Tags are commonly mistaken for keywords. Yes, you’ve got it right that both are crucially significant for practicing the best and latest SEO techniques; but tags are way too different from keywords! We will get into the details later in this article. Similarly, SEO toddlers often find it difficult to differentiate between ‘tags’ and ‘categories.
Hence, let us first concentrate on what Tags are? Tags can be referred to as – “acting index words for your article”. That is to say, you may or may not find the ‘tags’ in your article but they help researchers find your article in the relevant searches your blog segment. So, how do tags help in hunting down your article?
Adding tags help an article to rank higher in the SERP. Thus, they have been aptly called ‘index words’ as they rightly serve the purpose of indexing. The query is not yet fully solved. Now the question is – does one keep adding tags endlessly?
No. The addition of too many tags confuses the crawler of your search engine. This acts as a boomerang and degrades the performance of your article! According to experts, the recommended number of tags is less than 10. 6-7 tags are deemed to be one of the best SEO practices as far as tagging is concerned.
Testing the workability of your tags is crucial. Once you have uploaded the blog and added tags to it in the backend, search for a particular tag in the frontend’s Knowledgebase. It will certainly land you to the concerned blog or article on your website.
Organizing your content – Both tags and categories help in organizing your content. For instance, you have a website dealing with garments. You have moved on to writing about the latest textile technology that will cope with the rising heat and humidity. Here’s where you make use of Categories. You simply group your content in a separate category, say, “technology in garment-making”.
Getting into the content now, let’s say you have written about the varied fabrics available and top institutes that research garment types and variations as well! Considering this example, the following could be your post title, category, and tags –
Title: Some latest technologies incorporated in our fabrics to be launched post-2020
Categories: Garments technology, fashion inclusions post 2020
Tags: types of fabrics, textile technology institutes, dress materials, cotton glossy material, silk material, transparent silk fabrics, summer rayon, summer fabrics
That must have lent you a clear idea of what tags and categories be like. The tags that I have used for my example post above, have been chosen assuming that the ‘example’ website contains other contents (and not only the article concerned) based upon these topics! That’s the concept of tags – it organizes contents, or let’s say, ‘group of contents.
You can, therefore, say that tags aid in on-page SEO.
When your website visitor is going through one content, he/she may find the link of the relevant content on that same page.
Wait! There’s no competition between the two, in case you are assuming so on reading this subtitle! Many times I have come across this question, especially by beginners – how is the functionality of ‘categories’ and ‘blogs’ segregated from each other?
Many opine that there’s a fine line of difference between the two. Well, to my mind, both the concepts are grossly separate from each other. I give a crystal-clear explanation to my clients on this and here’s how they differ…
The Category of your article or blog is the description of the idea based upon which you have created the content. So, the category primarily comprises of the main topic of discussion within the blog and hence the blog is ‘placed under’ that particular category.
Tags, on the other hand, are more specific and tries to pinpoint the individual items that have been discussed within the blog. Therefore, tags deal with smaller things whereas, categories are meant to encompass larger or broader ideas.
So, categories can be a bit descriptive (I mean, you can at least take the liberty to do so), but, tags are shorter ones. This does not necessarily mean that tags are one-word or two-word syllables (although they are usually not longer than 3 words) but the ‘sense’ is shorter or more specific.
Will random adding of tags solely help your page to rank? No! And this is especially the case when tags are variations of the keyword(s) on the page. Google, instead of making you rank, perceives those ‘too many tags’ as keyword stuffing’ and penalizes your content for the same!
A second blunder often made is, using tags and categories that have been automatically generated by the CMS (content management system) that you are using! They are simply a list of pages that come under a particular tag. They are only good to find similar content related to your tags but not for ranking in SERP!
Your primary motive is to organize – Consider yourself as someone who did not know about your particular blog. What are the things which when searched for could bring the reader to your blog? Put this idea in the format of content and you will get a perfect category that aptly suits your content. For tags, be very particular about the items that your write-up has stressed upon (so that when people are hunting for them Google lets the hunters land on your page)!
Keep them long or short as required – Remember, categories can be a bit longer as their nature is descriptive. Here’s again reminding you, categories are purposed at describing your title to the audience.
Know how precise you need to be – By this, I mean to say that the number of categories can be less but the quality cannot be compromised with. That is, the category should be broad enough so that you don’t need 20 others to explain the niche of your content! If you find things to be extremely difficult, here’s an escape for you – use the Miscellaneous category which carries a ‘catch-all’ technique along with it!
Keep your tags short – Your tags, ideally, cannot be longer than 3 words. Your keywords may be used as tags but not mandatorily so! Don’t forget that tags are not the only SEOP tools at your hand, that is, they are not the only thing Google for (there are titles, hyperlinks, backlinks, etc.). So, you do not need to go overboard. As discussed earlier, it would be wise of you to keep them lesser than 10.
Beware of duplication – This mostly happens when you are using the same words for both your tags corner as well as the categories field. It not only confuses readers but also crawlers and might lead to duplication penalties! So, tags and categories need to be way apart!
Are you still confused? A freelance SEO consultant could make the job much easier for you. But if you’re eager to handle it yourself, you only need to keep this in mind – Category is a higher stratum of grouping whereas tagging is much more granular!