Keep customers on your site for longer
How to write great category texts for your online shop
Webshops often use category texts although blogs sometimes use them to. On a webshop they are used as an introduction to the products in that category. In this article we look at how to write good category texts for your shop.
A good category text on a webshop must introduce the category of products and the benefits they offer. The text should preferably also provide a brief introduction to any sub-categories and give visitors the answers as to why they should buy products in that category in your particular shop.
Category Pages with no category text are seen as thin content by Google
Unfortunately many online shops write sloppy category texts – if at all any. This is bad news for visitors. Imagine they walked into your physical store – if you had such a thing – and you wouldn’t tell them about some items you had on a particular shelf. They would probably find it so rude that they’d go to another store.
But it’s not just customers who get a raw deal. Google and the other search engines will not feel very well informed about what you have on that page. Seen from Google’s eyes it will just be a lot of links to products. There is no actual content on the page. Bottomline is that this is thin content and that is something Google will give you a penalty for.
So do something good for your customers and your Google rankings in search results by having plenty of text on category pages – preferably enough for it to make sense to visitors and search robots alike.
How do you write awesome category texts?
A good category text:
- Introduces what the products in the category can be used for
- Walks through the subcategories if there are any
- Provides a short shopping guide to product category
- Answers the most common questions about the products in the category
- Explains the benefits of shopping in your particular shop
The text must clearly explain to visitors what the products in the category can be used for, how to choose the right product and then finish with a short argument as to why the customer should buy the products in your particular shop.
The challenge is to cover everything
The challenge is to make room for all this information in a category text, especially if it’s short. For most online shops run by one short category text, that people do not have to scroll too much on the side. Therefore, you then often have to prioritise what needs to be with in relation to the category text length.
We’ll come back to the discussion about the length of category text at the end of this article. Let’s begin by looking at the individual elements in the ideal category text – regardless of how many words are available.
Sales start with the title
Too many webshops do not use the title optimally on category pages. The title is just the category name – nothing else.
It’s a shame because the average visitor decides whether they should stay on your site within 8 seconds of landing. So a catchy headline multiplies the chances that they will stay a little longer on your site!
The headline should of course contain the category name and benefit built up as follows:
<category name> – <benefit>
The advantage is not necessarily only that shoppers can buy the product cheaper or get the best quality with you. No, it must be something related to the kind of products you sell in that category. Eg. “High heels – when you need to turn the style on!” Or some other catchy phrase.
It could also be a combination using your ordinary USP, for example: “High heels – when you want the most style for your money”!
What are the benefits of the products in the category?
The body must first explain the benefits of the products in that category. What needs or problems do they solve for the potential customer and how do they do it? Why is this type of product ideal for it?
Put yourself in the reader’s place and give them all the arguments about why these products are a great fit for them instead of starting off by bragging about how cheap or keen your prices and the great quality of your products.
Never start mentioning features of the products in the category without at the same time providing advantages. If you have a category called “High-heeled women’s shoes”, do not just state that the main characteristic of the shoes is that they have high heels, but instead write about some of the advantages that high heels provide. For instance, you could talk about high-heels providing a more sexy look at the same time as giving a boost in height.
It may seem obvious to you as the seller, but not all your potential customers will be able to figure out what advantage a particular product feature provides – and by articulating the advantages it tells savvy customers that you actually have a thorough knowledge of the products you sell.
Which subcategories does the category contain?
If you have several subcategories ing the category, it’s a good idea to introduce each of these and link to each of them – or at least the most important or popular. If for instance you have a category called “Women’s Footwear”, it could well be divided into different types of footwear: Trainers, Mid-cuts, Wedges, Pumps, Boots etc.
This gives the reader a better overview, and you increase the internal link building. Remember to explain the parameters used to divide the category into subcategories (in this case it’s shoe type or shoe design). This makes it easy for the visitor to understand the division. .
