Search engines love blogs. Why?

  • They’re frequently updated
  • Tags and categories make it easy to decide what the page is about
  • When a user adds a comment it creates new content and often outbound links to more content
  • Content on blogs tends to be short and keyword rich (focused)

Tagging and categorizing your posts can help both the search engines and humans find your site when searching for the topic you want to be found for.

Categories on your blog
Categories are used to arrange a set of posts that all are about the same general subject. For example if I write 5 posts about music I may create categories for pop, blues, classical, country and rock.

Within the categories I will use tags to help further define what a post is about. In the category “pop” I might use tags like Madonna, Rihanna and Jason Derulo.

Madonna in Madrid
Image via Wikipedia

Tagging your blog post
Tags help your reader drill down to the details they want. Many blogs include a list of tags at the end of a post. This allows readers to click on a tag and see other posts that relate to that tag too. Try to re-use tags consistently. For example “Social Media Coach” and “social media coach” are not identical to search engines. Neither are “Social Media, Coach” and “Social_Media_Coach”. So if you create different tags the search engines see them each as being about a different topic and you don’t get the density to be on the first page of the search engine. That’s not Search Engine Optimization for your blog. You’re doing search engine de-optimization instead.

“Hey, that sounds great! So why don’t I just load my pages up with tags and categories and get the most amazing search engine optimization ever?”

Whoa there, it’s not that easy.

  • Categories and tags together can help you but if you use too many on one post or they’re not relevant to that post it can hurt your rankings.
  • Even worse, if you load a post up with tags and categories that both have the same name you could be penalized for duplicate content.
  • If you post too many tags related to your posts the search engines get information overload and don’t know how to classify you. That keeps you from being at the top of the search results.
  • While you can put the same post under multiple categories (music of the 80’s , pop) It’s a good general rule to make that an exception, and if you do it connect a post to no more than 2 categories.

Consistency is important here
If you create a new tag for every post you’re pretty much defeating the purpose of tagging. Re-using tags helps people find what they want to read and also builds credibility for search engines. If you’ve got a hundred posts tagged “Madonna” we’re probably not coming to your site for classical music. But we WILL come to see what you think about that material girl. If you tag every one of those posts with the name of the song and NOT Madonna the search engines may get some very different results.

Try to keep both your categoriy and your tag list short and to the point.

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