Helping folks setup a new WordPress website is a blast. However, I’ve been a bit befuddled about tags and categories. I was attempting to find a simple way to explain them to my clients. What are tags and categories and why should I care?
My first thought was to explain tags and categories as keywords. Since most people have used Google, Yahoo, or Bing to do a search, they comprehend the need for keywords. Keywords are defined by the choice of words someone might use to search for your webpage or blog post. Keywords just doesn’t seem to be enough to clarify the difference between tags and categories.
WordPress has a great video on adding categories. Take a look
After a bit more research (and little remembering), I discovered WordPress used to ONLY list categories. The challenge with using ONLY categories was using too many sub-categories (called children of the parent category). Basically folks just made a list of keywords under a particular category. Because of those long lists of subcategories, the WordPress programmers, created tags.
With the creation of tags, categories became the more global keywords and tags became the detailed keywords. For example, for a blog post called Redesigning my Living Room, your category could be Interior Design and your keywords could be living room, furniture, color scheme, painting, layout, etc. Thus catgories become the parent and tags become the subcategories.
In the end, categories and tags do impact SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You can learn more about it at:
There is value to categories and tags outside of SEO. They make it easier for our reader to find relevant blogs to their needs. By simply clicking on a category or a tag, the reader receives a listing of available blogs under that topic. A tag cloud also helps define what your blog is globally about simply by reviewing the higher priority (and larger) tag words.
Your tags and categories do make a difference on your blog. As you add them consider how they impact your SEO and how easy they make scanning your blog for your readers.