How to Write Category Page Content for SEO

A few months back I wrote a post on 101 Copywriting Guidelines for SEO. The most difficult aspect of the on-page SEO recommendations for most clients is writing body copy. 300 words of copy can be tough when you are battling for page real estate, but there are some creative solutions you can implement to make both your creative director and your SEO manager happy. Before we go into those, let’s talk about what you should write about.

First off, 300 words are recommended for category pages on the site. The copy is going to be more general and provide a high-level overview of the subsections within the main category. Below is a list of topics to consider including.

Topic Ideas

  • Description of the category.
  • Answer the who question – What audience are you speaking to for this category? Is there a specific type of audience for this category vs. another category?
  • Answer the what question –  What need does this category fulfill for your customer? What does that product/service do for your audience?
  • Answer the where question – Where would your audience be using this product/service category?
  • Answer the when question – When would your audience be using this product/service category?
  • Answer the why question – Why should your audience care about this product/service category? Why should they buy from your site? Why should they trust your brand? What is your differentiator?
  • Answer the how question – How does your audience use this product/service category? How will it make their life better or easier?

Tips for SEO Copywriting

  • Use complete sentences. Search engines now evaluate content for quality by assessing grammar and spelling. Using sentence fragments in copy can trigger a low quality filter. As a rule of thumb, site copy should be able to pass a grammar check in Microsoft Word.
  • 300 words minimum for site category pages.
  • The copy should tell customers about the category page in question and emphasize that the site/brand has expertise about those products. If you were writing copy for an ecommerce site, the end goal of a category page is to get a customer to view a product and buy it. So, on the category page, illustrate why this new customer should trust you enough to make a purchase on your site.
  • Have your keyword strategy ready to go, but don’t focus on it when you start writing. The content needs to be natural, and if you’re focusing too much on including your target keyword 6 times on the page, it could start sounding robotic. Write the first draft of copy, then go back and edit to sprinkle in your keywords. Often times, you won’t have to make too many edits, because the theme of the copy will come out naturally.
  • Break up your content by using headers.
  • Where relevant, include internal links to deeper pages within the body copy. Don’t go overboard here but aim for 2-5 internal links.
  • If your design team has a hard time creating a layout to accommodate 300 words of copy, compromise by displaying half of the content upfront and implement a “read more” button for users to read the remaining copy. In this handling, the content that would normally display on the page is hidden using JavaScript. If a user clicks a “read more” link, the content area expands and allows the user to finish reading. NOTE: As long as half of the total content is visible, there will be no issue with search engines. The most important consideration when moving forward with this option is that the page’s content must be fully revealed when JavaScript is disabled. Your developer will need to set it up this way so that search engines see this functionality as a fallback for users who don’t have browsers that run JavaScript. Doing the reverse (where content doesn’t display entirely without JavaScript enabled) is “cloaking”, which the engines frown upon.

Below are two examples of sites that are taking advantage of the “read more” option, finding a balance between merchandising and SEO.


Fruit Baskets

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 5.21.47 PM

Follow the tips above and make sure you’re answering the who, what, where, when, why and how questions on your category pages.

Heather Benson

Heather Benson - Senior Account Manager

Heather is another one of those Portland transplants from the bay area. She's been in the SEM world for 6 years now and is all about delivering results for clients. Heather's most recent adventures include parenting an adorable goldendoodle puppy named Dunckley.

One Response to “How to Write Category Page Content for SEO”

  1. Scott Hartley

    Actually, you do not need to write the 300 words for a category page (for WordPress). The reason is that most website templates do not include it, therefore the best thing to do is to simply write a compelling description and use it is as your meta description.


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