Tag and category webpages ( also called taxonomy pages ) are merely aggregated content from the website that’s all tied together through keywords. Taxonomy pages are meant to ease user navigation through bigger websites.

  • Category Pages – Help organize webpages by keywords that define the overall tone of the webpage content. ( Keywords are in URLs and page titles. )
  • Tag Pages – Help organize webpages by keyword terms that the webpages discusses. ( Keywords are in the content or supporting h2 – h6 heading tags only. )

Most CMS platforms use them, most popular are WordPress and Drupal. Sometimes taxonomy pages can benefit website SEO however there are situations where they harm website SEO. We’re going to show you a few ways that tag and category pages can help as well as harm on page SEO.

High Value Category Pages Can Be Landing Pages

When done right, category webpages can actually help a website rank for keywords. Original content will need to be added, and a proper URL structure will need to be setup before hand. But if done right, category pages can help eCommerce sites rank products easier by ranking for the general keyword and allowing the product pages to then be much more specific. This way if you sold shirts, category pages could rank for general terms like “Tshirt”, “Long sleeve”, “polo”, etc. While product pages would target more specific terms like “Kids Cartoon Tshirt”, “Womens Striped Longsleeve”, “Mens Two Toned Polos” etc.

Search Engines Exclude Low Value Taxonomy Pages From Indexing

Search engines don’t want to serve under valued content to users, it’s a bad search experience. One thing Google considers low value are pages with links on them and nothing else. That’s why in you’ve ever launched a new WordPress website and monitored website indexing and content was added. You’d see indexing numbers start off strong and increase, then eventually index count will drop by at least half. Why this happens is Google in many cases, will notice that they already have a better webpage for a particular keyword with actual original content. Because many taxonomy pages don’t have canonical tags, and the links to webpages do, Google will exclude the taxonomy pages due to low value.

Website Crawl Budgets Can Be Wasted By Aggregated Content

Straight from Google themselves crawl budget is mainly designed to help optimize the efficiency of search engine indexing resources. Basically search engines don’t want to spend alot of time on stagnant or outdated websites. As mentioned above, Google and other search engines are looking for valuable content to serve user searches for. And even Google doesn’t have the indexing power currently to indexing the whole internet. So every action the search crawlers do, needs to be regulated to optimize crawling / indexing efficiency. So each website is given a ” crawl budget ” that once reached, crawlers will move on to the next website.

Why this matters to taxonomy pages, is that because Google will exclude taxonomy pages eventually. Then the very act of crawling them to later exclude them, is wasting website’s crawl budget. When other more valuable webpages could be crawled and indexed to be ranking for keywords. This is why it’s wise to noindex or even delete non valuable taxonomy pages. If it doesn’t help the user in any way then consider deleting it completely. The leaner a website is, the more focused content relevancy will be and more profitable keyword research will be.

The User Benefits Of Tag And Category Pages

The whole reason taxonomy pages even exist is because they are helpful in some cases. Tag clouds continue to be a great user engagement tool when proper taxonomy structures have been setup. Categories can provide a easier search function when users don’t always know the industry terminology. Anything that helps better organize content for user consumption is a winner for user optimization!

Having the added relevancy of content keywords, helps educate users and provides further brand trust. Which translates into more likelihood users turn into potential customer. Category keywords should never be tag keywords as well.If you’re trying to rank taxonomy pages with original content, using the same words is a keyword cannibalization issues.

Taxonomy Pages Can Cause Keyword Cannibalization

Often the problem with allowing tag and category pages to be indexed is that instead of core landing pages ranking, these taxonomy pages will rank. So unless you have original content and a custom CTA like on landing pages, that’s not going to do much good. Another issue is if the same keyword is used in categories as in tags as mentioned above. This will just confused searchbots and while can have the results of showing two webpage listings and even sometimes 3 ( the LP, Tag and Category page ), but that’s unpredictable and often in lower competitive keyword groups.

Does Your Website Use Tag And Category Webpages Correctly For SEO?

Contact SEOByMichael and schedule an SEO audit to find out. Let’s develop a website success strategy!