Help customers choose the right product
Space permitting, it’s also a good idea to provide a short buying guide on the products in the category to help customers with their choices. Taking the example of shoes, it might be about sizing, fitting, heel height, foot types and so on.
If there is not enough space within the word count allocated to the category text, a great alternative is to to link out to a page on the site where the visitor can find a more in-depth shopping guide to the products in that category. In this way you can give even better guidance visitors to help them with their choice as well as providing useful information to visitors who’re not ready to buy yet or are confused about the options.
It’s a good service to customers and also benefits your page’s ranking in search results. When visitors choose to read the guide they don’t go back to the search results page that sent them to the category page nearly as quickly as they might do otherwise. This helps your ranking because if a customer lands on your category page from search results and quickly bounces back to the search results page without viewing anything else you be hit with a penalty from Google.
Answers the most common questions
If there is room on the category text on the category page, try to answer the questions that customer often have about the type of products in that category. It needn’t be limited to answering specific questions about usage. The text can also address possible objections or counterarguments against buying products in that category or doubts people have.
Of course you do not directly make the arguments against buying certain products, but you may well come up with arguments pointing out why they do not hold water. This allows you to shoot down the the counterarguments in a smarter way.
If you have so many words in the category text you may want to use the space above and below the products on a category page.
Use the space under the products in the category to answer all the long tail-questions people most often ask about these kinds of products in search engines. Assign an intermediate heading for each question, and then provide the answer in the section that comes after the heading.
Again if you don’t have enough space you can use the trick of linking to a page that answers the most common questions about the product category or buyers guides where the topics are covered in more detail. Use the question as anchor text for the link in the category text to make it clear to visitors what they can get answers to by clicking on the link.
Why should they buy a product from this category with you?
Category text must end with a call-to-action. This is where you can make your pitch about the best prices or best products. But remember also to mention that your customer services are there to answer questions, your returns policy, whether there is free shipping, financing options, payment options and promotions.
It’s true that this is information that can probably be found on other pages in your shop, but keep in mind that the majority of visitors coming to the category page land directly from the search results on Google and therefore only have eyes for the products in that category. They have no incentive to explore your shop more for themselves before they consider buying from you.
So by making them aware of the benefits of dealing with you directly in the category text, you can be more sure that they actually discover them. This way they know them up-front and don’t have to click around to trying find them if they choose to shop with you.
How long should a category text be?
Generally, category text on a page has to be sufficiently long to it provides the necessary description of the products in that category, and some good advice customers can use when choosing products in this category. But few shop owners are keen on visitors having to scroll too far on the site before the products appear.
Therefore, they tend not to want to dedicate much more than 75-100 words on the category text. But even if this is better than no text at all, it far from enough to actually give some decently value – either for users or Google. 75-100 words is simply not enough space and all too often ends up being spent on generalities and boasting of how great the products are or how cheap the prices are.
Text above and below products
If you want to provide both customers and search engines with significantly more text some shop-owners have realised they can place an introductory text about the products at the top of the page that describes the products the category contains and then continue the more detailed text below the products.
However, this means that the bulk of the text comes “below the fold” on the page. Google is not crazy it it would seem??? But in practice text under the products contributes as much value to the search results – compared to if the text had not been there – that all in all it gives added weight to your category’s ranking in search results.???
By using text below products to answer some of the frequently asked long-tail questions about the product category can help your page to rank higher on these. Over time, it can provide many additional visitors to your category page – visitors who might otherwise never have found your shop using the more competitive keywords for the product category.
Get help with just the right category and product texts for your webshop
As you can see, it is not straightforward to write the correct category texts. There are many factors other than those related to the products that you need to consider. For both customer’s and Google’s eyes not everything you write has value. Remember, nobody bothers to read something online – unless they want to buy something! So count every word!
Want more inspiration, or are you looking for a professional partner to write category or product texts? If so please contact us by e-mail or phone, or click on the Contact Us button below and describe your job. We will get back to you with a quote!
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