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All you need to know about Tags and Categories

All you need to know about Tags and Categories

OHMYGOSSIP – Lots of websites I visit are a labyrinth of tags and sometimes even categories. I made the mistake of too many tag words myself when they were introduced. But now, many years of blog experience later, I’ve learned to choose my tags wisely because I understand there are rules and I apprehended how to organize my website to my benefit.

Think it through before you start:
So you got yourself a blog and you are ready to start blogging?
But have you thought about how you will organize your blog?
Your blog needs a structure that makes sense. To both your visitors and yourself. And the inevitable Search Engines need anchor points. And you need to provide that.

When I started my blog I knew from the start I wanted as little categories as possible. Learning from the past blogs I owned, I want my blog to have a simple structure.

Follow me in my ‘think things through process and learn from a pro:
What was I going to write about?
the digital nomad life,
my product: blogging
my YouTube Channel

so that makes 5 main categories. I got myself the domain name and added the 5 categories even before I wrote one single article – Diary, Travel, Videos, Digital Nomad Lifestyle, Blog Tips & Tools. You can find them in the menu underneath my header. Not all are in plain sight, but we come to that in the next post that I’m writing which is all about the menu structure. Later on, as my content grew, I decided to add sub-categories to make my website more accessible. For example: I divided the ‘Travel’-category up in ‘Holland’ and ‘Philippines’. While Archiving my blogs you will find the generic travel tips in ‘Travel’ and the specific touristic information in the country of my stay.

Question: How is your blog organized? How many categories do you have and do they make sense?

Facts and info on categories
Categories are the chapters of your blog
Search Engines recognize categories
Visitors find it easy to navigate if you have a structure
Many additional software like plugins are category based
Categories in WordPress can be hierarchy
Categories make it more likely for other (WordPress) users to find you in the topic listing
The more categories you use the less likely it is you will show up in the topics listing WordPress offers
Never use a category named ‘uncategorized’,
Make sure every post fits in at least 1 category
Never use more than 3 categories for one post, or it might confuse your readers, less is more.
Do not create categories you will never use or only use once or twice

PRO TIP: if you find yourself in need of a new category every time you write a blog, you need to rethink your structure

When you think of your blog as a book and the categories are the chapters, you can understand that rearranging your categories will be a major change in your blog structure. If you have a book, you cannot simply remove a chapter from it. Same with categories on your blog, That is why you should think it through before starting.
Tags are the creative part of labelling your posts

Remember the hat stand? Now you have a blog and categories (hat stand) and you add content to it (hats and coats) it is time to add price tags to them and manufacturing labels. The famous tags. For me using tags always starts a little messy, but I clean them up now and then. Just removing those with only 1 post making sure that one post has other tags to it. Tags are fun, unlike categories you can play with them and get all creative on tags. You use them to tie posts of the same topic together. In my growing structure I have different tags for every category. But when blogging I use tags as I need them. If I had a great day checking out a location with a friend, I might add the tag ‘friends’ to a travel post as well, “friends” is a tag from my diary category.

Tags I use for my diary are:

every day things
digital nomad

From these tags I’ve used the following tags in different categories:

digital nomad

PRO TIP: Never use irrelevant categories or tags in the hope you will attract more visitors, you will end up lower in search results or be banned by crawlers

Some writers think that adding as many tags as possible will grow visitors, but isn’t it annoying when you think you have found the right page to your questions and it is not about the subject you are looking for at all? Well, so do Search Engines and platforms think. In order to deliver the right content to the interest of the users they want you to use the proper tags and limit them to a certain maximum.

WordPress states in the ‘help Index’ that if you use more than 15 tags on 1 blog, it is less likely you  show up in the topics listing. But there are no limitations for creating tags, you can create as many as you like.

WordPress Rules on tags

Never use the same word for a tag and a category! That is as confusing for everybody and specially for the search engines.
Never forget that tags should link blogs together
Tags are not just to label blogs (that’s why I clear out tags with only one blog added to it)
Tags should be more specific than categories
Never use more than 2-5 tags per post
Tags should always be visible either on top or at the bottom of your blog post so Search Engines and your visitors can find them.

More facts on tags:

Tags are the index of your blog
Search Engines recognize tags
There is no maximum to tags you can use on your blog, but my advice is to keep it simple
You are not required to use tags but it is an extra medium to boost your blog
Visitors will be more motivated to ‘click through your blog’ when they are offered tags
Many additional software like plugins do use tags to sort
Tags in WordPress have no set relationship they are not hierarchical
Tags make it more likely for other (WordPress) users to find you in the topic listing
The more tags you use the less likely it is you will show up in the topics listing WordPress offers
Make sure every post has at least 1 tag
Question: When was the last time you checked the usefulness of your tags? Is it time to do some spring cleaning?

Keep in mind that for every category you create and every tag there is an archive page made. How many archive pages does your website need? And why creating a lot of risk on many broken links after you clean up?


Featured image: (PantherMedia/Lev Dolgachov/Scanpix)



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