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A client of mine is in the process of redesigning their blog and one of the main areas of focus is the of category naming. While many people overlook this task, it is something that should be well thought out and thoroughly researched. Ensuring that you have the most appropriate names for your categories will not only give your blog a better user experience, but will help you to more effectively streamline your overall marketing and content goals. Here are six questions I ask myself when creating blog categories.
An important part of any keyword strategy is that the targeted keywords should echo throughout all the entire process, from meta tags to link anchor text, to the actual content within your blog posts. As such, the categories should not be neglected and should be incorporated in the overall keyword strategy. You should also consider developing long tail keywords around your categories as a way of further extending the potential reach of your posts.
Another item I consider is “If these categories were up and running on the site, would the consumer be able to understand what that category is by the title alone, without having to click on it?” You can be creative when developing category names, but you need to be cognizant of the user experience. Want to be creative, but afraid that the user won’t get it? Ask them! Do some crowd sourcing by garnering the opinion of your customers and peers within social media and there’s a good chance that you’ll get some additional ideas that you may not have thought of.
When you develop your categories think not only about the actual keyword, but how much content you have or will have to place in this category. If you feel that you can develop 10+ blog posts around this category, then go ahead and consider it. Having a category with 3 or 4 blog posts does not give the user a good feeling. Remember, the idea is that you’re the expert in your industry, so all content you share should be categorized properly and have unique and insightful content within them. You want to gain the user’s trust, and it will be difficult if you claim to be an expert in your vertical with only two blog posts in a category. If you’re redesigning your blog, take a look at all the content and if you feel you can marry three categories into one, then do so. Tagging your blogs with more precise, specific keywords will aid in your blog optimization.
Whether you’re creating your very first blog or are in the process of redesigning an existing one, competitive research should ALWAYS be on your ‘to do’ list. Hopefully you know a few of your competitor’s names, but if you’re wanting to find even more, doing something as easy as typing in your industry + company (like ‘underwater basket weaving companies’) will give you others that you may not have considered as actual competitors. While they may be buried on page two or three of Google, it doesn’t mean that you can’t harvest some great ideas for categories for your site.
Research your category keywords to find out how much traffic they are getting. Something as simple as using the Google Adwords tool will definitely help. Note: Go ahead and sign up for your own Google AdWords account. It costs nothing and will be save you time, as you won’t have to type in the CAPTCHA every time you type in a new word. Using Google AdWords will not only show you how competitive they are from a paid search perspective but also their global and local monthly searches on a rolling 12 month average.
Category naming for the most part should be consistent, so when doing your brainstorming, if you’re going to have broad keywords as categories then keep all of them that way. For example, if your category keywords are SEO, PPC, Social Media, Blogging, Facebook Marketing, Link Building and Affiliate Marketing, perhaps consider rolling up ‘Facebook Marketing,’ into Social Media and ‘Link Building’ in to SEO. You can always optimize your blog posts with tags using specific keywords.
While this may seem like a tedious chore when creating or redesigning your blog, you will absolutely benefit over the long run. Not only will it help your SEO efforts as you’re thinking keyword strategy, but it will also help you from a design perspective too as it could possible prevent you from adding more and more categories thus affecting your sidebar and design blog design.
What other questions do you ask yourself when optimizing your categories in your blog?