What Are Post Tags?

| April 4, 2012 | 0 Comments

What Are Post Tags imageWhat are post tags and what purpose do they serve in a blog or blog post?

Simply put, a post tag is a keyword used to categorize or group a blog post or content with other relevant content within a given site.

Tags serve three purposes:

  1. Tags provide visitors with an easy way to navigate a blog by linking readers to related content.
  2. Tags group content by mini-categories and keywords rather than relying exclusively on blog categories.
  3. Tags provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value since they are crawled and indexed by the search engines…More on this later!

What are they and why use them?

Post Tags imageA tag is essentially a hyperlink that links a visitor to a tag page that displays every related post that has also been tagged with that same keyword or phrase. Depending on your WordPress theme, tags are traditionally displayed at the bottom of the post content.

Now it is also important to realize that tags serve different purposes for different bloggers. Some bloggers actually rely on tags to provide an easier way for their visitors to navigate and find related content on their site. Other bloggers rely on post categories for this purpose and vice versa.

The primary difference between tags and categories is that tags have no hierarchy, so there is no Parent->Child relationship like that of categories.

How do I use tags?

In the case of MarketingMethodsOnline.com, I do not rely on post tags for navigational purposes. I rely more on the SEO value of post tags (if there is any), since I use relevant keywords within my blog posts as also my post tags.

For instance, “what are post tags” is the keyword that I am optimizing for in this blog post, and most likely the reason you are here reading this post.  You’ll also notice that the same keyword phrase is my tag at the bottom of this post. (Update: Not anymore.  I will be writing another post later on explaining why.)

I rely more on the actual categories of my blog to provide our visitors with an easy way to search for and find relevant content within this site, not the individual tags themselves.

Are they good for SEO?

You must realize that tags do not provide the SEO value and advantages that they use to since they have long been abused by other bloggers and not used for the purposes that they were intended for. As I mentioned earlier, tags were intended to help a visitor navigate a website. But bloggers have gotten to the point of stuffing their blog posts with as many useless and irrelevant tags as they can with the hopes that this will increase their rankings in the search engines. Unfortunately for these bloggers, search engines do not reward this behavior.

In fact, I do not believe that tags provide any SEO value whatsoever; not like they used to. They reason being; search engines have smartened up!

Have you ever been to a blog and noticed the 50+ tags that a particular author tagged their blog post with? This is the abuse that I am referring to, and Google has wised up to these type of black-hat practises.

In my particular case, I do not even let the search engines index my tag pages. This is just my personal preference. Every single one of my tag pages uses the ‘Do Follow, No Index’ attribute. Meaning the search engines can follow my tag links, but will not index them in their search results.

So with that being said, what are post tags to me?  Why do I even use them? To be quite honest, I really do not have an answer. I am still debating this practise.

As I search around the web, I notice more and more high authority blogs that do not even use tags themselves. I get the feeling that tags are becoming a thing of the past, but since WordPress still provides the capability to tag blog posts, I still take the time to use this function. The way I see it, tagging a post only takes a few extra seconds, so why not do it?

Next, learn How To Tag A Post!

What about you? Do you still take the time to tag your posts. What are your thoughts? What are post tags to you, and how do you use them?

Category: Blogging Tips, WordPress

About the Author ()

Dave Fennell is the founder and editor of Marketing Methods Online and BloggerGo. Learn more about him here. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

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