WordPress Has Tags But Why Do We Need Them?
“Sometimes love just ain’t enough….. ” -Don Henley
WordPress categories seem extremely flexible and cause a lot of question about what role tags play.
A mailbag question from Srini Vas asks:
“How are tags important other than adding keywords ?”
This is a really common question and already points to one of the usages of tags.
Tags DO serve an important role in associating our WordPress content with keywords that belong to our article. This is a valuable part of SEO.
Tags also serve both as a navigational structure for your visitor (they are a taxonomy which can be clicked through) and as a “related links” grouping that allows googlebot (google spiders) to crawl deeper into a portion of your content.
Once your blog is producing ample content the goal is to keep as much of it indexed as possible. Google deindexes stuff it has not reached with googlebot in a while and because of that articles can actually vanish from the rankings if googlebot does not spy them. However, googlebot only crawls 3 to 5 clicks deep (sometimes less!) and so tags help to reduce the clicks form new content on a topic to old content on a topic. This again improves SEO.
We also can not discredit the role tags play in making our sites easier to navigate. When categories are used correctly, we only have a handful or two of them. Yet often we have a lot more granular topics that readers may like to delve into. Tags used together with breadcrumb navigation can really improve the reader experience.
As you can see tags serve quite a few purposes in fact! Categories and tags work together to make your site easy for everyone (including googlebot) to enjoy!
Are you tagging your WordPress content?
PS: Ideally, you want to have five to 10 total categories and each post is in no more than two categories (preferably only one). Then you want to add 5-8 tags to the post. Tags should represent the sub-topics but not be overly specific either. Using too many tags can be seen as keyword stuffing so try to keep it to no more than 10.