Get Found with Tags & Categories!

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While all of my type-A bloggers will likely use tags and categories as a way to organize their posts into neat online boxes, they are much more important than just keeping posts organized on your blog! When you publish a post, your followers will see it hit the Reader or be notified via email. New readers rely on your efficient use of tags and categories to find your blog!Β  Tags and categories are searchable so you want to make sure you’re using ones that people can find! They need to be a combination of general and specific terms so they can leave digital breadcrumbs back to your post. Less is more when it comes to tags and categories so I suggest you use them wisely. You can only use a combination of no more than 15 tags/categories on the WordPress platform otherwise your post looks like spam and isn’t easily visible to others.

Tags and categories are pretty much the same thing. The difference is that categories are like files and tags are like stickers. If you find yourself using or wanting to use the same word to organize your post, you probably want to make it a category. For example, I have a 5-day blogging schedule. So I have a category called “Weekly Theme Post” which is the main file for my posts. That’s not something that’s going to get my post discovered because who else is using that to search by? But if I want to easily find something I can use that category and more importantly that’s the parent category for each of the 5 topics. So Mondays I post motivational quotes, my categories are then “Monday Motivation”.

The tags I use will vary from week to week depending on the content of the specific post. I generally use tags like “motivation”, “motivational quote”, and “inspiration”. If it’s a quote by Oprah I’ll use tags like “Oprah” “Oprah Winfrey” “wisdom” etc. If it’s a post about success, I’ll use tags like “success”, “results”, “work”, etc. Once you’ve used a tag, it will be shown in the box when you start typing. Tags are the stickers that I use to summarize what the post is about. You want these to be specific enough to where people know what the post is about and are looking for them but not so specific no one will search by them.

If you’re a lifestyle blogger, you might want to use a category called “Reviews” and then have subcategories such as “makeup”, “products”, “hair care”, etc. You’d also want to use tags such as the product brand and product type. If you review an event you attend you’d want to use tags such as the name of the event, and the location. That way when people search by those terms, your post will appear in the search results.

Another reason you want to use a combination of general and specific terms is because depending on the popularity of the tag or category your post might get buried in the results. Posts are shown in the Reader in the order they are published with the newest being on top. That means if you only use a couple of categories that are very popular, your post will get pushed down the Reader in a matter of seconds. On the flip side, if you use a category or tag that no one uses, it might be at the top for months but if no one is searching by it, it doesn’t do you any good. So try to use a mix of tags and categories to ensure your post is getting seen with a variety of search terms.

If you don’t know what tags to use, start by thinking of what you would look for to find the kind of post you’re publishing. Then start paying attention to the tags and categories other bloggers are using. If a blogger’s categories are visible at the bottom of the post, make a note! You might not use that specific category but the more you pay attention, the more you’ll get the hang of it and be able to use them more efficiently. The other thing I recommend is using WordPress hot tags. You are only going to want to use a handful because if all 15 of your tags and categories come from this list, you probably won’t get discovered by many readers. That page shows the most popular tags in real time. The bigger the tag the more popular it is. The more popular it is, the less time your post will spend at the top of the Reader for that tag. So make sure to mix it up!

Remember, it’s not just about the tags you use butΒ also the number of tags! I’ve seen several bloggers use over 30 tags for one post. I understand their train of thought “the more tags I use, the greater the post’s reach and better the chances of it being seen.” The only thing is, it doesn’t work that way. When you use over 15 tags, it actually limits you! WordPress actually suggests using between 5 and 15 tags/categories. Any more than that and you probably aren’t showing up on the Reader when people search a tag you’ve used. So be selective and pragmatic when utilizing tags and categories after all you want people to easily find that post you put so much work into publishing!


Did you learn anything from this post? What did you find most useful? Feel free to share in the comments. If you want to see a post with tips or tutorials I haven’t covered yet, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do to help you!Β 

28 thoughts on “Get Found with Tags & Categories!

  1. Very important aspect to blogging! I just spent a few hours over the weekend reorganizing my categories and tags. I think people tend to use tags like hashtags, putting any word that was highlighted in the post, but the chances that people are searching for something that specific are pretty low. I randomly put Travel in a couple of my posts and got such a HUGE immediate response it was crazy. Great advice!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yeah! Travel is a huuuuuge one. If you look on the hot tags page, travel is always a big one. I’m glad that you discovered that and put the time into reorganizing them. I’m sure you’ll find yourself getting more traffic by making small changes like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m sure that will help! Have you thought about a posting schedule? Maybe you can pick how many days a week you want to post and decide on a theme for those days. I have a daily posting schedule and I’ve found that really helps to keep me posting consistently and for there to be a sense of focus πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I did think about a posting schedule, a lot actually. For some reason I’m afraid it will narrow my focus too much, at least if I publicize it. This week was actually my test for scheduling out posts while I’m out of town and see if that helps to build some momentum. My first scheduled post was this mornings and I’m scheduled through Saturday. Hopefully that will help.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Maybe you leave the topics more broad…think category instead of tag. My topics are pretty broad (parenting, relationships, thought-provoking, etc.). They’re all very different from one another so neither I nor hopefully my readers get bored. The posts can look very different and I draw a lot of inspiration from the world around me. It helps me keep on track and posting regularly but I don’t find myself repeating. You can always change your categories it’s not set in stone. I even leave Wednesdays open to anything so that day is just random. It sounds like you’re finding the balance, trying to come from being all over the place to being more focused without zooming into anything too particular πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good reminders and advice, Niki! I’ve been blogging over a year, but still need lots of advice πŸ™‚ I have a question…. I always put about 10 tags on my posts, I try to be general, some specific. But I’ve never chosen a category. I’m assuming that one should be really broad? I’ll start doing that and see how it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found this helpful Jenny πŸ™‚ I like to look at categories as folders and tags as the dividers. Parenting would be a category and toddler and kids would be the tags for example. Categories are how I keep posts organized on my blog and tags are how others can find them. Both are searchable so in the end, I don’t think it matters much if it’s a tag or a category. I think the important thing is making sure you use a combination of broad and specific terms in the 10-15 tags/categories πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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