How to use tags and categories in WordPress correctly can be confusing. If you didn’t understand them when you first started blogging you should clean up your categories and tags on your website or blog to improve your SEO and bounce rate. It’s all about taxonomy which is a planned out structure to help users and search engines find your content and figure out if you have authority on a subject. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that Google uses these to rank your content, but the more related and precise your categories and tags are the easier it is for Google to find your content. Tags and categories will only help if you have your settings for Google to index your categories and tags and if they are SEO’d correctly then your actual tag or category will rank in search.
Does Google Use Tags and Categories in WordPress to Find You?
As I described in my course HOW TO LEARN SEO THE EASY WAY Google searches the car much like you would follow a map to a destination.
So think if Google wants to find your post for crock pot chicken. It seeks to find these keywords in your blog title, content, headers and meta description. However, let’s think further. What if someone searches for slow cooker chicken soup? Slow cooker and crock pot are often used interchangeably in the cooking world. If you only have a category for recipes how is Google or your reader to know that some of these are a crock pot recipe, a slow cooker recipe or anything else? If you did have a category for Crock Pot, then it would be logical to have a”slow cooker” tag. This will help boost you higher because the “Google Car” can follow that it is relevant to crock pot and slow cooker. This is where correctly using categories, sub-categories, and tags can really help your SEO.
Understanding How to Use Tags and Categories in WordPress
Let’s take recipes as a category, and I’ll show you what I mean. Below is a site map of a recipe category with sub-categories and a tag. Using categories and sub-categories are like organizing a filing system, and tags are a bridge for categories because they can take a common subject and point to more than one category. You chicken tag may be used for appetizers, soups, entrees and side dishes.
Let’s say someone Googles “pasta soup recipe made with chicken”. Your post is titled How to Cook Pasta Soup Recipes in the Crock Pot. You’ve included a pasta soup recipe that has chicken as the main ingredient but it’s not the primary focus of your post. Google will see that your post is a recipe (your category), a soup (your sub-category) and that it includes chicken (your tag). If you have several recipes that are soup, and you have several recipes that include chicken then Google says “she must really know about soup and chicken recipes.” Keep in mind it’s not as easy as this to get to the front of the line because you also have to have the other components of SEO but this is a simple explanation of how the hierarchy of taxonomies works.
When figuring out categories, sub-categories, and tags, you need to be thoughtful of what they are. If you also do SEO research when naming them that will help your SEO even more. Think of them as types and topics. Here are a few rules to understand how to tags and categories in WordPress to make them work for you not against you.
Categories – These should be broad topics not narrow. Each category should have a relatively equal number of posts within it. For instance, if you have a category of recipes and crafts you should not have 50 posts in the recipe category and only 15 in the crafts.
Sub-categories – These should be a further breakdown of a large category to further clarify it. Like in the picture above.
Tags – will further break down a post. You should not use a tag unless it pertains to multiple posts and they should never be the same as a category or sub-category. For example is you have a recipes category and a desserts sub-category you should not have a tag for either of these. Why? If your categories and tags are indexed, Google will not know which to pay attention to. You should also never use your blog name, hashtags, or irrelevant things that are only particular to that post as tags.
Use Tags and Categories in WordPress to Improve Your Bounce Rate
Being able to use tags and categories in WordPress correctly will also help your reader is to be able to click navigate your blog. You can see at the top of this post a Miss Information a user can click on my crockpot, recipes, or soups category and sub-categories and get more posts. Using visible categories, or breadcrumbs, in your posts can help readers find relevant content and give you more page views. They will click on these categories to find like recipes and spend more time on your site.
To learn more about taxonomy organization or if you’re in need of a taxonomy organization service, read more on our Taxonomies Organization Service page.