What are Wordpress Tags - How to Use Tags and Categories

Published June 05, 2024

Tags are a useful tool for organizing content on your WordPress site and making the user experience better. This article will explain what WordPress tags are, how they are different from categories and meta tags, and how to use them well to sort your posts. We'll also talk about good ways to use tags to improve your site's SEO and make it simpler for visitors to find relevant content.

Key Takeaways

  • Tags are keywords that connect related content across your website
  • WordPress tags are different from categories and meta tags
  • Use relevant, keyword-rich tags to improve SEO and user experience
  • Avoid overusing tags or linking unrelated posts with the same tag
  • Tag Cloud Block can highlight popular topics and improve site navigation

Understanding WordPress Tags

What Are WordPress Tags?

Tags in WordPress describe specific details or key concepts within a post or page. They are keywords that connect related content across your website. When a visitor clicks on a tag, they see a page that displays a list of all posts and pages that share the same tag. This helps visitors find additional content on your site that is relevant to their interests.

For example, if you have a blog about cooking, you might use tags like:

  • recipes
  • ingredients
  • cooking tips
  • healthy eating
  • desserts

When a visitor clicks on the "recipes" tag, they would see a list of all your posts that include recipes. This helps them quickly find the content they're interested in.

Tags help organize your content and improve the user experience on your WordPress site.

WordPress Tags vs. Categories

While both tags and categories organize content in WordPress, they serve different purposes.

Categories

  • Broad topics used to group related posts together
  • Required for every post
  • Can be organized in a hierarchical structure (parent and child categories)
  • Think of categories as the table of contents for your site

Tags

  • More specific, used to describe the details of a particular post
  • Optional
  • Do not have a hierarchical structure
  • Think of tags as the index that helps readers find specific information
graph TD A[WordPress Content] --> B[Categories] A --> C[Tags] B --> D[Broad Topics] B --> E[Required] B --> F[Hierarchical] C --> G[Specific Details] C --> H[Optional] C --> I[Non-Hierarchical]

WordPress Tags vs. Meta Tags

It is important to note the difference between WordPress tags and meta tags.

  • WordPress tags are used to categorize and describe the content within a post
  • Meta tags provide information about the entire website
    • Added to the <head> section of your WordPress site's HTML code
    • Include information such as the site's description, keywords, and author
    • Used by search engines to understand the content and purpose of a website

While search engines do consider meta tag data, WordPress tags and categories are more specific and are used to organize the content within your site.

graph TD A[WordPress Site] --> B[WordPress Tags] A --> C[Meta Tags] B --> D[Organize Content within Posts] C --> E[Provide Information about Entire Site] C --> F[Used by Search Engines]

Tags are a useful tool in WordPress that help you organize your content, improve the user experience, and make it easier for visitors to find related posts on your site. By understanding the difference between tags, categories, and meta tags, you can use them to your advantage and create a well-structured WordPress website that is easy to navigate and indexed by search engines.

When you add tags to your posts, you create tag archive pages that display all posts with a specific tag. This helps visitors discover your content and allows search engines to better understand the topics covered on your site. You can display frequently used tags using the tag cloud widget or block, which encourages users to explore related articles.

While categories are required and should be assigned to every post, tags are optional but can be a powerful way to describe the specific details of your content. By using a combination of categories and tags, you can create a well-organized WordPress site that is easy for both users and search engines to navigate.

How to Add Tags in WordPress

Adding Tags to Your Posts

Adding tags to your WordPress posts is simple. Here's how to do it:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, click "Posts" then "Add New."
  2. On the right sidebar, look for the "Tags" box.
  3. Enter relevant tags, each separated by a comma.

Revisit the Tags box once you've finished writing the post to add other relevant tags before the page goes live.

If you're unsure which tags to use, WordPress includes a "choose from the most used tags" option below the Tags box, which will suggest some of the most popular post tags. Even if none of these tags fit your post, they may provide inspiration to help refine your tag strategy.

