Tags v CategoriesJennifer Faughnan | May 10th 2016
Here at PushON we’ve been having a bit of a
row debate on whether using tags on a corporate blog is a good idea. If it taught us one thing, it’s that we’re a passionate bunch when it comes to optimisation.
Now, we were all under agreement that categories are a must on a blog. Both categories and tags are taxonomies used to organise your blog.
A book is a good metaphor for categories and tags. Your blog is a book, with categories being the chapters of your book. They’re important; changing them or removing them will impact the structure of your blog. Tags are the index, a much longer list of mentions and specific topics. If a topic is mentioned more than once, it’s probably in the index. However they will not impact the structure of your blog.
Employed correctly, tags and categories can help boost your blog’s SEO.
Tags are not category specific; your post can be in one category but have multiple tags that link to posts in other categories, which will help both visitors and search engines find related content through the tag archives. However this seems to be specifically relevant to a blog that has regularly used headline categories (say, editorials, reviews, tutorials or company news). For example, you could use the tag ‘social media’ to link together your posts which could fall into specifically one of these categories.
However if your blog were to use more specific categories, such as social media itself, you would not have a tag entitled social media, as this would duplicate content. Instead you may use tags to specify, such as tagging ‘Business’ so that you know that post is related to business.
But this brings us back to the question: is this useful for your business? Is it useful to have a tag created for a topic you have only written one post on? Or are you thinking you may potentially write more? Probably not. If managed correctly, a tag could be created later. One of the key things to consider is duplicate tags and categories. If you have a category titled social media, you shouldn’t also tag your posts about social media with that term.
It is also important to consider the plurality of categories and tags. If you write a lot about “Social Media and Business”, you would need to consider whether whether to use that or “Social Media and Businesses” as your category or tag, not both.
- If it can be applied to more than one post, make a tag.
- The purpose of tags is to link posts together.
James Whitelock (PushON’s blog expert) says:
- Use tags to create unique landing pages to target the long tail.
- Use tags for usability purposes, but noindex and nofollow them to avoid dupe issues.
- But if you don’t have to, don’t use them.
Aleksej Heinze (lecturer in digital business) says:
Content tags are a useful way to add some order to a large unstructured system such as a blog. Over a period of time content tags improve user experience on a website by allowing them to navigate and find all articles related to a certain keyword. In the old days keywords were used as a way to tell search engines what the content of that web page was – these were abused by spammers since these were hidden in code view and were only viewed by those who knew where to look. Content tags on systems such as WordPress make them visible so that every blog post can show what keywords it targests and since these tags are likely to be visible they are also likely to be used by search engines. We found that on Salford Business School Blog the content tags are indexed and appear on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This offers an additional SEO benefit as well as improving user experience. Just don’t be spammy – go for three to four content tags per page and make sure that one of them is your focus keyword to make it consistent with your overall on-page SEO tactics.