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Google: Extra Content Not Always Needed For Category Pages

Product category pages do not always need extra content if Google can understand what’s on the page based on the names of products.

Google: Extra Content Not Always Needed For Category Pages

Google advises that it’s not always necessary to add extra content to product category pages if the product names describe what’s on the page.

This is stated by Google’s John Mueller during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on September 17, 2021.

An SEO named Kamal Allazov asks Mueller about the minimum word count for product category pages.

It’s common for Googlers to field questions regarding the ideal word count for webpages, but it’s not often they get asked about doing the bare minimum.

So, what’s the least amount of copy a category page needs to rank in Google?

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The answer is, it may not need any additional content beyond listing the products themselves.

Here’s Mueller’s full response.

Google’s John Mueller on Product Category Pages

As it relates to the minimum number of words a category page requires, Mueller says there’s no limit.

Allazov presses Mueller for more details, asking if 300 words would be acceptable, but Mueller doesn’t want to say that it is or isn’t.

There has to be at least some information on the page so Google can understand what’s on it. In many cases that information is communicated by the product names.

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“We don’t have any limits. There’s no limit so I’m not going to say yes or no. I think it’s something where, especially with category pages, you have to have some information on a page so that we understand what the topic is. But that’s generally very little information, and in many cases we understand that from the products that you have listed anyway.”

That sounds logical, but it wouldn’t work in cases where products have non-descriptive names.

Take the world of fashion, for example. A company selling denim may list a pair of jeans as “Mike” instead of something descriptive like “regular fit, bootcut, dark wash jeans.”

Google would need extra content in that case to understand more about the page it’s crawling.

If the product names are more generic, however, then that may be all Google needs to rank the page.

“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 shows, 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 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.”

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As a final follow up question, Allazov asks Mueller if he could repurpose content from a blog article for a category page.

Mueller says yes, that’s perfectly fine to do.

“Sure. If you’re talking about a very small amount of text then having that duplicated is absolutely no problem. Usually in a blog post you would have a lot more, and if there’s a handful of sentences that are the same, that’s totally fine.”

Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:

Featured Image: GaudiLab / Shutterstock

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Related: How to Optimize Category Pages for Ecommerce with Informational Copy

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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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