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Proper use of tags

  1. I was recently informed that I was a tag spammer and hurting my site more than helping it. I unfortunately took the advice of a friend that told me to make tags for anything and everything I could think of relating to my business. The result was about 120 tags for every post I created. I am learning day by day how to use wordpress (and I do love it) but I continually screw up things which inevitably doubles my work load. I've read about tags and categories somewhere on wordpress and I get the basic premise. But when I try to apply tags and categories to my own business I get confused on how to do it right. So, what I'm asking is for someone to point me in the general direction on how to create tags and categories tailored to my business. I'm not asking for a free ride, just a jump start. I am a San Diego based chiropractor that performs mobile rehab (intensive spine strengthening) programs for people with chronic lower back pain. That is the condensed version. So, for example, is "back pain relief" a good tag or too general? Also, is it the same as "relieve back pain" or would this also need to be included? I think I read that tags should only be 3 words max and that I should have no more than 10? What about categories? I find this very confusing. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    The blog I need help with is spinestrong.com.

  2. I'm not an wordpress expert, have only had my blog 11 months, just interested in this topic. Tags can take up a lot of room at the bottom of the post. On my homepage, most of my posts just have the first paragraph or so with a "read more" after it to click on if someone wants to read the whole post.
    However all the tags are printed below that intro paragraph, if there are too many tags it's a big visual interruption between the start of the next post. I've cut down, but may still have too many tags. And I think wordpress has some kind of limit to how many tags of yours that they will actually link to and use.

    Categories are different from tags--if a reader clicks on one of your categories they will be shown a list of links to all YOUR posts you have placed in that category (a post can be placed in many categories). But if a reader clicks on a tag, they go to a WordPress list of all wordpress blogs' posts with that tag. I don't know about google searches, whether tags or categories get preference when someone is searching for "back pain relief". For searches, I do think it might be safer to have "back pain" as a tag or category rather than "back pain relief"---you'll only get people searching for or clicking on those whole 3 words, googling "back pain" might not get to you. Then have 'chiropractic' or words more specific to you as separate tags. Not sure what you mean by "mobile"--if it means that you do house calls that would be something to really highlight...pretty unique!

    Searches will put your blog WAY down the line like page 50 or 200 in a search result list until your blog has been around for a while and used and linked to alot by other sites. So tags aren't magic traffic-getters, anyway. Google ranks results to searches by how popular and linked-to they are, not by exactness of the tag or category. Crowding up your posts with tags does not mean they will draw business at all, especially if your blog doesn't have a following or links to it from respected sites. (as opposed to your friend so-and-so's site or blog).

  3. As far as the global wp.com tag pages are concerned, categories and tags are exactly the same thing: tags.
    As far as search engines are concerned, proper use of tags is no tags at all. Tags have been greatly abused to deceive users and drive traffic to totally unrelated sites, so search engines nowadays pay more attention to your content rather than your tags. Watch Google's own Matt Cutts:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A96yDPqa2rs

  4. @danb377 first off have a look at this page and click any links that seem relevant to you:

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/?s=tags+

    Next, there are a couple of pages here on Timethief's very helpful blog, that might help:

    http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/03/10/blogging-tips-tag-to-increase-traffic/

    http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2008/02/19/wordpresscom-tagging-tips-dont-be-a-spam-dexer/

    @ingridcc You said this: "Categories are different from tags--if a reader clicks on one of your categories they will be shown a list of links to all YOUR posts you have placed in that category (a post can be placed in many categories). But if a reader clicks on a tag, they go to a WordPress list of all wordpress blogs' posts with that tag." But in actual fact WordPress.com changed that a while ago and now neither Categories nor Tags go to a WordPress list of all WordPress blogs' posts with that tag, they go to your own Tag page for that tag.

  5. @ panos - sorry, our comments must've passed each other in the space time continuum!

  6. @ panos - sorry, our comments must've passed each other in the space time continuum!

  7. Thanks for the clarification. This is really good info--i'm going to revise all my tags now. I like that tags will work for internal reference to other posts on my blog.

    The one thing I used to use them for that now might not work (?) is I would put "erroneous" but commonly used terms for my content as tags--terms that people might search for but that I prefer not to use myself. So that doesn't work at all? I really don't like using some of those terms, yet others have/ do use them and I'd like searches for them to find me!

  8. I would put "erroneous" but commonly used terms for my content as tags--terms that people might search for but that I prefer not to use myself. So that doesn't work at all? I really don't like using some of those terms, yet others have/ do use them and I'd like searches for them to find me!

    Search bots are focused on what is in your content. They most certainly can detect when tags/categories are unsupported by keywords and keywords phrases found in the text.

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  10. I have two completely unrelated single-subject blogs on WordPress (one for a year, and the other a month). Having a number of other websites, I feel comfortable with the use of tags, but have been (and still am) confused about categories. If my entire blog is on one subject, is it best to leave it uncategorized? Will assigning a category limit traffic instead of broadening it?

  11. See here please for an explanation provided by Staff > categories vs tags
    If you entire blog is on one category then I would create that Category and assign it as the default category and delete the universal "uncategorized" category.

  12. Thanks, timethief, I'll check out the videos.
    The "erroneous" terms I referred to certainly to relate to my content...most of them are what I consider overly technical: "Finger-held loop-manipulation braiding" or "loop manipulation" instead of loop braiding... Also medieval terms for this craft that are occasionally still used but are very archaic language, like "bowes" or "boes" for loops, and "laces" for braids. I rarely but occasionally mention them in my text--mostly I use what I consider to be plain, clear, modern English terms...I don't want to continually be throwing in terms I think sound a bit ridiculous or extremely archaic.

    In general I come up very high in google searches for my subject, but I don't want to lose someone just because they're using an archaic or overly technical search-term...

  13. @ingridcc
    Hello there,
    Thanks for posting again - understood. :)

  14. ingridcc: using mis-spellings is a classic spam technique, but there's no such thing as "Overly Technical". If it's what your post is about, use it. Be aware, however, that every tag you add after around ten makes you look more and more desperate (and I say that as a tag abuser myself).

    Figure out what your post is really about at the deepest level and use that as your tag, then add a few related, less central tags.

  15. Thanks everyone for the info!. i'll check out these tutorials and come up with a better game plan

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