Last week we looked at how categories can help our blogs. Today lets take it a step further and look at how to use tags to help our blogs
Why Use Tags?
To be honest you don’t have to use tags for your blog posts, but you should because they can help you and your reader. Tags are a compliment to categories. They let you categorize your posts in greater detail. Last week I said that you wouldn’t want to have too many categories, but you can have as many tags as you want. You don’t want to go crazy with them though. You want to be able to use a lot of tags over and over to help relate your posts together. Look at them as popular keywords from your blog that help bring it all together.
How To Use Tags
In the past I have found tags to be very confusing. Should my categories and tags be the same? Should I have a tag for everything I mention anywhere in the post? I was so lost that I didn’t even attempt to tag some posts.
Let me help make tags easier to understand. They are used for two purposes. First you use them to help describe what your post is about. Second you want to use them as a keyword tool because the search engines will use them as such. You can use as many of them as you want, but it’s recommended that you don’t use more than 10. You want to focus on what your post is about, so it likely isn’t about more than ten things. Tags are very short. They usually are a word or two. You can do a few words, but don’t make them too long.
How about an example? During my first year of blogging I wrote a post about taking Nick to see Thomas the Train at The Henry Ford. I was very confused about tags at the time, so while some of them were OK others were a bit random and not all that useful. My tags were: Greenfield Village, McDonald’s, Model Trains. Thomas the Train, Trains, and Walking.
Now the post is under the category “Our Family” and the subcategory “Recaps.” What I should have done when I wrote the post was to look at my post and think about what keywords might be used to find that post. So I looked back at it and thought what is my post about? Now I would tag it with the keywords: The Henry Ford, Greenfield Village (it’s a division of The Henry Ford), Thomas the Train, and A Day out with Thomas. These tags will now help explain to my readers and the search engines what my post is actually about.
How Can Tags Help SEO?
When search engines crawl your page they will index the tags you list for each post. These will help them determine whether your post is relevant for different keywords or not. In other words if you use tags you’ll aide the search engines in understanding what your post is about and it will help the post to rank better.
You don’t have to use tags, but using them can only help your blog. They will help connect your posts together and they will help you rank better in the search engines. They can be confusing to use, but once you start using them you’ll have an easier time adding them. Just remember to focus on what your post is truly about, and think keywords.