Retrofitting a smarter hierarchy

Your website probably has a pyramidal hierarchy. Under ‘products’ there’ll be a few categories such as ‘widgets’, and under ‘widgets’ there’ll be categories such as ‘blue widgets’, ‘red widgets’ and so on. That’s sensible for customers, sensible for search engines, and sensible for administration.

But there’s a trick being missed here when it comes to SEO, and it’s one which might also help customers if you fix it.

The key is to remember that the ranking of pages in Google flows around a site. For example, an external link to your page about ‘blue widgets’ also helps, in a small way, anything which that page links to, such as its parent page about ‘widgets’. The further away a page, the less it’s helped.

Supposing another category under ‘products’ is ‘sprockets’. Beneath this are categories such as ‘blue sprockets’, ‘red sprockets’ and so on. Now, the only link between the ‘red widgets’ and ‘red sprockets’ pages is a long one back up through the ‘products’ page. So an external link to the ‘red widgets’ page will be of little use to the ‘red sprockets’ page, despite them possibly having something in common.

We can do something about this, by retrofitting another product category listing page, called ‘red products’. There’s no reason why products should not be in two categories, after all. Now our ‘red widgets’ page becomes just a step away from the ‘red sprockets’ page.

Apply this to your site, and see how the new category listing pages might take shape, and be of interest to customers as well as helpful in the search engines. Give it a go.