Why I Deleted All My Post Tags

| May 14, 2012 | 4 Comments

Deleting Post Tags imageDeciding whether or not to delete all of my post tags has been a decision that I have been tossing around for sometime now, and I finally bit the bullet and deleted every single one of them.  This blog is now a tag-less blog.  And I tell you what, it is a weight off my shoulders!

Now you might be asking; “are you crazy; why in the world would you delete a functionality that bloggers have been using since the dawn of blogging creation?”  “Don’t tags affect traffic, SEO, and the overall visitor experience?”  The simple answer is; tags no longer provide the benefits that they were designed for, so if they no longer matter, why go through the headache of using them? Especially if they can hurt you.

3 misconceptions surrounding tags…

1. Post tags help to drive traffic…

False:  Tags are absolutely worthless for driving traffic.  And if they are driving traffic for you, you are making a huge mistake.  You NEVER want a post tag to rank higher in the search engine rankings than your actual blog post.  Your post is the most significant page that you want your visitors to visit.  Why allow a less significant page to possibly outrank the page that you ultimately want your visitor to land on?  Believe me, this will only hurt you in the long run.

2. Tags are beneficial for SEO purposes.

False: Tags do not provide a single positive benefit for your on-page SEO.  They used to, but due to the fact that they have been abused for so long, search engines do not even look at them anymore.  In fact, they can do more harm than good if you are tagging your posts improperly.

3. Tags assist users with site navigation.

False:  When was the last time you navigated a blog through the use of tags?  Your visitors aren’t either.  That is what categories are for, and in my opinion, categories do a much better job of assisting visitors with blog navigation if they are set up properly.  Not only that, but you’ll confuse the heck out of your visitor who is searching your site for relevant content.  Confuse your visitor and you’ll lose them to a competing site.

And to be quite honest, when I first began blogging, I was under the impression that tags provided these same three benefits.  But through personal experience and extensive research, I have found tags to be utterly useless.

All of the reasons why I no longer use tags…

1. I found that many authority blogs no longer use them either.

I am a firm believer in the saying:

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want, copy what they do, and you’ll achieve the same results.”

The same applies to blogging.  If authority blogs are not using them, why should you?

In fact, Matt Cutts does not utilize tags on his own blog.  For those who don’t know, Matt Cutts is a search engine engineer with Google, and a huge authority figure for topics related to search engine index updates and SEO related issues.  So, if the voice of Google is not using them, why should we?

2. Tags can actually hurt your on-page SEO and pagerank.

We all know that tags create duplicate content.  And we all know Google’s stand on duplicate content; they despise it and penalize it.

For this reason, I have always used “noindex” and “noarchive” META tags to prevent search engines from indexing and listing my tag archive pages in their search results.  More on this later…

Furthermore, many bloggers do not realize that improper tagging of a post can actually do more harm than good.  So, if they provide absolutely no value to your blog, why take the chance of hurting yourself?

3. Tags are the ugliest part of any blog.

And I would put money on the fact that you agree with me.  No matter how you modify or edit your css, they are still ugly.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

The easiest way to fix the ugliness is to get rid of it altogether.

4.  They are impossible to manage and keep organized.

For example, lets say you use the word “book” as a tag in one post.  Then you accidentally tag another post with “books;” you now have two separate tag pages.  For this reason, you can acquire hundreds, if not thousands of tags in no time.  It’s just a mess.

5. They take too much of my time to add to every post.

If they are essentially useless, why in the world would I want to spend my time tagging every single blog post?  My time can be spent doing other things that actually matter.

6. Perhaps the biggest reason why I deleted my tags goes back to reason number two, where I mentioned how I noindex and noarchive my tag archives.

In my mind, why do I want to provide links to pages that I have chosen to not allow the search engines to include in their search results (if you’re not doing this, you should), and pass on pagerank and link juice to useless pages?  This in itself does not make a single bit of sense to me, so I deleted every single one of them.  I would rather pass on link juice to pages or sites that actually matter to me and my viewers.

What about you, are you still using tags on your blog?  If so, why?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Category: 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+

  1. Laura says:

    I gave up on tags mainly because I didn’t want to keep spending time on them. What Google would or would not like was a small part in the decision. In the end, it was what I wanted to do that mattered. I just didn’t want to deal with them any more. I also cut down my categories drastically. I would have gotten rid of them too but I do sometimes use categories on other blogs. I also, use categories to sort content in my own blog. (I keep a category in the top menu bar of my blog).

    Tags aren’t as old as you think they are. They came along about the halfway point.

    • Dave Fennell says:

      Hi Laura,

      Good to see you and thank you for stopping by. I agree with you, deleting my tags was a personal decision, but I also wanted to ensure that getting rid of them altogether would not negatively impact my on-page SEO efforts. And you were smart to keep your categories. If you are not using tags, you need categories to assist visitors in finding relevant content on your site. Basically, you need one or the other. Categories are the smarter choice.

      Dave F.

  2. Bryan says:

    Adding tags has been something that I’ve kept putting off and off and off. I’m glad I can stop worrying about it now. Nice site Dave.

    • Dave Fennell says:

      Hi Bryan,

      Great to see you! Thanks for stopping by!

      I actually contacted Chris Brogan personally because I noticed that he was not listing tags, and received a response from one of his guys. In his words, “Tags do nothing for me.” That was good enough for me, so I went right into the dashboard and made friends with the delete button. It felt good.

      Take Care,

      Dave

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