I am the developer on a large e-comm site - it's got 60,000 products on it, and all the associated categories etc - in all about 100k pages. The site is written in ASP.Net.
It does OK in searches for actual product level keywords / phrases - the product level pages all have their own descriptive text of course.
Where it doesn't do so well is for more generic terms that you might expect the higher level category pages to be able to target. Currently these pages are really only a filter mechanism to drill down to the level below, or to sort / filter the products within the categories (we have 3 category tiers currently). There really isn't any content of any substance on these pages at the moment.
I have been moaning at the powers that be for ages that the whole site needs some more unique content - they moan about ranking - I ask where the content is to be ranked!
As you can imagine the site is driven by a pretty large and bespoke CMS - they want me to add an area for them to be able to enter some descriptive text at the category level for display at the various levels. The bulk of the page though will still have to be links to any lower level categories, and also the products within the categories.
Now as a developer I can do this easily, but I'd like to know that it's going to help, and also to be able to advise them on a strategy or approach for adding this content, otherwise it will waste a lot of their time if it has no effect. I can combine these changes with other on page changes if that will help.
What sort of advice should I be giving them regarding the content - obviously a lot of the pages content below this section is going to be database driven and to an extent a lot less controllable - although by it's nature linked by the subject / category that is being viewed. Should we be changing Title tags etc to pick up on the content they add, or of course craft the content around what is there (assuming it's already valid). Should the text be interspersed with keyworded links for example?
Top Level Category This is the blurb for the top level category (should I put any links in this text relevant to sub cats?)
Link to Sub Cat 1 Link to Sub Cat 2
>> Click through
Sub Cat 1 This is the blurb for the sub cat 1 level
Link to Sub Sub Cat 1 Link to Sub Sub Cat 2
Does that make sense? I'd figured that having blurb about the lower levels on the higher level would dilute things?
Should however the blurn on the lower levels reinforce the levels above?
You can apply anchor text principles to internal linking, and put relevant, important links to lower level products and subcategories within the body text of content on the related upper category level pages.
Products (often long tail keywords) can generally rank more easily than categories because the search keyphrases are almost always far less competitive.
>What sort of advice should I be giving them regarding the content
Unique content on important pages (not data-driven) with in-text linking and some specifically targeted links to closely related pages - not necessarily part of global navigation.