Tags and categories – Learn the SEO fundamentals that add value to websites

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Tags and categories – Learn the SEO fundamentals that add value to websites

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 15:58
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Just as much important it is to publish high-quality content on sites consistently for consumer engagement, it is perhaps equally important to pay attention to taxonomy for improving the usability of websites. Since providing better user experience is the goal of any marketer, you cannot afford to overlook the aspect of taxonomy that comprises of categories and tags of WordPress websites.  Unless it is easy to sort content conveniently, viewers will find it difficult to quickly identify the content they are looking for. The search for content becomes easy when you have categories and tags in place.  Meaning, when users visit your website, they can browse through the topic of the content instead of going through the chronological order of posts created following the sequence when you initially set up the blogs.

In this article, we will discuss categories and tags in details to understand its differences and how to use the taxonomy for improving SEO.

Why is taxonomy important?

According to the experts at Align Digital Marketing Victoria SEO, a digital marketing company, taxonomy is essential because it can improve the website's SEO. By default, WordPress has categories and tags, but you can add more if you wish. To make it easy for end users to focus on the content of their choice, you have to use taxonomy correctly because doing it wrong can have an adverse effect on SEO.

Structuring content

Often, we use the terms categories and tags interchangeably, but these are entirely different from one another as much as chalk and cheese. When you look at the visual Metadata of any website you will come across tags and categories that help to create the structure of site content. Sometimes you will see these as clickable links on the sidebars of websites. Categories and tags mix-up do not have any impact on end users, who are happy as long as they can see it but it is essential for web developers and website owners because it impacts the SEO performance of websites. However, for WordPress websites, in some instances, it is beneficial to use categories over tags that you must understand clearly.

  • Categories – Categories help to create broad groups for your posts. It is similar to the general topics of the table of contents of your website, and it tells what the blog post is about.  It helps viewers to locate the type of content they are looking for on your site. Since categories are hierarchical, there are sub-categories too. It is mandatory to create categories for posts, or else it remains uncategorized.
  • Tags – If categories operate at a macro level of the website structure, tags operate at the micro level of the same structure as it helps to describe the specific details of the blog post. Tags are nothing but index words of the post that becomes its identifiable mark.  Tags are not hierarchical, and you can use it to break down the categories into more refined and micro level. Adding tags is not mandatory but having it will ease the process of finding posts quickly.

For this article, we will focus on category archives to understand its importance.

Category archives turn into landing pages

Even if you create individual landing pages for your website, by default the category archives turn into landing pages and are more critical than individual pages of the website. That is true regardless of whether it is an e-commerce site, blog or something else. The archives become the landing pages because it shows up as the first result in search engines and thus must be capable of providing the best user experience.  It is truer because of the chances that your pages might expire. Like in e-commerce sites although the products and product pages might change the categories remain unchanged.  The same is true for websites that carry job listings.

Categories eliminate the chances of inter-page competition

Suppose you sell sports shoes and optimize every product page that contains different types and brands of the item, whenever the term ‘sports shoes' comes up in searches, all those pages will compete for the term ‘sports shoes.' To avoid the problem of pages competing with one another, the optimization should happen for a specific make, model, and brand and then link it to the ‘sports shoes' category page. In the end, the category page ranks for ‘sports shoes' and the individual pages rank for more specific terms. It prevents the chances of pages competing with one another. The method of using category archives is the same for any website.

Create awesome category pages

Despite knowing the importance of taxonomy archives for websites, it often does not receive the attention it deserves. It is not at all difficult to create category pages by adding a fragment of introductory content on the page that can make it look awesome. To reinforce the page for SEO improvement, add some links to the original content that point to the best products or articles in that category. It helps in reducing the bounce rate because when a user reaches the page, he or she knows that they have arrived at the right place. A right category archive page will encourage visitors to explore more of the website and keep them engaged longer. You must create some custom text to accompany the categories and tags.

Avoid duplicate tags and categories

You cannot have the same terms appearing in categories as well as tags, and you must eliminate duplicates to avoid confusion. If the same phrase appears at both places, search engines will find it difficult to decide which one to rank. Similarly, choose either singular or plural terms and never make a mistake using both together like a vest and vests. Use any one.

Adding subcategories is discretionary, and it depends on the type of contents the website carries and the way you want to structure it. How you arrange the content is your choice and knowing your options will place you better when deciding what kinds of structure would be good for your website.