While it may seem simple, choosing content categories for your blog is actually quite strategic. When making these decisions, it’s important to consider your goals, the topics you plan to cover, and the needs of your audience. Below are 7 ways to check whether your blog’s content categories are following best practices.
1. Think Like a Reader
First and foremost, your blog’s content categories should guide readers to what they’re trying to find. If you have historical website data, you can dig into your analytics to see what keywords the search engines associate with your website. This will provide insight into the information visitors hope to find on your website. You can also study the searches performed on your site to see what visitors need help locating.
2. Competitor Research
You can also conduct keyword research on your competitors by visiting their sites and studying the content categories and tags with the greatest number of posts. This will show you what works for those sites, but before you copy what they are doing, you should take those ideas and test them with a good keyword tool to find the opportunities your competitors missed. Good keyword research weighs the popularity of a search term against the competition for that term to find the best chances for ranking.
3. Fewer is Better
Too many categories can be confusing for the reader. Plus, your category list may occupy valuable space on your home page or in your side bar, in which case, a long list will serve to dilute your message rather than guiding your readers to the content they seek. Instead of trying to divide your content into very specific categories, we suggest you seek more encompassing groupings.
4. A Note on Search Engine Optimization
Each category will create a page with that category name in the URL, which is why keyword research matters when choosing the names of your categories. Short is sweet, but you may want to add a pertinent modifier for SEO purposes. If yours is an automotive blog and one of your categories will be “News,” you may find “Automotive News” a category that helps reinforce your keywords and pull search engine traffic while also emphasizing your blog’s focus.
5. Avoid Small Topics
Not all topics on your corporate blog will merit a category of their own. If a category only has a few posts associated with it, the category will look neglected and your corporate blog will appear incomplete. Consider each category and whether it is likely to collect more than a few blog posts. Better to combine categories under master headings than to have a list full of loose ends.
6. Research with a Keyword Tool
Before you commit to a plan for your categories, run your ideas through a keyword tool to be certain your instincts are aligned with the way searchers actually query topics associated with your corporate blog. Google AdWords has a free keyword tool that we find invaluable for shifting our perspective from that of an expert to that of a seeker with questions. Competitive niches may require a professional keyword tool to find overlooked keyword opportunities. Comparing your keyword research to the websites that currently rank in the search engines for those keyword queries will show you where your best opportunities lie.
7. Plan to Revisit
Your corporate blog will evolve over time. Six months to a year down the road, we recommend you revisit your category strategy to ensure that it matches up with the reality of your post topics and the way visitors navigate your site. Cleaning up categories that never became popular or adding new ones that help readers and search engines hone in on the content they seek will ensure your categories serve both blog visitors and your inbound marketing strategy.