You want your blog posts to get noticed, even weeks and months after you’ve posted them. And while you can (and should!) repost them on social media from time to time, it’s also important that they’re well-organized and easy to find organically on your website.
This is there categories and tags come in. Categories and tags are a way to sort your blog content so when a visitor reads your recent post, they can easily search for more on the same topic rather than having to browse through your posts in chronological order.
So what’s the difference between categories and tags, and how do you know how to use them on your blog posts? Let’s take a look at the purpose of each first, before we dive any deeper.
[bctt tweet=”Categories and tags keep your blogs organized and easy to find organically on your site.” username=””]
Think about the purpose of your blog. What is it that you write about? These are the big, over-arching themes that you’ll use time and again on your posts. Your Zones of Genius, if you will.
Your categories will take on the role of the table of contents for your blog. Let’s take a health coach as an example. A health coach will likely write about exercise, nutrition, time management, mindset and weight loss and can use these as the main topics, or categories, she blogs about.
I recommend deciding what you’ll include in your categories up-front, rather than add categories as you develop your blog. Think about what you do in your business and use that as a guide. For example, an accountant might do personal and business taxes, bookkeeping, business set-up and budgets. All of these could be blog categories. And if she has a passion for saving her clients money, she would also include “ways to save” as a category—even if it’s not a service she specifically offers.
As you blog, it’s important that every post you add to your website fall under one of these categories. If your business expands, you can add a category—but only if you plan to include more blogs on the same category down the line.
[bctt tweet=”Every post you add to your blog should fall under one of your pre-determined categories.” username=””]
The tags you use in your blog posts will help to narrow down your topic a bit more. They are your blog’s index, the place where your audience can look for specific information. In the health coach example, a blog about using quinoa in place of pasta could be tagged with “low-carb meals” or “healthy alternatives.” And you could tag a blog about short, high-intensity workouts as “quick workouts,” which would fit in both the exercise and time management categories.
[bctt tweet=”Tags are your blog’s index, the place where your audience can look for specific information.” username=””]
You can be a bit more liberal with tags than with categories, but you’ll still want to keep them general. Unless you’ll have multiple blogs about quinoa, it’s best to not use that as a tag because it’s too specific.
Categories and Tags: How Many?
Think about the table of contents and index you might find in a book. What does it look like? You will likely have fewer categories (your table of contents) than tags (your index), since the categories are your big, over-arching topics.
Opinions vary on whether assigning one blog post to multiple categories will hurt your SEO. But again, since the whole premise of categories and tags is to make your content easier to find, I’d say you’re safe to do so. But if you’re finding that many blogs are falling into the same two or three categories, you might find it better to collapse the categories into one. For example, you might combine “gluten free” and “carb free” recipes might all fall under a “healthy alternatives” category instead of separate categories.
Boost Your SEO
Including categories and tags in every blog post is a must. Without them, your posts will “float” around your website without much meaning and they will be difficult to find.
[bctt tweet=”Without categories and tags, your blog posts will float around and be hard to find.” username=””]
But you can boost your SEO even more by adding descriptions to each of your categories and tags in the back-end of WordPress. In you dashboard, go to Posts>Categories or Post>Tags from your dashboard, click on the category or tag you want to add a description to, and click on it. If you use Yoast SEO, you’ll also be able to add a meta description and keyword for each.
Categories and tags are great organizational tools you can use to keep your website clean and easy to navigate—something your audience will appreciate. And the more helpful it is, the more your visitors will keep coming back for more.