I learned a new word recently. Not a new word, really, but a new phrase combined from two of those really big words that normal people rarely ever use. That phrase is "Concatenation Schema".

WTH???

Yeah, that's what I thought. But, suffice it to say, it was a very simplified way of saying something that took me three paragraphs to explain. It's nice to be able to add a new phrase into your vernacular (another really big word for me) that nicely sums up something that is difficult to explain.

In the plainest, most simplest terms I could come up with, Concatenation Schema is just another way of saying "default content that changes dynamically based on category, sub-category, and product related information."

How Do You Build a Concatenation Schema?

The idea behind Concatenation Schema is to develop the SEO guidelines your programmers will use to populate key areas of your site pages. These key areas can include, but are not limited to:

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • Headings
  • ALT text
  • Body content

The first step is to figure out what your variables are. It might be categories, sub-categories, filters, titles, product names, years, makes, models, brands, styles, colors, etc.

If your site's navigation works like: CATEGORY > SUB-CATEGORY > PRODUCT, then those are your three variables. If visitors navigate via BRAND > CATEGORY > STYLE > PRODUCT, then use those as your variables. You might have one or two more variables thrown in, depending on the type of products or services you do, but you want to try to keep it as simplified as possible.

Let's use an example of a site that sells auto parts and accessories. Here are some examples of three different title tag schemas you could use for three different category levels:

Title Tag Schema 1

[MAKE] [PART] | Replacement [PART] for [MAKE] [VEHICLE]s

Examples:

  • Ford Headlamp | Replacement Headlamp for Ford SUVs

  • Dodge Floor Mats | Replacement Floormats for Dodge Trucks

  • Mazda Fan Belt | Replacement Fan Belt for Mazda Cars

Title Tag Schema 2

[YEAR] [MAKE] [PART] | Replacement [PART] for [MAKE] [VEHICLE]

Examples:


  • 2010 Ford Headlamp | Replacement Headlamp for Ford SUVs

  • 1998 Dodge Floor Mats | Replacement Floor Mats for Dodge Trucks

  • 2011 Mazda Fan Belt | Replacement Fan Belt for Mazda Cars

Title Tag Schema 3

Replacement [PART] for [YEAR] [MAKE] [MODEL]

Examples:


  • Replacement Headlamp for 2010 Ford Explorer

  • Replacement Floor Mats for 1998 Dodge Dakota

  • Replacement Fan Belt for 2011 Mazda 6

Please note, I make no representation to the SEO value of the examples above, nor do I suggest this is the best way to format the title tags. I only mean to provide examples on how to create and use schemas.

After the title tag, we might move on to the meta description:

Meta Description Schema 1

Find replacement [MAKE] [PART]. We have everything you need for [MAKE] or other [VEHICLE] [PART]s. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.

Examples:

  • Find replacement Ford headlamps. We have everything you need for Ford or other SUV headlamps. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.
  • Find replacement Dodge floor mats. We have everything you need for Dodge or other truck floor mats. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.
  • Find replacement Mazda fan belt. We have everything you need for Mazda or other car headlamps. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.

Meta Description Schema 2

Find [YEAR] [MAKE] [VEHICLE]s [PART]. Whether you're looking for a [MAKE] [PART] or for any other [VEHICLE]. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.

Examples:


  • Find 2010 Ford SUVs headlamps. Whether you're looking for a Ford headlamp or for any other SUV. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.
  • Find 1998 Dodge trucks floor mats. Whether you're looking for Dodge floor mats or for any other truck. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at MyWebsite.com.
  • Find 2011 Mazda cars fan belts. Whether you're looking for Mazda fan belts or for any other car. Free overnight delivery on orders over $300 at Mywebsite.com.

Meta Description Schema 3

Find replacement [YEAR] [MAKE] [MODEL] [VEHICLE] [PART]. Whether you're looking for a [MAKE] [PART], or [PART] for any other [MAKE] [VEHICLE], you'll find what you need at MyWebsite.com.

