How To Get The Most Out Of Your Category and Tag Archive Pages?

Blog Archives
Most content websites use categories and/or tags to classify information. Correctly classifying the information on your website is extremely important, not only for the users' benefit, but also from an SEO perspective. It can help you create powerful archive sections on your website that can rank well. In fact, building a good information architecture is one of the newest SEO techniques to learn in 2014.. Most websites have default or basic archive pages, which are mostly by robots or 'noindexed' so that search engines won't pick up on duplicate content. Today, we'll talk about getting the most out of these pages.
So the big question is, what makes an archive page important in terms of Search Engine Optimization?

Duplicate Content Issue

The biggest problem with archive pages is perhaps the issue of duplicate content, which is probably why most are noindexed by default in many platforms. With most CMS' such as WordPress, the default archive page looks almost identical to the main blog posts listing page. However, you can change this by minimizing the amount of duplicated text by changing each post listing to only show the post title/link. This will condense the listings making it easier for the users to scan quickly and eliminate duplicated text.

Also make sure not to duplicate a classification. For example some sites with have a “Tutorial” category, and then will mistakenly also tag a post “Tutorials”. This will create two identical archive pages that should be consolidated into each other. Blogger users, check out the following post to learn how to do this.

Internal Linking

Internal links are what give these archive pages so much power. But if you are not using the links to their full extent, then these pages aren't likely to see their full benefit. You can typically link to these archive pages from any piece of content that is listed in each archive. Some times blog posts will have a list of tags that the post is listed under. Other times categories are listed. Categories are great to include into breadcrumbs and post footers.

Add Additional Content

You can design archive pages to include additional content above the listings, such as a large professional bio or an overview of a service/product (look at Mashable). This text gives the page more unique content and gives you an opportunity to include more related terms. I have seen some sites use this area to introduce a product or service that they offer that is related to the topic. This is an awesome idea because it closely aligns targeted traffic with a business goal.

Use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” Paginated Archive Pages

Sometimes you will have a topic that you have a lot of content on. If this is the case you might need to use paginated archive pages to list the content in a series of pages. When doing this, it is best to use the rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link tags to declare what pages in a series should be consolidated. When applied correctly Google and other search engines will treat all the pages in a series of pages as the same entity. This is great for two reasons: all of the link equity will be funnel to the page you want to rank, and it will mitigate from the risk of duplicated content.

So tell us guys. How are you making your archive pages unique?

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