Have you checked out the category archives here on LinchpinSEO?
This is the header for the SEO Articles Archive. As you can see they have added a text-based description of the category to the archive. This simple tactic is important for our SEO practices. Many people seem to forget that Category Archives can make for great landing pages. We can optimize them by adding one simple template to our WordPress install called “category.php”.
Category Archives are Landing Pages
Yes they are. There are few better gateways to content on your blog. Since categories are keyword rich and specific they provide a lot of value to searchers. You may run a design blog, but have categories for colors, CSS, graphic editing, tutorials and other topics. These categories on their own are already offering a great deal of content for an interested party.
The issue with category archives is that most people stick with their theme default. This usually shows a listing of posts without any form of context. For a new reader there is no instructions on what they can find in the category or how to navigate.
But, if you are willing to put in a bit of effort then you can turn these archives into super star performers for your SEO strategy.
Category Archive Template in WordPress
WordPress makes life easy for us without much development knowledge. They have created a hierarchy system. If you check out your install you will notice something called archive.php. This is the default for generating all archives including those for dates, categories, and tags. You may see some other templates in your directory. The one we want to have is category.php.
Read about category archives in the WordPress Codex. This will give you an idea of how it all works. Then you can follow a simple tutorial to build your own template.Typically you can copy and paste from your archive.php template into a new document called “category.php”. Then delete anything that isn’t about categories. Add this conditional statement from the WordPress Codex before the loop (that snippet of code that actually displays the posts):
<?php if (is_category('Category A')):?> <p>This is the text to describe category A</p> <?php elseif (is_category('Category B'):?> <p>This is the text to describe category B</p> <?php else:?> <p>This is some generic text to describe all other category pages, I could be left blank</p> <?php endif;?>
Just replace “Category A” with your category name. Then give it a description. Now you have some SEO optimized category archive pages.
WordPress is amazing because it has all this functionality already built-in for us. We don’t need fancy plugins.
There are some nifty things you can do that can make these pages relevant to your audience:
- Add a category subscription option
- Feature popular posts
- Discuss your services and include a call to action
The possibilities are limitless.