Examples:


  • Find replacement 2010 Ford Explorer SUV headlamps. Whether you're looking for a Ford headlamp, or headlamps for any other Ford SUV, you'll find what you need at MyWebsite.com.
  • Find replacement 1998 Dodge Dakota truck floor mats. Whether you're looking for Dodge floor mats, or floor mats for any other Dodge truck, you'll find what you need at MyWebsite.com.
  • Find replacement 2011 Mazda 6 car fan belts. Whether you're looking for Mazda fan belts, or fan belts for any other Mazda car, you'll find what you need at MyWebsite.com.

From here you can get the gist of how to continue with the Concatenation Schema for the rest of the important site elements that we noted above, plus any others that you may need.

You can also do the same with textual content; however, creating unique text is recommended for each page.

How Many Schemas Do You Need?

Most sites will require more than one set of Concatenation Schema. In the simplest terms, you would have a schema for each section of the site:

  • Top category pages
  • Sub category pages
  • Product pages

The image below depicts a site with three categories, each with three sub-categories and nine products per sub-category. Each color represents a different schema needed.

Concatenation Schema 1

In reality, however, it might be a bit more complex. You can't always create a perfect schema that will cover every category of your site. In some cases you might need to create a different schema for different categories. So it might actually play out something more like this:

Concatenation Schema 2

We just went from three distinct Concatenation Schemas to a total of 11. But, before you get your panties all wadded up, by performing SEO this way, you've actually reduced the total number of pages you have to "optimize." Instead of optimizing 93 pages, you're only creating 11 schemas. That's a big reduction in time, even for a "small" site, such as the one depicted here.

Now imagine your own site, which has how many categories, sub-categories, and products? By building a few Concatenation Schemas, you're able to turn a large task into a (relatively) smaller one!


May 4, 2011





Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.





Comments(10)

This is actually a very good way to optimize an e-commerce site with hundreds of pages. When I'm working on an e-commerce site for a client, I will create 20-30 different versions of a Meta tag description that I can incorporate keywords into. This helps me speed up the process, but also makes sure that I don't say the same thing over and over! I'm glad to see the process has a name. Great new vocab word!

We are using this from long time. You have to always follow this rule while developing dynamic site with 1000's of pages otherwise its very difficult to write title & Description for individual pages.
I have used this technique in ukhotels4u.com, but i wasn't aware of a new word. Thx for adding new word in my dictionary

Looks like this could work pretty well for directories. Hopefully this holds up well under Google Panda.

Stoney, thanks for documenting this crucial component of automated SEO for large (or not-so-large) sites. I can't wait to be able to drop the phrase "concatenation schema" into my next water-cooler conversation.

This Concatenation Schema is a new concept to me. Thanks for the info and I will be looking into this more. This is a great way of SEO for large sites with products. Can this be used for non commerce sites wanting to compete on a larger scale?

Great article Stoney. I'm curious however if search engines flag content it if you had something like your examples:

Page 1 - 1998 Dodge trucks floor mats
Page 1 - 2002 Dodge trucks floor mats

Since the phrase "Dodge truck floor mats" appear on both titles, descriptions...etc.
I would hope the algorithms are smart enough to distinguish that these are 2 unique products, and I do think that concatenation schemas are utized more. Thanks for sharing.

If these are in fact two distinct products then the search engines should treat it as such. If its one product that services multiple years then I'd likely craft if differently to prevent unneeded duplication (1998-2004 Dodge trucks floor mats, perhaps). The key will be in being sure each page has unique content. At least more than just a change in the year.

Nice post. Very informative. I was looking for such a post for the last few days. It could work quite well for directories. Thanks for sharing.

This Concatenation Schema is a new concept to me. If these are in fact two distinct products then the search engines should treat it as such.
Nice post. Very informative. I was looking for such a post for the last few days. It could work quite well for directories. Thanks for sharing.
Warm Mist Humidifier

This is a great idea I have an ecommerce website with 500 + pages and seo optimizing myself really a hard job. So I have bookmarked your idea and will try to use the concatenation schema. Thanks for sharing.

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Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > How Concatenation Schemas Can Make Large Site SEO a Small Task