If you write an amazing blog post, you’d like it to help in the ranking of your site, right? If you create awesome content, you’d like people to read it now and be able to find it and read it later. Also, you want new visitors on your site to read some of your older blog posts, right? You want to convert them to loyal readers of your blog. Why are older posts on blogs almost always hidden away in some kind of archive?
Your content is created with much effort and care. It doesn’t have to be thrown away after just one read from your audience. It should stay alive at your site, be read by new visitors and re-read by your most loyal visitors. At the same time, it should help your blog rank in Google. In this post, I will tell you about the importance of categories on your blog for both usability reasons and SEO.
Most blogging sites seem to be creating content and then putting it away, making it hard or nearly impossible for new visitors to find your content. Posts seem to be written just to be read only once. There are no categories, no tags, no linking from one post to the other. For a new visitor on such a site, who wants to browse a bit, it is only possible to scroll through the archives.
We are currently doing research for a new eBook called SEO for WordPress. For that purpose, I looked at a lot of blogs last week. Mom blogs, food blogs, blogs about blogging. And they all seem to make the same mistake. A quick check with my colleagues from the site review team confirmed my ideas: lots of blogs don’t have any categories of the topics they blog about.
I found a few mom blogs I really liked. One of the blogging moms had a child with special needs. Some of her posts were about this kid, others were not. The only way I could find the posts about that special child was to scroll through the archives and guess (based on the title of the post) whether or not it was a post I was interested in. It annoyed me quite a bit. Why wasn’t there any structure?
Of course, every blog should create new content on a very regular basis. That’s a given. But that doesn’t mean your old(er) content is worthless. This very post will be read by our audience now, but will be just as useful for new audiences. Also, people might remember this post and talk about it with their friends. Therefore people should be able to find older posts on your blog rather quickly.
Blog categories because of usability
Make sure people can easily navigate through your blog. You need clear, easy to find category pages of the topics you blog about most. New audiences will instantly grasp what your blog is about and will be able to find posts on a specific topic easily. Your own audience will be able to re-read older content if they would like to do so. Take a look at the way Sugarrae has made blog categories. That’s the way to do it!
Blog categories because of SEO
Adding categories and structure to your blog also benefits SEO. If you are blogging, you are probably addressing similar topics in different posts. Perhaps you are optimizing (unknowingly) for the same keywords. This means you’re actually competing with your own content for the ranking in Google. That’s not good! If you create category pages and link your posts on similar topics to that category, it will allow that category page to rank higher in Google. Read about it in one of our older posts about the importance of category pages for SEO, or in our eBook about Content SEO.
Make your blog content last!
If you write amazing content, make sure it lasts. Add categories to your blog posts. And make sure these blog categories are easy to find on your site. Add tags for smaller topics. Link to related posts and give your audience suggestions where on your blog they can read more about a specific topic. All these things make your blog much more usable for your audience. And, on top of that, all these things make your blog rank higher in search engines.