Categories and tags are handy tools for making your website’s blog or catalog easy to navigate. They can improve your site’s click-through-rate, while also increasing your pages-per-session and session duration (how long your visitor stays on your site).
But without having a strategy for implementing a tagging/categorization system, they can very easily become a liability. The best way to reduce that liability is to include tags and categories in your initial content strategy.
In this post, we’ll discuss five pain points people have with their tagging structures and provide some tips on how to manage them effectively.
5 Mistakes companies make when creating tags for their blog posts
Tags are NOT #hashtags
Using a hashtag on Twitter is a powerful way to reach an audience that your post is relevant to. For instance, if I want more people to read this post, I might share the link with a #digitalmarketing or #blogging because each hashtag is associated with an archive page that contains all posts with the same hashtag.. #hashtags are valuable because they’re searchable, they can be followed, and they’re communally shared and updated across all users on the platform.
On your website, a tag operates similarly, but there’s only one contributor: you. There’s no following, and there’s no one else writing about the same topics and adding content to your tag’s archive page.
Since you have to do it yourself, stick to tags that you can write about consistently. Start with a primary focus tag and expand from there.
Tags aren’t used enough:
Every time that you create a new tag, you are also creating a new page on your website. Don’t waste valuable site real estate by neglecting to populate the page with plenty of tagged posts.
Image clicking on a tag to see related content, but the page that comes up on has one link on it, and it’s the link to the piece of content you were just reading. You’re missing out on major opportunities to direct readers to stay on your site longer and visit more pages, simply because you’re not providing more of the related content that they’re seeking.
Pro Tip: only create a tag if you have 4 or more posts that it applies to.
Tags are TOO SPECIFIC
Websites often have tags that are created for a single post. For instance, your post is labeled “Event 5 2019,” and there’s a tag for “Event 5 2019,” but what’s the likelihood you’re going to be writing about the same event again, especially once the event’s passed? Instead, just use a tag for “Events,” so you can add value to another page that’s relevant to many posts. Avoid creating dead ends.
Tags aren’t specific enough.
If you have a musically focused blog, and you have tags for all genres (which you’ve covered extensively) and another for music, which applies to all of your posts, you’re not helping people navigate your content. Instead, you’ve unintentionally created a secondary homepage. Not to mention that this second homepage will be optimized for a keyword that your homepage should be getting all of the attention for, so this practice is actually harmful from a “link equity” perspective.
Tags are duplicative.
This one is obvious but needs to be addressed. If you have a tag called “Tag,”don’t create another tag for “Tags.” Watch how you label your tags and always check your list of available tags before you tag a new post.
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4 Tips for Optimizing your Blog Tags and Tagging Structure:
- Instead of tagging a post as you write it. It’s best to start from your posts tab in WordPress and then type the term into the search bar. Select the posts that are relevant to that tag and edit them together (where it says ‘Bulk Actions’, change it to ‘Edit’ and hit apply). Then you can write in a tag that will apply to all the relevant posts.
- Label tags with capital letters. This is the name of a page, after all.
- Provide each tag with a custom meta-title and meta-description. Every page on your website should have custom written metadata.
- When developing or redeveloping your tag structure, it helps to do the following exercise:
- Make a grid with your categories as columns and your tags as rows.
- For each post you have on your site, check off the appropriate box if the post applies. See Below.
- This exercise helps you visualize where your opportunities are for creating new content that fits into your tag structure. Below, we can easily see that there’s a lack of content in Category 2 that covers Tag 1 and Tag 5.
|Category 1||Category 2||Category 3||Category 4||Category 5|
Remember that the largest benefit of tagging is improving your internal linking structure. Every time you tag, you create 2 internal links (one going to the page and one going to the post). This helps reinforce your expertise on a given topic from Google’s perspective. If you groom your blog tags, give them new content, and make sure that they’re properly manicured, Google and your website’s visitors will thank you for it.