categories and tags

Optimize The Use of Categories and Tags in WordPress

When you’re setting up your WordPress, categories and tags may confuse you as they seem similar. They both are used to organize your posts. Categories and tags, in fact, have distinct uses that could be optimized.

Categories and tags indeed are the navigator on your site. They make the site contents searchable so that the visitors can browse through your website easily. Well-managed categories and tags can create better experience for the visitors. No one would waste their time on your food blog scrolling down posts just to find a post about Italian food. Moreover, categories and tags can also boost your contents in search engine result.


The Differences

Categories are a way for broad grouping of your posts that fit the primary topics. It’s like the table content of your site which assists your visitors to understand what a post is about and find its related posts quickly. No matter what kind of site you’re running, a post must be assigned to a category. At WordPress’ default, your posts will fall under “Uncategorized” category which isn’t useful for the visitors at all. For instance, you could have a category named beauty on your fashion blog. You may also create subcategories such as eyes and lips.

On the other hand, tags are a way to describe your post in more details. If categories are like the table of contents, tags are like the index. People often mistake tags as default meta keywords while they’re not, that’s why you’ll find a post with lots of tags. You can add tag “eyeshadow” on your post that falls into eyes subcategories for example. That tag will lead you to all posts explaining about eyeshadow. Unlike categories that are hierarchical, structure of tags is completely flat. Also, you are not required to add any tags, but it will be useful to target more keyword describing your posts than categories provide.

Creating a category or a tag is very simple. You can create it within your posts draft, or you can create through WordPress dashboard. To create a category, navigate to Posts > Categories, or to Posts > Tags to create a tag.


Managing Categories and Tags

  • Think About Your Contents and Visitors

Before you begin anything, think about your content first and how to organize it like visitors might expect. What are the broad topics you intend to write about? What terms and phrases will people search for which could lead them to your posts? How can you make it easier for people to find your content? The answer should help you to manage categories and tags on your site. If you’re trying to improve your blog’s search engine optimization, categories and tags should be created around the keywords you’re trying to target.

  • Create The Organizational Structure First

You should build out your blog’s organization before creating posts. They can help you to stay on topic and determine what kind of content you need more to create. But you have to decide the categories and tags wisely. The last thing you need is for Google to send you traffic to a category or tag page that you deleted because the category and tag don’t help you in organizing.


The Misuse of Categories and Tags

  • Creating Too Many Categories and Tags

Some people have created more categories on their site than they need or assign one post into multiple categories. A category should be a broad umbrella for the topics of your posts. If you need more keywords to describe the content, use tags instead. It’s the same with tags. Too many tags could destroy the SEO of your posts, especially if the tags aren’t relevant to the content of the posts.

  • Duplicating Name

Common mistake that is easy to find is having the same name for categories and tags. If you create a category named “Food”, you shouldn’t create a tag that’s also ‘food’. Also, pay attention to the capitalization and singular-plural form, especially for tags. Many people have two tags which are basically the same, such as style and styles or Style and style.

  • No Categories and Tags At All

Too many personal blogs don’t provide categories and tags on their sites.  It makes difficult for visitors to browse on the site, which can drift them away. And note that search engines use categories to index your site.


As long as you use categories and tags on the right way, your blog will be well-organized and well-optimized. Have more tips and tricks about organizing a site? Share your thought on the comment! 🙂



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