“On my blog, should I use tags or categories or both or none?”
This has been an often asked question ever since blogosphere began to rapidly expand and platforms like WordPress and Blogger came into thick of popularity.
Professional bloggers are very much interested in making their blogs Search Engine Optimized (or SEO friendly as they call it). Organization of content in your blog matters a great deal if you see from SEO viewpoint. Blogging platforms usually have two methods of content organization namely tags and categories. But which one is better?
This is the million dollar question that puzzles most of the webmasters. I was no exception. But, after a lot of research, now I have declared my verdict:
Categories are better. Period.
I know, your next question would be: “why?” … so, let me answer this.
Categories are, you see, categories! These are meant for organizing a heap of content into a meaningful hierarchy. Whereas tags are… well… tags! They don’t really give a hierarchical arrangement to your content.
Analogically, categories are like table of content (TOC) in a book … And tags are like word index given at the end of the book. No doubt, both, TOC and index, have their own use in case of a book. But here we are considering categories and tags from SEO standpoint.
- Categories are for broad organization while tags can do micro-grouping of posts. But as you know most blogs are equipped with search facilities –so tags lose their importance on this account. Users will search for the term they are looking for and find the exact content. Bloggers don’t need to take it upon themselves to attach each pieces of post with tags.
- People hardly use tags for navigation. Categories arranged as breadcrumb trail are preferred method.
- It is difficult to manage tags. Bloggers are likely to go overboard in creating tags because tags are intuitively not used for organization. Tags are just for tagging. So, people go on tagging and tag too much.
- Attaching tags with a post takes significantly more time because there could be endless number of tags that can be attached to a post.
- Google and other search engines have become intelligent enough to find what your post is about even if you don’t tag it.
- Google can extract keywords or tags from a post on its own. So, so far as SEO is concerned –tags don’t play much useful role.
- And then of course you have META keywords to push tags into it –if you are not so sure about Google’s intelligence.
So, that was about why you should prefer categories over tags. Some people also tend to use both tags and categories! This could be a result of inability to decide which one to use OR this could be a safe play mechanism.
But having both tags and categories on your blog could lead to a potential problem of unintentional content duplication. READ MORE about it in my other article