Before hopping directly into the tips provided by John Mueller, let us first understand the purpose of a product category page. A category page acts as a bridge between your home page and the products page. They are one of the most important filters your visitors will use to pick the right product without wasting time. It narrows down the options the seller provides and guides the buyer to the desired product page that they wish to purchase. The visitors or the leads may not convert into business if your category page has any glitches, speed issues, errors, or any kind of mishaps. According to studies, 38% of people will stop engaging with your website if the content or layout of the category page is unattractive. Understanding the crucial role of your product category page, here are some tips laid out by John Mueller during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on September 17, 2021.
Google advises that product category pages do not always need extra content if the bot can understand what is on the page with the name of the products given. It is common for SEOs and googlers to search about the ideal word count for web pages so that their pages rank on Google. In the case of category pages, there is no need for additional content beyond listing the products.
An SEO named Kamal Allazov asked about the minimum word count for product category pages. When Mueller said that there is no specific limit when it comes to the number of words on a category page, he further presses asking if 300 words would be acceptable. John Mueller answers that there must be some information for Google to understand what the page is about and most of the time, the product names satisfy the purpose. If the product names are generic, Google will not understand the products. In such a situation, it would require extra content to understand more while crawling.
“If the names of the products are clear enough to us to understand like — oh, this is, I don’t know, like running shoes or something like Nike running shoes, Adidas running shoes, different brands, whatever, then it’s clear that this is a list of running shoes.
You don’t need to put in the extra text there. But sometimes product names are a little bit hard to understand, and then it might make sense to add some additional text to give us some context there. But it’s usually additional context in the size of, I don’t know, maybe one or two or three sentences.”
Mueller finally adds that one can also use the content from a blog article to the category page if it meets the purpose. So, people now have to concentrate on creating more descriptive product names to make it clear for Google and avoid generic names. Using generic names may come with additional drawbacks of having extra content on product category pages.