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Anyone with an online retail business should get familiar with the idea of category descriptions. A category description is a paragraph or two of content on the page representing an entire category of items for sale. If you have a women’s online clothing store, for example, you might have a unique category description on the pages for tops, bottoms, dresses, sportswear, and accessories. Take a look at why detailed product category descriptions are necessary for any online retailer.

They Can be Used as a Source of Internal Links

An often-overlooked benefit of category descriptions is that they can provide the space for a wide range of internal links. Links are incredibly valuable to any website owner. While backlinks from external sources are often the most discussed, internal links also have advantages. If you create one or two paragraphs of content on each category page, it can mean several short and long-tail keywords are already in the text. You can add hyperlinks to that text and redirect users to other sites on your page. On a description page about women’s shoes, for example, you might offer links to some of the most popular high heels or sneakers that you currently sell.

Links in category descriptions

They Show Users That They Are in the Right Spot

One of the benefits of a category page is that it shows users that they are in the right location. When users are browsing online, and especially when they are in the market for a specific item, it is common to visit dozens of websites at a time. When toggling between tabs and pages, it is easy to get confused about where you are, what items are being sold on the page, and how you got there in the first place. The right category content can highlight exactly what is on offer on a particular page. It reminds users of why they are on the page, and it encourages them to linger on your website.

User in the right spot

A Product Description Can Be a Means of Advertising

Once a user has made it to an overview page, they are already into the sales funnel. However, they are not yet ready to make a purchase. To get them all the way through the sales funnel, you’ll need to convince each user about the value of the products you have to offer. Fortunately, the description on a category page can be the perfect way to do just that. Your descriptions can be informative, but they should also be persuasive. Feel free to add information that highlights the value of your items, and set the products apart from any competitors online. Using a persuasive writing style can help push more users closer to conversions and, ultimately, greater profits for your business.

Using category descriptions to advertise

They Introduce a Human Element to the Website

If you visit the websites of major billion-dollar retailers, you might notice that some of them don’t have category content on each overview page. That might make the page look slightly more visually appealing, but it is something that only already established, hugely profitable businesses can afford to do.

The good news is that smaller retailers can use those descriptions to their advantage by introducing a human element to the website. In a description, a business could talk about where certain items are made. They can discuss the sourcing of materials for a special piece, or they could highlight the purchaser who chose the item for the season’s collection. Making the content personal shows readers that this is a business with invested employees, not just a generic multinational corporation.

Human Element

They Bring in More Organic Search Traffic

Arguably the most important reason to include product category descriptions on every category page is because it can help you bring in more traffic. SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key part of every online business. To optimize your website for search engines, you’ll need to include a variety of relevant keywords.

Of course, you don’t want to have random keywords thrown into the content. That would make your page look like spam, which is not desirable. Instead, you can use each description at the top of the page as a way to organically introduce relevant short or long-tail keywords. This means more hits on search engines when people are looking for the types of products or services that you offer. Ideally, these descriptions would be written by a professional author who knows how to deftly navigate between unappealing keyword stuffing and the organic placement of keywords.

Boosting organic search traffic

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How to Be Successful by Using Engaging Category Descriptions

Once you understand the value of category descriptions, you’ll need to ramp up creation. Depending on the size of your business and your website, you might have dozens or even hundreds of varied category pages, each of which will require its own unique description. Read on for some tips and suggestions all about how to successfully create and implement category descriptions for your online business.



Stick With a Cohesive Brand Voice

Some businesses look at product category descriptions as something completely different from the rest of their website. While they might feel a little different when compared to product descriptions or blog content, they are still a part of your overall brand. When writing category descriptions, the text should have the same voice as the rest of your content. If you have a casual, second-person tone on your blog, keep it the same in your category pages. Users who are familiar with your company want consistency, so keeping a cohesive voice throughout all pages will allow them to feel closer to your brand. If possible, work with the same authors for the entirety of the website content to achieve that same voice throughout. Otherwise, use the same brief with the same writing requirements.



Always Write in Complete Sentences

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when writing the content for overview pages is thinking that it will be skimmed by readers. Even if that is true on occasion, the content should still be written carefully and in complete sentences. Some businesses try to skip over this process and simply list out keywords or phrases, but that won’t have the same effect. To start, it simply looks unappealing to users of the website. Second, search engines might penalize websites who try this tactic. Always aim to use complete sentences and create meaningful category content.



Find the Right Long-Tail Keywords for Each Description

Your overview page for each category is the perfect place to inject some long-tail keywords. These keywords can help your website come up more often in search engine results pages, or SERPs. This is one of the best ways to naturally increase organic traffic, and it won’t cost you an extra penny in advertising. Remember that unless you’re one of the biggest companies in the world, extremely common keywords won’t be much help. Instead, stick to long-tail keywords, which are more specific to your products. If you sell shoes, for example, some helpful long-tail keywords to include on a category page might include:

• Red slingback shoes for women
• Blue running sneakers size 8
• Stylish nurse clogs
• Black Birkenstocks for men
• White stability shoes



Stick to an Acceptable Keyword Density

Once you have determined the right long-tail keywords to include in your content, you can start to incorporate them organically into the text. However, take special care not to do what is known as keyword stuffing. This is the practice of putting too many keywords into the text, creating a high keyword density. If you have 100 words of content, and 20 percent of the words are long-tail keywords, that is keyword stuffing. Less is often more because search engines will penalize websites that resort to keyword stuffing. Aim for less than a three-percent keyword density to be optimized for search engines, but avoid the risk of keyword stuffing or even creating a nonsensical category description.



Add Calls to Action Right in the Text

Imagine how you would react if you stumbled across a category page and wanted to browse through the range of available products. You might be interested in making a purchase, and you probably already have a specific item in mind. That means you’re an interested customer, as are most people who stumble upon a specific category page. With that in mind, pepper the content of the category page with calls to action. There is no need to be subtle here because the browsers are already potential buyers. Use action words to encourage a sale, and don’t feel the need to hold back on calls to action until the end of the page.

Hand mit Glühbirne

Write for the User, Not the Search Engine

When it comes to writing category descriptions, there are plenty of guidelines that can help you or your writing team craft the ideal content. However, it is important not to lose sight of the reader. While managing keyword density and choosing action verbs is important, you’re still trying to appeal to the user. If you focus too heavily on appealing to a search engine, you might be on the wrong track. Refocus and ensure that any written content is specifically aimed at the consumer, not the algorithm of a search engine.

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