If you are a bit confused about how to use tags for WordPress SEO, trust me, you are not alone. I am often asked if tagging posts is even worth the bother and the answer is YES, but only if you use WordPress and tag your posts smartly.
WordPress Post tags are so often confused with keywords and therefore, alot of redundant tags are created for the same topic. When this happens, saturation of overused tags are created, which won’t garner topic authority for any of your tags.
Bottom line – Be smart. Don’t get tag slap happy with post tagging because with tags more isn’t always better.
Hot Topic Navigation
All content management systems like WordPress use tags and most social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and Myspace use tags to identity videos, pictures, music, etc. Tags are where it’s at so you need to know how to use tags properly.
If you have an organized and uniform, tag cloud on your sidebar, tags offer site visitors a quick and easy way to navigate through topics of interest. They CLICK on a tag and are brought to an archival page of related article excerpts tagged in the exact same way – A quick and easy scan of information.
Your average site visitor is not going to wade through months of post archives to find what they’re looking for, no matter how amazing your content is, so make it easy to navigate. In two blinks of an eye, they will move onto an easier site to navigate.
Tags can help build your website topic authority if you allow tags to be indexed and use them correctly. Tag uniformity is important so get into the habit of choosing from “most used tags” rather than make redundant tags for the same topic. Tags are also case sensitive so make all your tags upper case or lower case and stick to it.
Let’s say for example that you write a post about foreclosures in North Carolina and tag your post “Foreclosures North Carolina.” Down the road you write another post and tag it “North Carolina Foreclosures.“ Further down the road you write another post and tag it “foreclosures (lower case f) North Carolina.”
In the above example, three separate tag feed pages were created for the exact same topic and tag topic authority was diluted. Not only that, when a visitor clicks on ”Foreclosures North Carolina“ within the tag cloud, they access only those posts tagged in the exact same way, even though there maybe other posts on the same topic, tagged in a slightly different way.
Cleaning Up Your Tags and Tag Cloud
If your tag cloud is messy and filled with a lot of redundant tags, I highly recommend that you do a little tag house cleaning. Yes, this may seem like a tedious task, but trust me, the topic authority and usability benefits you will garner from taking a few steps back and fixing your tags so your tag cloud is pretty and neat will be worth the effort.
Neat and Pretty Tags and Tag Cloud
The tag cloud to the right, created by http://www.stynesgroup.com/, is a good example of how a tag cloud should look . The tags are neat, organized, uniform and geo-targeted (real estate). Nice job StynesGroup. You get it!
Opening up Tags or Categories in Your Sitemap and SEO Settings
Either categories OR tags should be indexed, never both. You can choose what you allow in your XML Sitemap under ”Sitemap Content.” Next, make sure “Use No- index for Archives” and “Use No-index for Categories” is checked and “Use No-index for Posts” is unchecked.
When to Use Tags or Categories
If you publish 2 to 3 blog posts per week, I recommend indexing tags. If you are only able to write 1 to 4 blog posts per month, I recommend indexing categories. Again, choose one or the other, not both. If you choose to open up tags to search engines, make sure that your tag archival pages display post excerpts (400 characters or less) rather than the entire post to avoid duplicate content and usability issues (it’s not all about SEO).
If you are blogging on a Genesis WordPress framework (highly recommended) or another updated version of WordPress, you can choose “Display Post Excerpts” in Archives under Theme Settings. The content archives option will affect any blog listings page including: archive, author, blog, category, search and tag pages. If you are running an older version of WordPress, you can modify your archives.php or use an archive limit content plug in.
That’s my story on how to use tags for WordPress. Hope it helps!!
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