So if you have not yet managed these well, take note and spend a little extra time to get them up to date.

Can I Manage Categories While Creating A Post?

When creating a post you can create and mange new categories in the bottom right of the screen. Don’t forget to do this while you are creating a post. I typically do it at the very end of the process. Most important is checking the little boxes and adding the post to a category. Luckily WordPress has created the + Add New Category function at the bottom of the right sidebar. Just click the link and you will notice the ability to create a Parent category (top) and a lower hierarchy category right there as you write your post.

Why Create Hierarchies of Categories?

Hierarchies of categories help your customers find articles and information that is relevant. The hierarchies are typically used by your theme to show the category information in a useful way on your site. From an SEO perspective you are creating more content, more specific content and getting this indexed!

Need An Idea For A Category Name

If you are looking for good category names, then the best place is Google. Start by determining what you know is a good search term. Then go to google.com and enter this good search term(s) into the google search. I searched for “WordPress Categories” . Then click on the link +Show Options, right below the search box. Not sure if you ever noticed that little link there. Once it opens, the side bar has a link called Related Searches and Wonder Wheel. I use the WordPress Wheel to give me an idea of what people are searching for that is similar are more relevant, such as I see the words “WordPress Categories List”. So I actually am going to create a new category with that term for this article beneath WordPress and WordPress Categories…

Slugs And Permalinks

Slugs are used by categories for the url permalink at the top of the page for SEO purposes. Most of the time you would just let the WordPress category automatically becoming the URL. For Instance for this site the category we created above would be /wordpress-categories-list/. The actual link will be http://www.strategicpoints.com/category/wordpress/wordpress-categories/wordpress-categories-list/. Lots of typing involved here but great stuff for the search engines. If you want to change the actual slug, you go to Posts and then Categories and you can edit that URL, so I am going to switch it to http://www.strategicpoints.com/category/wordpress/wordpress-categories/wordpress-categories-lists/ no problem. I just added an s at the end… You have total control over this. Notice how the URLs show all the hierarchies of the categories when you click on the categories.

Category Descriptions

Lots of time we don’t fill this out, because it is not created during the time of post creation. This requires going back and editing the categories directly. For both posts and pages this means going to the link on the left and clicking on the “categories” link below post or page. Once in there, adding a nice description is a good thing for SEO and usability and it will pay off in the end if you fill it out. But like everything this takes a little time and energy. I am going to put a follow up post on this and let you see the results of the categories created for this article…and show you how they showed up on Google, and typically within 24 hours of the post. Now that is power! Nice!

Link Categories

Link categories, which are just as important work a little differently that posts. You will find them listed right below Links. The important difference is that you have to be careful creating link categories, because most templates do not display them as hierarchies. They are groups of links. This means that if you want only one groups of links called “Links”, then you delete the “blogroll” link category and create a “Links” category. Then you would make sure all the links are associated with the Links category. If you wanted 3 groups of links on your site, you would create 3 link categories. Just like posts, managing the links category slugs and descriptions is important as well.

Summary

Like everything in life, filling out your categories is work. If you blog for a living, this has to be done properly and you should be an expert already. Just take time to organize and fill out the descriptions and make sure everything is in place and you should be good on the search engines. If you want more and there is a lot more, then start looking at a variety of Categorization Improvement Plugins. There are at least 20 out there. I am going to review them in a my next article about WordPress For SEO – Categories update.