Using Tags and Categories in WordPress

By Jack Wynes     |     February 13, 2017

At this point, setting up a WordPress blog for your company is pretty much a no-brainer. But there is one aspect to maintaining a successful blog that is often overlooked or misunderstood: properly using categories and tags.

A good blog not only gives your website search engine visibility and tells your brand story to your fans, it gives potential and existing customers valuable information that they actually want to read. Using categories and tags strategically helps your readers easily find the content that is relevant to them, which makes building a relationship with your brand easier (always a good thing).

Categories

Let’s start with categories. While developing an SEO strategy for your business is beyond the scope of this post, categories should be chosen in line with your SEO strategy, which is based on your company’s business and communication goals. Think of categories like sections in the newspaper: you have the front page for the most important news, the local section, sports, classifieds, etc. These sections don’t change much; newspapers don’t add or subtract these sections willy-nilly. Similarly, once selected, your categories will remain largely unchanged. Blog posts shouldn’t have more than one category in the same way that one article would not appear both on the front page and sports section, for example.  

For a food brand, categories could include ‘recipes,’ ‘eating trends,’ and ‘press releases,’ for example. Categories should not include specific things under these umbrellas, such as ‘cookies.’ Your blog should have no more than five categories total. When thinking about what constitutes a category for your company, it can be helpful to consider whether the category could itself be a stand-alone blog. Recipes, for example, could likely be a stand-alone blog. If your category is strong enough to stand on its own, it’s a proper category.

Only using one category per post means users can filter what they read based on their interest. Customers might only come to the site for ‘recipes,’ while potential hires or even investors might first seek out ‘press releases.’ Organizing your blog under well-defined categories lets users easily find what they want to read, which improves their experience with the site and can ultimately deepen their relationship with the brand.

Tags

Unlike categories, you can use many tags for one post. Three to five is a good target, but if they’re relevant we’ve seen good examples of brands using many more. Continuing our newspaper analogy, tags are like the articles within a section. For example, in an article in the sports section about the playoffs, the category would be ‘sports’ and one of the tags would be ‘playoffs.’ There may be more tags, such as the teams competing, players highlighted, etc. Again, one category, multiple tags. You can use new tags for a post: they don’t have to be pulled from ones previously used.

Unlike categories, tags don’t have to be keyword focused. They do play a large part in how your readers navigate your content, just not how search engines find and rank your content.

Both categories and tags are important tools for making the most of your blog, and knowing how to use them properly has many benefits, both tangible and intangible. But we hope this little primer gave you some tools to make your blog relevant, searchable and enjoyable for your audience.

Write on!

About Jack Wynes

Jack is a Search Marketing Specialist at Room 214. Not sure what that means? In a nutshell, it means he monitors all sorts of web traffic and then gets real insightful about it. Jack also has a strong background in web design—something we can all capitalize on. With the exception of a slightly obsessive interest in organization and Buffalo, NY, Jack is a pretty alright guy. So reach out to him at jwynes@room214.com if you want to chat chicken wings, trail running or some third thing.

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