Planet13 - 6:37 pm on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
Wow, these are some great responses. thanks for the input.
If your website is anything like mine, despite category pages individually receiving most traffic, the product pages traffic, when added up together, far exceeds the category pages.
I will have to double check. At first glance, when I look at the top 25 or 50 pages in GA, it would appear that the category, or that article pages, are the most popular landing pages. But I will have to add up the numbers for the product pages and see how they compare.
Have you suffered a loss in traffic, which leads you to believe these pages my be an issue?
No, not so much a loss in traffic per se, although there are a few instances where amazon, ebay, or even ehow results have jumped over mine. but it is hard to determine whether that is my site following out of favor with google or whether it is googles current fascination with mega brand sites that is causing this.
But it is more geared toward the problem of why SOME certain category pages rank in the top 3, and why SOME of them rank in the 60s, or 70s, or 80s. or out of the top 100 altogether. I am trying to find a way to get those low ranking pages to rank significantly higher.
@ Robert Charlton
Keep the product pages, differentiate those that are for different products and perhaps combine some that aren't (eg, those that are for basically the same product but just different heights or colors)... and make the links to the product pages as accessible as possible from your category pages.
thanks for the tip. I can certainly do that. My only concern is that what a human considers significantly different and what an alogrithim considers significantly different are often two separate animals...
An important point. I try to make pages more specific the deeper they are. The anchor text that's on category pages linking to the product pages should be less specific than the titles and headings on the product pages themselves. The product pages are where the greatest differentiation needs to take place.
Hmm... To me that seems ALMOST like a contradiction, but that might be because I am misinterpreting your use of the word "differentiation" here.
When I see that, I think that means the individual product pages should have MORE TEXT than the category level page (which is hierarchically directly above it). Maybe I am not interpreting that correctly?
I guess the challenge for me is if ALL widgets have certain parameters / attributes (size, material composition, weight, color, tensile strength, operating temperature, etc), how does one differentiate them significantly without simply stating, "this widget is blue and has a tensile strength of XYZ"?
Thanks in advance.