Tidbits of Wisdom: Using Categories & Tags
Blogging is one of the best ways to demonstrate credibility and drive targeted traffic to your website. While highly effective, this fact is hardly a secret, which is why upon conducting a search on nearly any topic, you can find a blog post or two (or twenty). So you need to do everything possible to get searchers to select your post from the sea of relevant search results – including proper use of metatags and other on-page SEO strategies.
Many of the factors influencing your site’s rank in the search engines are based on website analytics associated with the behavior of your website visitors. Factors including how long visitors spend on your site, how many pages they view during their visit, and whether they are first-time or returning visitors all impact your ranking in search results.
While useful content is the most important factor, your website will be more attractive to visitors if you offer a positive user experience. Specifically, making your website easy to navigate and user-friendly means visitors will be more likely to explore more deeply and return again. If you’re blogging, effective use of categories and tags in your blog can positively impact the user experience.
What are categories and tags, and what’s the difference?
Categories and tags are both ways to organize and classify content in logical hierarchy, so that a searcher can easily locate content of interest. The term used to describe this hierarchy is taxonomy. Blogging platforms like WordPress and Drupal offer functionality that enables you to provide an intuitive user experience for your website visitors.
Categories are generally broad topics that you blog about. They vary based upon your niche and are often specific to your business’ key focus areas. The chart below offers potential categories for various types of businesses.
Typically a blog post would be assigned to a single category, although there can be overlap. For example, if a sales consultant blogs about strategies to compensate new sales representatives while they are in training, the post could be assigned to both the Sales Training and Compensation categories.
Tags provide more specificity of the subject matter in a blog post, drilling down to details like an index in a cookbook. Multiple tags can be added to an individual post. As you can see in the example below, the tags are more detailed than the categories.
While the categories for the college coaching business may include Applications and Financial Aid, likely tags would include Merit Aid, Grants, and Loans.
Continue to guide the visitor with guided navigation
Including categories and tags on your blog posts can help searchers to find your content more easily in search results. Once visitors click through to your site, utilize additional search capabilities to help them find additional relevant content.
For example, tag clouds show which tags are used most frequently, and enable a visitor to click through to view a subset of content with a particular tag. Drop-down search menus offer visitors the ability to search your blog based on a particular category or by date. In WordPress, pre-coded widgets provide this functionality and can be personalized for your site.