Tags and categories are an effective way of organizing your blog and improving discoverability. Recall from the planning your blog article the importance of planning and naming your categories in advance. This post is a supplement to that guide and explores the benefits of using tags and categories to improve your WordPress site’s SEO. As categories are a familiar and relatively intuitive concept and relatively intuitive, we will focus more on tags and their usefulness.

What are tags?

Tags are descriptive keywords or labels used to categorize and classify content, making it easier to organize and find related information. In blogs or website pages, tags are typically short words or phrases that describe the content’s subject, theme, or key attributes.

Do WordPress tags improve SEO?

How are tags different from categories

While Tags and categories are both tools used to organize and classify content, they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics:

CategoriesTags
Hierarchical: Categories are usually structured in a hierarchical manner, forming a broader, more organized taxonomy. For example, a travel blog might have categories like “Destinations,” “Travel Tips,” and “Food & Cuisine.”Non-Hierarchical: Tags are typically non-hierarchical, meaning they are not structured in a parent-child relationship. They are flat and stand alone. For example, a blog post about a trip to Paris might have tags like “Paris,” “Eiffel Tower,” “Travel Tips,” and “French Cuisine.”
General Topics: Categories are ideal for grouping content into general topics or themes. They provide a high-level overview of what the content is about.Detailed Descriptors: Tags offer more detailed and specific information about the content. They can describe the content’s subject, attributes, or keywords in greater detail.
Mutually Exclusive: In most systems, content can belong to one category at a time. This exclusivity ensures that each piece of content is placed in a primary overarching category.Multiple Tags per Content: Unlike categories, content can have multiple tags. This flexibility allows for a more granular classification, as content can belong to several relevant tags simultaneously.
Primary Navigation: Categories often play a significant role in a website’s primary navigation menu, guiding users to main sections or topics of interest.Secondary Navigation: Tags are often used for secondary navigation or as a way for users to discover related content. Clicking on a tag displays a list of content items that share that specific tag.
Tags vs. Categories

Benefits of using tags

Improved Navigation

Tags and categories act as a roadmap (or sitemap) for your website or blog and help users navigate through your content and find what they’re looking for.

That said, think about the last time you actually clicked on a tag or browsed through a blog. some website’s categories in search for answers. Most people actually don’t do that. They just land on your page from google search results, then go back and click on another website.

So is this navigation point legit or just a gimmick? Well, it depends on the volume and quality or your content and what type of visitors you attract.

Do tags improve User Experience?

We think that a well-organized website with lots of tagged content enhances the overall user experience. This is probably only true for those nerds who know to click on a tag to find more related reference material. But for the regular user who just wants answers, is that tag ever going to get clicked?

In theory, Tags allow you to cross-promote related content. When a user reads one article, they can easily discover other pieces on similar topics through tags. This keeps them engaged on your site, increasing the chances of conversion, whether that means subscribing to your newsletter, making a purchase, or simply spending more time on your platform.

Do WordPress tags improve SEO?

Yes. This is the main reason why tags should be used.

Search engines love structured content. Tags and categories provide valuable metadata that search engines can use to index and rank your pages. By using relevant keywords in your categories and tags, you can boost your website’s SEO, making it more visible to potential visitors.

Every tag creates a new page for your website that lists out all the content related to that particular keyword. That means more pages, and subsequently more coverage and content for google to index. So yes, for SEO, tags are worth it. You will also notice that your sitemap file will include a tags section that lists all the pages that have been created by using tags. Click here to learn how to create a sitemap for your WordPress site.

Tag Analytics

Organizing your content with tags and categories helps provides valuable insights into your audience’s preferences. By analyzing which topics or tags are most popular, you can tailor your future content to align with your audience’s interests. This data-driven approach can help you refine your content strategy and drive better results. You can do this with Categories as well. However, tags being more specific can provide more focused insights.

Content Management

Content creators and website administrators benefit from tags and categories as well. They simplify content management by offering a logical structure for your content. When it’s time to update or repurpose content, you can easily locate and reference relevant pieces. See the screenshot below of a list of my WordPress posts filtered by a particular tag. Now I can do a bulk edit on them all.

As a content creator you will notice that when a tag starts getting or frequently used and is tied to several articles, it may evolve into a new category altogether.

WordPress tags improve SEO. Use Them

In summary, categories are used for broader, high-level organization and navigation, while tags provide detailed descriptors and offer more flexibility in classifying content. Categories are often used for primary navigation and ensuring content falls into overarching topics, while tags are used for detailed labeling and content discovery.

In the end, both categories and tags are valuable for enhancing the organization and findability of content on websites and blogs. This improves not only SEO but also the ability to manage your content. Improving user experience may be a stretch but is valid for those enthusiast visitors who really get involved with your blog and want to eat it up.


Image Credits: Photo by Angèle Kamp on Unsplash