WordPress SEO Tips: Should I Use Categories Or Tags?

By Jessica Bates , on February 11, 2013 | Go to comments

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Adding quality content to your blog is one of the best ways to reach the first page of Google. Our CEO Ali Husayni explains why.

“Let’s start with the basics of why search engines were built: because text existed on the Internet in an unorganized fashion,” Husayni says. “Search engine spiders indexed, organized and provided the text in an easy-to-use format for their users.”wordpress tips

Our Web SEO company uses WordPress for many of our clients because it has built in features made for search engine optimization. Today I want to discuss the difference between two common WordPress features – categories and tags – and how you use them effectively.

When you create a post in WordPress, you should see several boxes to the right of the text box where you enter the text and media of your new post. The boxes on the right are titled “Publish,” “Tags” and “Categories.”

Categories and tags both help search engines and users sort the content on your site, but categories apply to broader themes and tags describe more detailed keywords relating to specific posts.

WordPress Categories
Bloggers can use a hierarchy of categories and nest children categories beneath the parent categories. For instance, if your blog is about dentistry and orthodontics, you may want the category of your new post to be “dentistry.” But there are several types of dentistry, including cosmetic dentistry, preventive dentistry, neuromuscular dentistry and restorative dentistry. These could be nested under the “dentistry” category to further define a post.

You can even go to the category widget and describe what each category is about. You can find this from your dashboard. On the left side of your dashboard you should see headings like “Dashboard,” “Store,” “Posts” and “Media.” Click “Post,” and you should see “Categories” beneath that tab. This lets you manage your categories, add new or delete existing categories, change the hierarchy and add category descriptions. Any time you have a chance to define or describe your pages you should do it. These descriptions should be relevant, clear, concise and rich with your highest desired keywords.

Many people ask how many categories a good site needs, and the answer isn’t cut and dry. As you add more content to your site, the diversity of your content will likely grow. Add and manage your categories as needed. At first you may only need “dentistry,” but in a few weeks you may need to add nested categories beneath it to differentiate the posts. You don’t need 30 categories if you only have three posts live on your site. Make your site structure clear and simple.

Finally, categories are mandatory, and tags are optional.

WordPress Tags
The theme you’ve chosen for your blog likely decides where your tags are listed for each post. Some blogs contain tag clouds on the sidebar that show users an array of tags used for your blog. The visitor can click on any tag in the tag cloud to see posts tagged with that keyword.

Adding tags to your new post is simple. Just type keywords into the tag bar and separate them with commas. Tags can be any length and any keyword you choose, but to work best they should be descriptive and relevant. For instance, if Dr. Frank P. Dentist adds a new post to his site about tooth whitening, he should choose the parent category “dentistry” and the nested category “cosmetic dentistry.” The tags might be: tooth whitening, professional whitening, Zoom! whitening, in-office whitening and whiter smile. You can use as few or as many keywords as you like.

You can also add descriptions to your tags. Look beneath the “Posts” tab on the left side of your dashboard. For the tag “Zoom! whitening,” our dentist may add a short description of that procedure.

Categories and Tags
When used correctly, categories and tags work together to give search engines and users detailed information about your blog and individual posts. It’s also important to note the categories and tags don’t replace metadata within your post.

Our SEO services in the USA include content creation and WordPress content distribution. We understand how to best use the category and tag fields to optimize your blog.

At Sinai Marketing we’ve helped a variety of companies succeed in improving their Google rankings. We’ve excelled in dental and orthodontic marketing, plastic surgery marketing and ecommerce marketing for various clients, and we are confident we can bring any business to the top of Google.

How do you use categories and tags on your WordPress blog? What other WordPress tips would you like to learn?

  1. February 11th, 2013 at 10:00 | #1

    Pearl :
    This is all said good, but can someone please explain to me.
    Few years ago I build a web site with limited knowledge. No meta tags-description or any SEO optimization at all. I wouldn’t even know what is backlink and all that.
    I wanted to use this site as a online catalog rather than website getting new customers online.
    And this web site of mine beat 1.660.000 plus competitors. And become #1 in Google> http://www.solomon-silver.com/
    Alexa traffic 12.394.000.
    At the beginning (almost 4 years) we did not rank at all and we did not care.
    Than we decided to rank and spend money for better website, under different domain name.
    WE did SEO all that. Back links, social media-meta tags all that. I mean we give all, what SEO ask for it.
    And this site after 2 years still not ranking and its Alexa ranking below 1.000.000.
    I am puzzled and very confused about all this.
    No content, no back-links, no SEO and ranks #1 on Google with the keyword “Bali silver jewelry”
    Other web site of mine doesn’t rank at all with the all SEO and development money spend on…. and that web site is: http://www.balisilverjewellry.com
    (ranking #1 is almost 5 yrs old. Non ranking 2 years old).
    I am really want to find out how did this happen?
    Do you think Google made a mistake?
    Any comment will be appreciated so much.

