Tags, Categories and Being Found
I’ve searched and read everything I see about Tags and Categories, but have yet to find a comprehensive discussion of what they are for and how they relate to my blog being found by readers. I have the feeling I am not using them correctly. My blog is at http://iwanticewater.wordpress.com/ Can anyone point me some good help?
The blog I need help with is iwanticewater.wordpress.com.
If you say you’ve read everything you can about them, but still don’t know what they are for or how they help you get found, perhaps it’s better if you tell us what you have learned. Then we can add comments. Because I know that I, personally, have answered those questions twenty or thirty times in the last year in this forum and those posts are still around.
How old is your blog?
How many tags and categories do you use on each post?
Thanks for responding raincoaster.
As far as I can tell, selecting either a tag or a category from the sidebar widgets produces a collection of my posts that contain that tag or category. If I select one from the body of one of my posts, I’m taken to the WordPress.com Blogs about: page. I’m not sure how the linkage here works, since only tags are shown for the blogs listed and don’t always include the tag I clicked on in my post – but the blogs are related.
I started my blog on Blogger back in November, then imported to WP in February. As of now I have a total of 90 categories and 60 Tags that I have accumulated, of which I generally use a total of 15 to 20 per post. These grew out of the belief that they were like keywords that can be searched for. So I figured that the more ways I can identify what a post is about, then the more likely someone will find it. However, I recently read that exceeding 12 total keeps me from being considered for the WP hot blog list (at least I think that’s what it meant).
The problem is that nowhere have I found a good statement of how they SHOULD be used to best effect for attracting readers to my blog.
Using 15-20 per post is entirely self-destructive, as it will get you labeled a tag spammer and dropped from the global tag and category pages. You must use 12 or fewer on each post in order to be included in the listings. Regardless of their keyword juice, you WANT to be included in those pages, so don’t use more than 12.
What you’ve observed about the global tag pages vs local tag pages is correct. You must have the tag cloud widget in your sidebar in order for people to navigate JUST your posts with that tag; same with the category widget. One of the reasons the global pages are set this way is for SEO juice. Used properly, this gives you a huge advantage over blogspot or independent WP blogs.
Here is a thread on how to use Keywords for maximum effect:
Thanks raincoaster. Now that’s help!
Hey raincoaster. Thanks again. I’ve begun the work of eliminating extraneous tags and categories, so I’m looking for ways to save work (slow PC). Is there an advantage to one over the other? I can eliminate a widget if I can just go with one. Also, if a post has “xyz” as both a tag and a category, does that count as 1 or 2 when it comes to the total count?
Duplicates count as 2.
Categories and tags work the same way in terms of global search. You can use only tags or only categories.
For some people, having both is useful for organizing a blog. For example, if you are writing about 3 very different topics like food, sports, and origami, then you can have those categories. When readers choose the category “sports” then they can see only your posts about “sports.” And if you are writing about whiffleball, curling, and cricket, your sports posts could have those (more specific) tags.
Also, there is a limit to the number of tags that will appear in a tag cloud. Somewhere around 50?? (I’m not sure exactly) will show, though of course you can have as many as you want. Readers won’t be able to see them in your sidebar, though.
With categories, on the other hand, you can have as many as you want in your drop-down category widget. Categories can also be hierarchal—main parent category with many child or sub-categories. Even the child categories can have sub-categories.
Thanks again. I’ve decided to go with categories only. But now I have a problem: When I was just reducing the total count and eliminating duplicates using Quick Edit on the Edit Posts page, everything worked just fine. But now that I’m trying to delete all of the tags for a post, they’re still there after updating the post. I’ve tried refreshing the page and even logging out and back in, to no avail. Any ideas?
You’re deleting tags one post at a time? Why not go to Posts>Post Tags and delete them all in one fell swoop?
Man! I didn’t realize that I could do that! I was trying to make sure that each post had the category to match the tag I was deleting, but it was taking so long that I’m starting to not care. It would be nice if there was a conversion function somewhere. Is there?
Oops! I remembered that there is a category to tag converter! When I went there, I found a button labeled Tags to Categories!
Now you’re walking on my favorite path – the path of least resistence.
A friend used to refer to himself as a “Master Of Lazy.” He said this as if referring to a martial art. :)
I’ve converted my tags to categories and then deleted all my tags. But the darn things still show on the Edit Posts page and on the posts themselves. I’m going to try clearing my cache and restarting my browser to see if they go away.
Nope. They’re still there!
Just FYI, I went back to edit posts, selected everything, selected bulk edit, and updated posts without making changes. All appears to be right with the world again!
Go to posts > post tags and you can delete them from there. You can do a “select all” by clicking the check box on the left end of the list bar and then select “delete” from the “bulk actions” pull down and then click “apply.”
Got that all taken care of – or at least as much as I can stand for now. I’m now only using categories and no post has more than 12. But since these have all been previously posted, will the changes I’ve made affect my ability to be included on lists that will help my blog get more readers? If not, what else can I do?
Yes, once you have 12 or less (tags + categories) then your posts will start appearing in the wordpress global tags/categories pages.
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