Intelligent Tagging - How To Use Tags Right

Think of Tags as part of your website's index, letting both readers and search engines lock in on a specific topic and easily find all the content on your site that is related to that topic.  Tags are a way of organizing your website content so that readers and search engines can find it easier.  

Tags not only help readers navigate your website, but they also have the benefit of making your blog more 'sticky' for visitors. If you’ve ever used a 'related posts' plugin, you know the benefits of letting readers know how to continue to read about the same topics on your website. Instead of hitting the back button to search for more info, they see that they can find it all on your website.

While the primary purpose of Tags are to help your readers navigate your blog posts and other content, using them properly will also improve your SEO.  How does that work?  The internal links of the Tags guide search engine bots to discover all your site’s content by following those links. The anchor text of the Tag names tell the search engines what topics your website is about, and allow you to rank for those targeted keywords.  

Note on this blog post that we used two Tags, Blogging/Content Creation and Search Engine Optimization, because this post is about both of those broader subjects. When you click on either of these, you are linked to a page that displays all posts with the same Tag.  You can see how useful that might be, for your readers as well as for search engines.

Here are Some Best Practices for Using Tags:

  • Use Tags like an index of your blog and other content
  • A Tag doesn’t need to be a summary of the entire post.  It can describe just a portion of the post.
  • If a Tag can be applied to multiple posts, then go ahead and create it.
  • Do Not create a Tag that only applies to one post. The purpose of Tags is to link related posts together, not just label them.
  • Use descriptive Tags that can stand on their own and still be clear. Think about the internal links you’re creating and how search engines will understand them.
  • Keep in mind that each tag you create will generate a new archive page on your website.  You may want to consider getting rid of or merging Tags that only link 2 or 3 posts.

When creating a new website and blog, we create a list of 'proposed' Tags to use to keep the blog posts and other content organized.  These Tags are based on (1) what content you find on a real estate brokerage website, and (2) keywords that users frequently search for in the specific geographic area of the brokerage.  You should do this for your website and/or blog (if they are not the same).  Create a well-thought-out list of Tags, and stick with those until you are writing about a new subject that deserves a new Tag.  

To wrap up, a word of caution . . . be sure your Tags are related to the post and not misleading in any way.  When a reader follows a Tag, their expectation is that they are going to get more information about the topic of interest.  Don't disappoint them.  Search engine bots have the same expectation, and if they don't find content that is related to the Tag, they may consider it misleading and 'not a good user experience'.  Bottom line:  You don't want to disappoint your readers or the search engine bots.


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