Understanding “Tags” and “Categories”
Coming from blogger where labels are the norm I quickly had to learn the differences regarding tags and categories. I assumed fellow WordPress bloggers understood them but recently I had the chance to look under the hood of four WordPress blogs and was surprised by their categories and tags. So I decided to share what my research has learned, and what the experts recommends and help you clean house.
Tags & Categories Offer Many Benefits
- help a viewer search for content and increase their interaction with website
- bring new visitors to your site via Goggle and search engines
What the Heck are Tags & Categories?
Let’s think of tags & categories as being part of a book. So your blog is a giant book of reviews, spotlights, guest posts, giveaways, memes, discussions, features etc. The Tags are the index in the back of the book that help you find keywords like romance, vampires, and fantasy or swoon-worthy book boyfriends. The Categories are the table of contents at the front of the book that tell you what you can find in each chapter; review, blog tour, giveaway, cover reveal, discussions.
How Should I Use Categories? Is there a limit?
- Categories are a generalized view of the content. Therefore we want to have as few as possible to help viewers and Google navigate our site. The categories we choose should be specific enough that a viewer would know what category to begin searching under. For example: Review, Blog Tours, Guest Post, Giveaway, Event or Feature.
- Next, look at your posts and decide what category they fall under. For example a review of book X with a giveaway might be in two categories; review and giveaway. A read-a-thon goal post might fall under Events or perhaps Community Events. If you participate in a weekly event such as a Book Haul you might want them to be filed under their own category. If you find a large number of posts you aren’t sure where to place you may need a new category. You can place one post in several categories for example a review post, with a guest post and giveaway could be placed in all three categories. (Review/Guest Post/Giveaway)
How Should I Use Tags? Is there a limit?
- Remember I said “Tags are like the index of your book?” These are words to describe the meat of a particular post/book/meme. For example let’s say I want to read a book on romance but I also want it to be a friends to lovers trope. Tags can help me find it on google. So the tags would be romance, friends to lovers. But what if I wanted it to also be a book on witches? Tags will help narrow the search. If you have the tags romance, friends to lovers, witches then your post on this particular review, or discussion topic will direct me to your blog. The same thing will happen if I type a tag into your blog search. Like friends to lovers. Any book with that tag will appear.
- There are no limit to the number of tags you can use. The more you use these words to describe your content, the more likely your post will appear in a search. Having said that, you want to find tags you can use over and over again. For example, military men, haters to lovers, clean romance, steamy, book haul. Keep them simple and really pinpoint the meat of the article.
Other Sources Regarding Tags & Categories
Using Categories and Tags Effectively on Your Blog
Posts » Categories vs. Tags
Categories and Tags: SEO Best Practices For Sorting Your WordPress Content
Wish I had read this years ago. I just redid my tags and cats because someone shared these very facts.
Somethings aren’t as simple as they look.
Anna from Shout with Emaginette
That is exactly why I shared 🙂
I love this post. I have made a mess of my categories because I didn’t know what I was doing when I started out, then just kept doing it. Thanks for the helpful hints and I will be putting this in my tip file.
It is something you can go through and fix a few at a time.
Thanks, Kim. I will be doing that. ^_^
These are great tips that you post. I’m always checking out that section of your site. Wonderful advice.
Sharon’s Book Nook!
thanks Sharon 🙂
This was so helpful! I just moved to WordPress and wasn’t sure how categories differed from tags.
congrats on your move to WordPress and I am glad this cleared things up.
Sadly, I never in my two years and two versions of my blog did I have a category called “review”! I considered everything a review unless it wasn’t. But in my defense, I started my blog near when you did and did we know a thing about seo? Ok, YOU probably did but I didn’t!! I wasn’t even thinking about people searching my blog. I know I will thinking in terms of categories and tags better now!!! Thanks!!!
… back to reading… 😀
With blogger it didn’t matter since we had labels. Glad this changed your perspective.
Oh, this is so helpful! I’m one of those who hasn’t been doing this quite right. I actually don’t use tags because I didn’t know what to do with them – I figured I have categories why do I need tags too. Ooops! I think my categories are ok, but I guess I need to go through and think tags. This may be a bloggiesta to-do item next time – though I’ll start using tags moving forward.
glad you found it helpful!
Very good post, Kimba. You have a great way of explaining things! I think I use categories okay, but I do need to use more tags sometimes.
So glad I made it simple for you. Thanks Jan 🙂
I always wondered the difference. I don’t use wordpress yet but I do for my job so this is helpful.
glad you found it enlightening.
Ooh, thanks for the tips — I definitely need to clean up my labels. And if I ever make the switch to WP, I’m keeping this post in mind! 😀
I am glad you found this useful, thanks 🙂
A Voracious Reader
This makes complete sense. I’ll have to remember this if (when) I switch to WP. Thanks, Kimba!
thanks Carol 🙂
The index and chapters analogy is pretty ingenious Kimba. I used to have difficulties explaining tags and categories when I was teaching WordPress. I wish your post had been around for me back then! Haha 🙂
You made me smile..thanks 🙂
Thanks Kimba, this is how I actually first found your blog by searching for Blogger tips and tricks 🙂 One of my fav posts.
see those search engine work..and I am delighted you found me and enjoy these posts 🙂
oh gosh I am terrible with Tags, I forget them 90% of the time 🙁 unfortunately
Lol, well they will help with searches and boost your rank on certain ones..so add them 🙂
Thanks for looking under my hood, Kim. 😉
Great post on tags and categories 😀 WIll definitely keept these in mind for my next post!
thanks Pooja 🙂
I don’t do so well with tagging. I have my normal ones, like young adult review, adult review, etc and then I usually tag the genre, and I tag it as read in 2014 so I can find all my reviews for one year easily. But I haven’t yet tagged as ‘friends to lovers’, etc. I sometimes tag the author, but not usually unless it’s an author I feature regularly. Once I move to wordpress maybe I’ll do better. 🙂 Thanks for this post though, I think it made me feel more confident in tagging and in categories (once I’m on wordpress and have that option).
Since your blog is on Blogger this isn’t an issue and this should help you when you make the move to the dark side..LOL
I love that you do these Kim, they are always so informative and helpful!
thanks Ali I appreciate the feed back
Oh nice post! I confess I try to limit my tags, and for a review it’s like author’s name, series and genre. Like that it can help too.
Don’t be afraid of tags, I know personally I have search for books using the tags like vampires, friends to lovers etc. I generally don’t use author name etc as tag since those are already in my meta data tags.
Victoria (aka Zemfirka)
Kim these posts are always so helpful! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
glad to hear it and you are welcome:)
Great post and a great way to describe the difference. I actually had to explain them last night but from now on, I am totally using what you said!
Awesome I am glad you like my explanation..I thought long and hard how to make it easier to understand.
Wonderful post and great advise. Thank you for this post.
my pleasure 🙂
Thanks for the tips!
Oh WP, I always give up on it
Well at least now ya know 🙂
Lovely post Kimba, I think it’s essential to use straight forward categories, but tags you can go to town with.