Would Colour variant Child Categories dilute the SEO efforts of its Parent Category?

All we need is an easy explanation of the problem, so here it is.

I am working on an eCommerce site, where I am considering creating a Child Category page. This Child Category page, would be for a colour variant, of the products within the Parent Category. For example:

  1. Parent Category: www.example.com/soccer-balls
  2. Child Category: www.example.com/soccer-balls/red

My thinking being, this would help target keywords, containing the colour variant.

On one hand …

… I feel this would produce a positive SEO return. After all, I am seeking to further align a landing page to a specific search query; in this case, based on colour.

On the other hand …

… could I be diluting my SEO efforts? My thoughts here, being that the above efforts may end up splitting important SEO metrics. Metrics, such as:

  • Back links
  • Social Shares
  • Click Through Rates (CTR)

Short Term v Long Term

Pushed for an answer, I believe that I may suffer some short term loss of traffic. I say this, as colour variant Back links start to point to their allocated colour variant product category URLs. As such, causing the Parent Category to miss out on the cumulative ‘votes’. As time progresses, the colour variant URLs would then start to climb the ranks and ‘pick up’ the back link votes, so to speak, where the Parent Category has been dropping them.

Would this be the right view to take on the matter? Has anyone had a similar experience and have any statistics to back up such a thought?

Conflicting Scenario

I have noticed that some websites, do not adopt my above efforts. Despite this, still rank for colour based search queries. For example, a site may have a Category page, full of Soccer Balls. The ‘Soccer Balls’ will range in colour, size and material. Then the site would rank for ‘Red Soccer Balls’ for example.

Despite the landing page covering all Soccer Balls, the Meta Description has been dynamically called from one of the listed ‘Red Soccer Balls’ and displayed in the search results. You then change the search query to ‘Blue Soccer Balls’ and the same landing page appears, in the search results, but with the Meta Description for one of the blue Soccer Balls.

I understand that search engines are able to override an assigned Meta Description, if it feels a different one is more aligned to the search query. What I am uncertain of, is how is this landing page, ranking for duplicate colour based search queries? Often, performing better than sites who have colour specific landing pages.

Is it a case that they are performing well enough at domain level, which compensates for a weaker page level SEO strategy or is it a case that they have decided to consolidate all the colour variants into one page. As such, concentrating all back links etc, into one page rather than spread across multiple pages?

Facets

If consolidating SEO efforts, into one page, is the way to go, then would it be better to rely on Facets for colour etc, rather than Child Categories? Personally, I do not see how this can be a better way to match search query’s intent but maybe I am overlooking something.

How to solve :

I know you bored from this bug, So we are here to help you! Take a deep breath and look at the explanation of your problem. We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first method because it is tested & true method that will 100% work for you.

Method 1

In answer to your initial question, No not really. Those metrics you mention have effects across the entire domain, worrying about diluting certain pages because of others you don’t need to worry about. Just ensure you have internal linking that goes from the main cats, to sub cats, and vice versa.

To answer some of your other points:

You have given an example of a generic page ranking for colour variations, and yes it can happen for the reasons you mention in your question and in the comments.

However there are many other examples where searching for a specific term will result in websites ranking highest where they have a page for that specific term.

In fact If I use your example ‘red soccer balls’ or ‘red footballs’, what do I see ranking position 1? That’s right a page for red footballs.

So I’m going to disagree with most of the comments on the question. If you really want to be competitive for keywords, you need a page for that keyword.

I’m not talking doorway pages where you create a page for every different variation under the sun for the same terms (phone, phones, mobilephone, mobilephones, cellphone, etc), but if you have a product, or service that is unique why not have a page that can be used as page for SEO? After all, if you have created a facet with that option, you have created a page for a user! (just probably not an SEO friendly one!)

So yes, create pages for terms you believe bring value to the user, maybe that have lot of demand, both internally or externally and implemented them in a way which make sense for UX.

Facets might be a better way to do variations rather than sub cats, but that can depend on how big your site is, how many products you have (e.g a shop selling just footballs might be better to have a sub cat for colours, where as a site with a big varied assortment like Amazon would be better as a facet, or attributes)

So either implementing facets or sub cats can be correct, but just create them in a way that creates an individual page that can be uniquely optimised, rather than say just using URL parameters that filter the same URL.

Note: Use and implement method 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

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