To Tag or Not to Tag

Strategic, thoughtful content organization plays a significant role in the success of your blog. A well-organized blog makes it easier for readers to find the topics that most interest them and allows for seamless sharing to other social channels.

There are two primary ways you can organize your blog content for maximum impact: categories and tags. Known as taxonomies, categories and tags are different methods for sorting your content. Created to enhance the usability of your blog, these taxonomies give readers the ability to browse your content by topic in addition to the traditional chronological method.

Categories are similar to a table of contents, providing an outline of the broad topics that are covered in your blog. They are critical to the organization of your site, but should be used judiciously. Think general, overarching groupings, not tiny, hyper-detailed classifications.

Tags are similar to an index, providing specific entry points into your post content. Tags are not required for good blog organization, but they do provide readers with another easy way to find the information they want as quickly as possible.

As an example, if you have a blog discussing technology solutions you sell, you might create categories like Hardware, Software, Events, and Training. Then, if you write a post about an upcoming event, you will assign it to the Events category and add tags like the location, the topic, the event host, etc.

Or if you have a travel blog, you might create categories like Europe, North America, South America, etc., with subcategories for each country you visit. When you write a post about the Galapagos Islands, you will assign it to the South America>Ecuador category and add tags like islands, tortoises, wildlife, pacific ocean, etc.

So Should I Tag or Not?

The short answer is “yes.” But the short answer doesn’t tell the full story. You should only use tags if you are going to use them well. While categorizing your content is necessary, tags are supplemental. They support your categories by allowing you to keep the categories simple and broad, pushing the more detailed descriptors into tags. They also help your users find what they are looking for whether they are searching for general information or a specific topic.

However, tagging is not something that should be done haphazardly. Before you start tagging posts, it is a good idea to decide how you want to structure your tags so you can reuse them effectively. Ask yourself questions like:

  • When I tag events with their locations, will I use just the city, city and state, or city and country?
  • If I include state or country names, will I abbreviate or spell them out?
  • Will I use capitalization or make all tags lowercase?
  • Will I use lowercase even when I’m creating a tag for an acronym?

By making these decisions now, you can save a lot of time moving forward and establish the consistency that is necessary for tagging to truly work. Note these guidelines somewhere prominent and share them with any content contributors so all posts are tagged to comply with the standards.

As an extra tagging bonus, Jazzboo comes with an SEO plugin integrated into the blog framework, so all your tags are automatically translated into meta keywords, giving you an added boost in optimization with no extra effort on your part. Wins all around.

The Final Verdict

Absolutely use thoughtful and meaningful categories. Add tags to your posts for maximum benefit to search engines and your users, but only if you are willing to take a little time planning your tagging strategy and implementing it consistently. Good tagging is better than no tagging, but no tagging trumps bad tagging. And that’s the final verdict on whether to tag or not to tag.


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