Some bloggers are already utilizing categories and tags on their site, but not all of them know how they can use it to connect, classify, and organize their content effectively.
According to Yoast, here are the reasons why you should use tags and categories on your blog:
- Category archives are landing pages.
- Categories prevent individual pages from competing.
- Breadcrumbs and category archives show Google the structure of your site and also enforces the authority of the category page for the topic.
With all the hype on organizing stuff and tidying up, in this article, you are going to learn how to properly organize your content using taxonomies. We interviewed 8 experts to share some tips on how to use them not only to tidy up your blog but to up your SEO game as well.
Marcus Miller, Bowler Hat
Taxonomies are one of those things that lots of people use without really knowing what they are. The word itself can even be a little confusing when applied to web content. So, the approach we like to use when planning content architecture is to think of content and taxonomies as a filing cabinet.
The specifics vary depending on the site but a good jump in point is:
- the website is a filing cabinet
- taxonomies are the draws in the filing
- sub taxonomies or alternative taxonomies are folders in a draw
- pages on the site are documents in the folders
With this approach, you can structure your content in a way that makes sense and that builds on the basic WordPress taxonomies that simply denote the type of content (page, post, category & tag).
As an example for we may have:
Now, with WordPress taxonomies, you can also organize these into categories and group with tags. Think of these like the little tabs you apply to your folders in a filing cabinet so you can easily group things together. We tend to use categories for major groups and tags (if we use them at all) for much more miner associations between entities.
- Product Categories
- Portfolio Categories
- News Categories
I then like to see this all reflected in the URL structure and navigation of the site so people (and of course search engines) can clearly understand what is what on the site. As much as we like to think, Google is amazing at what it does — a machine learning system like this still benefits from very clear labeling.
My main advice here is to just organize the content on your site in a way that makes sense and use taxonomies to do this. It will help you grow your site in a scalable way and ensure your site is understandable for users and search engines.
Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging
I use Categories and Tags routinely. Categories are your umbrella topic. This gets ranked by Google so I use it for SEO purposes. I also have a list of Categories on my blog in the right sidebar so people can find the topics they’re interested in when they come to my blog.
Tags also get ranked by Google. These are more specific. I use KWFinder to research tags that I could potentially rank for. My focus SEO keyword is one of those tags.
James McAllister, James McAllister Online
Content organization is more important today than it ever has been before. Those that succeed in the world of business are those that are not only able to attract an audience, but able to engage that audience enough to consume multiple pieces of content.
My companies use categories, tags, and custom taxonomies to group relevant content together that has similar intentions behind them, rather than just similar topics. We take steps to ensure that content grouped together is highly relevant to the same person, and anybody clicking through to one of these pages is presented with more content that is immediately relevant to them. This way, they don’t have to filter through a bunch of other pages to find their next article.
Every second you can save between one relevant piece of content and the next, decreases the likelihood that the visitor will opt to search on Google instead.
Ultimately, people need to engage with you enough to leave a lasting impression in their minds. Having the right taxonomy structure in place is proven to lead to reduced bounce rates, higher engagement, and a stronger brand.
Related Post: 6 Ways to Boost Customer Retention on Your Site
Sujan Patel, Voila Norbert
The best way to use taxonomies for organizing your content is how it simplifies content audits. Content audits should be performed twice a year and content marketing taxonomy aids this process as your content is organized in a much simpler and easy-to-understand way.
Gael Breton, Authority Hacker
At Authority Hacker, we use categories and tags very differently. Categories are front facing and are here for the user to see and navigate our content. We create custom category pages using the Elementor pro’s theme builder.
On the other hand, we use tags internally to trigger things like custom call to action pop-ups, post templates and other things that allow us to make the content exactly like we want it to look for the end user.
Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media
When you organize using directories that have short, descriptive labels there may be some SEO benefit. But I think a lot of people overestimate the importance of taxonomies to search rankings. Millions of pages rank well for competitive phrases despite the fact that they are poorly categorized or within a “bad” URL structure.
But one unquestionable benefit of having a simple directory structure is in your Analytics.
For example, if all the recipes are in the /recipes/ folder, you can filter for them quickly in the all pages report. If they aren’t in a folder (maybe they all live at the root) you’re going to need some fancy Analytics configurations to see these all in one report. Ever made a custom dimension? It’s not that much fun.
Ryan Robinson, ryrob.com
I’ve long been using taxonomies and tagging behind the scenes to create automatically updated topic landing pages across my blog. For example, I have several directory-style pages on my site (like my income report homepage: https://www.ryrob.com/income/ and podcast homepage: https://www.ryrob.com/podcast/) that get automatically updated when a new post gets published under that page’s associated category.
Shifting over to using taxonomies here by simply checking a category box now saves me a ton of time each week compared to when I used to manually update a static page with new content in order to achieve something like this.
Ashley Faulkes, Mad Lemmings
The answer really depends on the site and the goals of the business, but here are some examples of ways I use taxonomies on websites.
- Simple blog: if all you are doing is writing content that is to be presented in a blog, then I stick with categories alone. That way your backend is cleaner, the amount of auto-generated pages is less and you still have a way to group your content in a logical way, so that people can find related content.
- More complex content or re-use within a site. I have a client who makes use of this idea on a more complex medical website. He writes a lot of different content on the areas he specializes in and then re-uses that content in various pages on his site. As such, it is helpful for him to have both categories for broad groupings and tags for more refined ones. At first, I thought it might get out of hand and not be helpful, but he has managed to keep both to a minimum but still helpful enough to re-use the content throughout his site.
Over to You
WordPress taxonomies help you optimize your content. It’s important to know how to properly use them to manage your site efficiently. How about you, do you have some tips on how to use tags and categories? Let us know in the comments below!