It is important to choose the URL structure for various categories on your online store, so that they are closely related to their primary keywords. Even though many content management systems have predefined URLs based on category names, you should still put some thought into them before you launch your site.
Title: What is the best-practice for category names?/What are the rules of naming categories?
Category names should be short, descriptive and keyword rich. Using parenthesis ( ) in category names is not advisable because they create additional URL parameters that may confuse Google's search spider. The most common practice is to use plural nouns.
The following are some best practices related to category creation.
# Don't use generic names for categories, e.g., "Books" or "Home", unless they are specifically targeted at general audiences. Ideally, choose a name that describes the specific type of products it contains, such as the brand name you're marketing online. This is one way to gain an advantage in the search engine optimization world.
# Don't use words that appear frequently in titles and descriptions of your product, such as "the," and "and" because they usually cause duplicate content problems for websites.
# Use only one category per page unless your website is extremely large or it's a complex site with a lot of information. In cases where you have more than one category per page, be sure to add a unique meta tag on each page called "keywords." This is part of the HTML code that helps search engines understand what your site is all about and may influence a site's position in search engine listings.
# Use a non-descriptive category name for a one-off special promotion or a special series of products, such as "Mercury Free," "Flash Sale," and so on.
# Use plural nouns to create your categories. This is the most common best practice employed by online retailers. For example, instead of using the category title, "New Products," use "New Products from XYZ," or "XYZ New Products."
# Categorize your products carefully. If a product doesn't fit into any of your existing categories, add a new category for that one product only. This way you will not end up with too many categories that are similar to each other and confuse customers searching for products in your online store.
# Don't use words which are not part of the English language when naming categories, especially if you are targeting buyers from English-speaking countries. Avoid using foreign alphabets in category names, e.g., do not use Japanese Kanji characters to name a JAPANESE cuisine category on your site.
# Don't use negative words, e.g., "free" or "no charge." You want to make sure that the category name you choose does not present any problems for search engine crawlers and is easily understood by your customers. Also, remember that some popular search engines like Google will indicate what keywords are used in a website's title, description and tags.
# Be aware that Google's search engine crawler will see the category names as keywords, which may either help or hurt your site depending on how well they are thought out.
# Don't create too many categories. They should be easy to navigate through for customers who visit your website. Having more than 15-20 categories on a page is not advisable as this will make it difficult for the search engine crawler to figure out what your site is all about. If you do have more than 20 categories, put some thought into each one and make sure they are targeted towards your audience's interests.
# If you want to use keywords in category names and descriptions, make sure the name and description are related to your website and its main keywords or key phrases. For example, "Digital Cameras: Canon: Digital Camera: Camera," is an acceptable category title because it's descriptive but "Digital cameras from XYZ," may not be since you don't want to use a generic word like "cameras" and risk confusing Google.
# ShopZen recommends that you check the URL structure of your online store every so often to ensure it's not over-categorized as this can lead to search engine problems. For example, if you have a category for "Books: Fiction: Drama," and another one for "Fiction: Drama," you should combine them into one category called "Fiction: Drama." If you found that your site has a lot of redundant categories, reorganize and consolidate them as necessary to avoid confusing customers and search engine crawlers alike.
# ShopZen recommends not adding more than 200 product categories to your store. Having too many categories is known as over-categorization, which can cause problems for search engine crawlers. For more information on over-categorization and other ecommerce SEO faults, visit our comprehensive page on Ecommerce SEO Mistakes to Avoid
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