Most bloggers know how important tagging is. Tags allow you to retain a similar structure across almost all blogging platforms, unlike categories. What may be surprising however, is the amount of freedom tags give bloggers also leads to them being badly used.
With that in mind, let’s start at the top and explore what tags really are and what benefits they offer. Then we can cover how to use them properly.
What are Tags?
As one blogger describes them, “tags are your index words.” That is to say, tags allow users to easily find articles based on keywords. If a reader finds a post on your website about content marketing, they can easily find more about the topic on your site. This helps readers become more informed and spend more time on your site.
How to Use Tags Effectively
The most common issue with tags are over or under usage. You want to use enough tags to cover the relevant points people may be looking for, but you don’t want to overdo it. Sufyan bin Uzayr uses the example of tagging an article about the recent conflict in Syria to illustrate this idea. If you just tag the article “Syria” and “Middle East” you are missing out on a few important opportunities. However, if you use redundant tags such as “War in Middle East”, “Arab Revolt” and “Arab Spring” all on the same article, you are overdoing it. The key is to try not to repeat yourself.
SEO and Tags
Lately some bloggers have been suggesting that using tags in certain ways will increase your ranking somehow. This is clearly too good to be true, but that doesn’t mean you should write tags off immediately. If you index your tags efficiently, they hold their merit, but they aren’t ever going to be the magic potion some are suggesting.
Most importantly, tags are for your visitors to help with navigation, but using them improperly isn’t going to help anyone. Trying to keep navigation organized reflects in your SEO performance.