WordPress categories and tags can be rather confusing. Before you know it you have hundreds of the things and your blog gets very difficult to navigate. How do categories and tags help? Watch the video to find out!
Blogging with WordPress – Categories and Tags Explained
WordPress Categories and Tags Video Transcript
Hi it’s Jan at My Local Business Online and I wanted to have a chat about categories and tags on your WordPress website. It’s come up a few times this week and it can be a bit confusing. So, here we are inside my blog and I’ve got a post open that has already been published so I can show you a little bit how the categories and tags work.
Now, once you’ve written your post and put your video or pictures on – whatever you’re doing, before you publish it by hitting the big blue button here, right underneath is the option for categories and tags. This is where it gets a little confusing.
Categories and tags help your readers navigate around your blog. You can think of them as keywords, but really they’re not the same. Although Google will index your category and tag pages unless you tell them not to.
What you want to do before you start blogging regularly is have an outline of what categories and tags you’re going to use on your blog. Categories are basically the topics you are blogging about. So in my case I have social media, blogging, Google, local business internet marketing, small business marketing and uncategorized, which is the default category. Now, don’t post as uncategorised, that’s such a waste isn’t it. You’re not helping anybody by not categorising your posts.
So, have a good plan of action about what topics you are going to be talking about on your blog and use those as your categories.
What WordPress does for every category, and every tag for that matter, it creates a brand new page. If you only use a category or tag once you are creating essentially a duplicate page of what you have already written in your original post. This causes some problems, particularly with Google and duplicate content. This is the true definition of duplicate content. Duplicate content is essentially the same content on your own website. It’s not about publishing the same content on various other web properties, whether that’s posting articles or videos or whatever you are doing off your website. That’s a slightly different issue.
The big issue really is having the same content republished on your own website. And, categories and tags do that if you’re only using the category and tag once. So, have a plan of action – what topics are you going to talk about and use those as your categories.
When you create your post, only tick one category. Don’t be choosing 3 or 4 or even adding more categories until it looks a little like a spiders web itself, you know posting 5 or 6 categories all the time. It’s a way for people to navigate around your site, so you want to keep it tight.
Which brings us to the tags. Your tags, you could call them keywords if that helps. They’re not keywords in the sense of getting found online type keywords, they used to help people find similar posts. Tags are used all over the internet, from social bookmarking to videos on Youtube to Facebook and all over the place. Think of them as keywords if that helps.
Have a good idea about the type of tags you want to include on your website and this can actually get quite long. But, if you think you’re never going to use a tag again, don’t use it in the first place. If you’re only going to have tag that is used in one post and never features again in the lifetime of the website, then don’t use it because, like I said, WordPress will create its own page for that tag. What you don’t want to happen is to have pages and pages and pages of all these individual tags that are essentially say the same thing. It’s duplicating content and you don’t need it, you’ll hurt yourself later down the line.
To show you this live, I’ve opened the page here. This is my post, and if you read the post and scroll all the way to the bottom, you’ll see here that it is filed under social media and tagged with… and they’re all my tags.
Each of these open in a new page. Let’s click on Facebook and see where that takes us. These are the posts that are tagged with Facebook. As you can see it’s a brand new page with its own unique URL up here. Unless you tell it otherwise, Google will actually index these tag and category pages. As a very general rule of thumb, if you will be blogging regularly then index your tags. If you’re not blogging regularly, index your categories.
Categories are also useful for putting up here in your menu, or down the side, or at the bottom, wherever you choose to put your navigation.
That’s it in a nutshell:
- Choose your categories as the topics you’re going to be talking about on your blog
- Have a rough outline of the tags you are going to be using on your blog as well
- Choose 1 category per post
- Choose 5 or 6 tags per post, if you go over 10 then you’re really going too far
- Always try to use categories and tags several times across all the posts that you write. That way you get a new page with several posts on it and you’re not duplicating content across your website needlessly
- If you’ve got the option (Yoasts WordPress SEO allows you to do this easily) index either that tags or the categories, there’s no need to index both.
Hope that helps a little! Speak to you soon.
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