Example

If you're writing a post about a new recipe for chocolate chip cookies, some relevant tags might include:

  • cookies
  • chocolate chip
  • baking
  • desserts
  • recipes

While tags are important to help categorize your content, more tags aren't always better. The rule of thumb is simple: value over volume. Instead of adding hundreds of tags to a post, focus on tags that deliver value by helping visitors find relevant content on your site quickly.

Tips for creating effective tags

  • Keep tags short and descriptive
  • Use lowercase letters and avoid special characters
  • Avoid using too many similar tags (e.g. "baking" and "bake")
  • Use plural forms of words when appropriate (e.g. "cookies" instead of "cookie")

Adding a Tag Cloud Block

A Tag Cloud Block lists up to the 100 most used tags on your posts. By clicking on a specific tag in the tag cloud, users will be directed to a list of all the posts associated with that tag. This makes it easier for them to explore related topics and discover more relevant information. It allows visitors to see which topics are most popular and trending on your site.

From an SEO perspective, the tag cloud block can also have a positive impact. It helps search engines understand the main themes and topics of your website, which can improve your site's visibility and rankings in search results.

To add a Tag Cloud Block:

  1. Click on the + icon in the top left of your site editor
  2. Open the blocks menu with a search bar
  3. Search for and add the Tag Cloud Block
  4. Customize the block settings as needed

Here are some customization options for the Tag Cloud Block:

Setting Description
Title Add a title above the tag cloud
Show tag counts Display the number of posts with each tag
Maximum number of tags to show Limit the number of tags displayed (default is 45)
Minimum font size Set the smallest font size for less popular tags
Maximum font size Set the largest font size for more popular tags

By using tags and the Tag Cloud Block, you can:

  • Improve the organization and discoverability of your content
  • Make it easier for visitors to find related information
  • Help search engines better understand your site's main topics
  • Highlight popular and trending topics on your site

WordPress Tags and SEO

Using Tags for SEO

When it comes to SEO, tag relevance is key to higher search engine rankings. It's important to create content that lends itself to relevant and specific tags.

For example, let's say you've done keyword research and found that many people are searching for home kitchen renovators in your area. While you could try to capture this market by linking every post to kitchen-related tags—even if the pages focus on other parts of your business—the disconnect between the content and the tags won't provide the SEO boost you want.

Instead, focus on creating content that is directly related to the tags you want to use. In the case of targeting the kitchen renovation market, this means writing blog posts and creating resources that address kitchen renovations. Then, use tags to highlight the shared characteristics and themes of these posts.

Some relevant tags for kitchen renovation content might include:

  • kitchen remodel
  • cabinet installation
  • countertop materials
  • kitchen layout
  • appliance selection

By using specific, relevant tags, you provide value for your visitors and make it easier for search engine algorithms to connect your content with relevant search queries.

However, it's important to avoid overusing tags or linking unrelated posts with the same tag. This can confuse both visitors and search engines, potentially hurting your SEO efforts.

Here are some best practices for using tags for SEO:

  1. Use descriptive, keyword-rich tags that reflect your post's content
  2. Limit the number of tags per post to avoid diluting their relevance
  3. Regularly review and update your tags to ensure they remain accurate and valuable
  4. Use tags consistently across your site to create a clear structure and improve navigation
  5. Monitor your site's analytics to see which tags are driving traffic and engagement

Examples of Effective Tag Usage

  1. A food blog using tags like vegan recipes, gluten-free, and 30-minute meals to categorize their content and make it easier for readers to find relevant posts.
  2. A travel website using tags such as budget travel, family-friendly destinations, and adventure travel to help visitors quickly locate content that matches their interests.
  3. A fitness blog using tags like home workouts, nutrition tips, and beginner fitness to organize their content and attract targeted traffic.

Benefits of Using Tags Effectively

Benefit Description
Improved User Experience Tags help visitors quickly find relevant content, making it easier to navigate your site and find the information they need.
Better SEO Using relevant, keyword-rich tags can help search engines understand your content and improve your rankings for targeted keywords.
Increased Engagement When visitors can easily find content that interests them, they're more likely to spend more time on your site and engage with your content.