Categories Vs. Tags: A Guide to Blog Searchability

In the world of blogging, one word stands out as the most important: searchability. It goes without saying that an up-to-date website and fresh content are crucial, but what’s the point of having a web presence if no one is able to find it? One way to quickly increase your blog’s searchability is by consistently and correctly using categories and tags. But what is the difference between the two? And how should they be used? Read on for tips on how to use categories and tags effectively to make your blog more search-friendly.


Categories Vs. Tags: A Guide to Blog Searchability

What are categories and tags?

Categories are the overarching themes that your posts fall under while tags are the components of specific posts. John Hayden of Socialbrite uses this analogy to explain the difference between categories and tags: “think of categories like the aisles in a grocery store and tags are like the ingredients in different foods.” You may only be able to find tomato soup in the canned foods section but tomatoes (one of the ingredients) can be found in multiple aisles (categories) such as the vegetable aisle and frozen food section. The purpose of both categories and tags is to allow readers to find similar content, the difference is simply scale: categories are the broad, overarching themes of your blog while tags describe the elements that make that entry unique.

How to choose strong WordPress tags

A tag should be highly specific to the content. If you have written an article about the benefits of investing in double-paned windows, choosing tags like “energy efficient home upgrades” and “double-paned windows” will help readers who are looking for specific information find your blog. Someone who is thinking about investing in new windows will never simply type “windows” into the search bar. Help readers find you by anticipating what they’re looking for. While it is okay to choose multiple tags for a single post, try to stick to only 2 or 3 and make an effort to use existing tags. Keeping your tags streamlined by eliminating redundant entries will help keep your blog focused.

How to choose strong WordPress categories

While tags should be specific and narrowly applicable, categories must be much more broad. Your categories should help your readers understand what your blog is about and what kind of content you cover. Effective categories should be clear enough to give readers an idea of what types of topics you blog about while being specific enough that people will have an understanding of your content when clicking on the category. For a home improvement site that might blog about the previous example, categories could include “renovation ideas” “home upgrade tips” or “exterior remodeling.”

Setting up useful tags and categories can be a hassle but it’s well worth it when you see your blog’s search ratings climb!

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