Blogging is a fantastic way to attract more traffic to your website. Writing on a variety of topics relevant to your industry helps searchers get the answers they’re looking for on your website. The goal is to position your company as the subject matter expert on the topics you write about, but how do people find these blogs in search engines, or even on your website? Categories and tags can help raise the visibility of blog posts in search and help better organize your content on your blog. Learn about categories and tags and the best way to use them.

What are categories?

WordPress categoriesWhen people start blogging on their WordPress website, they’re often confused about categories and tags. What’s the difference, and why are they important? Let’s start with categories. Categories are the most general method of grouping content on a WordPress site. A category represents a topic or a group of topics that are connected in some way. They should be broader in nature. If you were creating a marketing blog, you might use broader topics such as SEO, email marketing, paid search, etc.

Why are categories important for blog posts?

Categories help visitors quickly know what topics your website is about and allows them to navigate your site faster. All WordPress posts must be filed under a category, but they don’t have to have tags. If you don’t give your post a category, WordPress will automatically assign it to the default category. This is called “Uncategorized”. It’s better to assign it a relevant category over uncategorized, so please take the time to do that! Since categories can help organize your content on your site, they’re good for SEO. Organizing your content for the best usability will also help you get better SEO rankings. You can put a blog post in more than one category if you feel strongly that it fits equally as well in both. If not, default to the most relevant category.

What are tags?

tags in WordPressTags are typically used in conjunction with categories and help add more specific indicators of what a blog post is about. They are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words. They let you micro-categorize your content. Following the examples of categories above, if you wrote a blog post on email marketing open rates, the category of the blog post could be email marketing, and the tag could be email open rates. They can help searchers on your website find more specific content pieces they’re looking for when searching your site. Unlike categories, blog posts can be published without tags, but you should use them!

Why are tags important for blog posts?

Tags add an additional level of detail about a blog post that can help a searcher find a topic they’re looking for. Using tags in WordPress not only arranges your posts but also improves your site’s usability and accessibility. Therefore, tags create a better user experience. WordPress tags are also significant for your SEO. When you do it right, a well-managed taxonomy like tags will escalate your SEO rank. While you can use an unlimited number of tags in a blog post, the ideal number is between 1 and 10. You also want to make sure you’re not using the exact same phrase for both a tag and a category, as search engines may find that confusing.

The final word on categories and tags

Here are a few additional facts and reminders about categories and tags from WPEngine; when building a strategy using tags and categories, remember some quick facts about these structural components:

  • Categories are broad umbrella topics
  • Search engines care about categories
  • Tags are descriptors
  • Site visitors depend on tags to give them context
  • Tags can be used freely and abundantly

If you need help establishing a strategy for using tags and categories, reach out to us at Strategic Marketing Services! We can help develop and organize your blogging efforts to get the most out of your content marketing.

Patty Hughes
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