  2. February 11th, 2013 at 10:45 | #2

    But what you can say about the blogs labels from blogspot? What are they, categories? I never understood how they are interpreted by search engines and what importance they have in SEO. Thanks and i look forward for the answer.
    I must make changes in HTML to the labels, for them to be considered categories?

  3. Amin
    February 12th, 2013 at 07:43 | #3

    Amazing post!
    I liked how neatly you described how tags and categories are supposed to be used by SEO experts. Many people can’t distinguish tags and categories, but here we learned that a category is a bigger basket to carry the blog posts. :)

  4. Amin
    February 12th, 2013 at 07:48 | #4

    @Luminita Dinu
    Dear Luminita!
    They are dynamic pages that update themselves every time that a blog is posted. You can’t make a static page to be a tag by adding an HTML code. This is not possible!

    If you use a blogger or wordpress CMS for your website or weblog, you will have tags and categories automatically. You won’t need to change anything!

  5. February 13th, 2013 at 03:07 | #5

    What do you think about this. Because I ‘m using both for my projects because of this reason.

  6. February 14th, 2013 at 12:35 | #6

    Something worth reading. i mostly ignore tags when doing blogging but from now i will have to be extra careful about my blogging. Good post

  7. February 15th, 2013 at 02:43 | #7

    thanks for shearing.
    Great blog, very informative and very interesting. Thank you so much for imparting your knowledge on this subject to us.

  8. February 18th, 2013 at 11:24 | #8

    What’ s impact to search engines if a category is converted to tag?

  9. February 26th, 2013 at 04:48 | #9

    I am completely agree with Amin, you can go with all the things suggested by him.
    WordPress is getting very popular these days, and the reason behind this popularity is easy and user friendly use of WordPress modules.Most of the flash websites are now moving to this, because of its features.

  10. February 28th, 2013 at 12:19 | #10

    Hi Jessica! First of all, thank you for sharing this wonderful information regarding WordPress’ categories and tags. Some people tend to ignore the tags, thinking that WordPress (unlike other platforms such as Blogger) already has “Categories”. We can’t blame them anyway. Those people who are used to Blogger (blogspot.com) mostly think that Tags and Categories are the same since they only have the “Labels feature” which were named before as “Tags”. So yeah, WordPress is great!

  11. March 1st, 2013 at 02:34 | #11

    This is a very useful blog post for every search engine optimizer.Now maximum site owners want to build their site in wordpress, so SEO is also very important for optimized those sites. If you have any other blogs then please send me the links.

  12. March 11th, 2013 at 02:30 | #12

    Great read Jessica. Thank you so much for sharing such a nice information with us to improve our blogging efficiency with SEO efforts.

  13. March 13th, 2013 at 03:39 | #13

    Wow. This is a very nice post. This helps those who do SEO. I learned new things from here and this is very useful. Thanks for this.

  14. March 19th, 2013 at 08:56 | #14

    Nice post about search engine optimization. I will follow this technique in my blog.
    I also have a blog seo techniques

  15. March 23rd, 2013 at 10:33 | #15

    You said that the placement of tags depends on the theme we choose and that some themes also have a tag cloud. In this regard, is their any specific theme that you suggest for better optimization or does a theme has no effect on SEO?

  16. Anonymous
    April 7th, 2013 at 04:25 | #16

    Really great tips for SEO of a WordPress site. I am implementing these things on a website to bring good traffic through Search Engines. As you all know Google loves WordPress. Good article. Thanks a lot Jessica for sharing such a useful post.

  17. July 18th, 2013 at 20:28 | #17

    A very well thought out piece. Thank you. It is always refreshing to see clear advice pointed out for the benefit of others. It is especially helpful when the advice is for better site organization. Good tips on WordPress tags that newbies should be using.

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