Marketers who include blogging in their marketing campaigns are highly likely to see a positive impact on business. Today, millions of people use the internet daily; blogging is a valuable means that you can use to reach as many people as possible. However, if no one visits your blog, you may not generate the link or conversions that you need for your business. For that, you need to know how to choose blog categories and tags for your blog is the most important factor.
Creating a blog site that ranks on the first page of the search engine is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of work, commitment, and having the right SEO strategy. Search engines like Google are evolving and adopting even more sophisticated means of ranking sites.
Most bloggers emphasize content, mainly because the SEO evaluation system is biased towards consistent and meaningful communication. Creating quality and captivating content is essential in optimizing your pages. When people visit your blog, they are looking for is information or material. Therefore, if you consistently give your audience the information they need, you will likely get the much-needed conversions.
But, content or blog posts can only drive traffic if your blog site is user friendly. Can your visitors find their way around the site, or do they have to sweat their hands trying to figure out what your blog is all about? People have an attention deficit and will likely move to the next site almost immediately if they cannot get what they want from your site with ease.
Therefore, you need to organize your blog posts and make it easy for your audience to find what they want. Imagine visiting a site and having to go through each post to find the information that you want. This is exhausting, right?
One of the ways to enhance your site usability is by including categories and tags. When a person visits your site, they will know where to click straight away to get the material they need. In this article, we will get to understand what categories and tags are, the difference, and how to use them to grow traffic and possible conversions.
What are blog categories and tags?
When you visit some sites, you may find a list of categories and tags either at the top or on the side of the blog. These blog section usually prompt you to view either by post or by categories. Some sites may have an additional section that allows you to view posts by date. The meaning of posts by date is quite direct. It simply means that you can view the posts by their date of publication. Categories and tags are not so clear.
Are you wondering what two sections are and the significant differences? Worry no more.
Blog categories and tags are a means of grouping articles or posts so that the intended audience can locate them with ease. These two blog elements act like labels that point people to the type of information they are looking for. With categories and tags, you can browse through posts and retrieve the information you need without following any chronological sequence.
Blog categories are broader subject areas that suggest to the audience and search engines, the major themes and topics of the blog. It is a convenient way of grouping blog posts or articles that deal with the same subject area. For instance, if you are running a baby blog, you may have several blog categories, including baby foods, baby dresses, baby toys, baby health, etc. So when a mother wants to know what food to give their baby, they will simply click on the “baby foods” category and get the information they need.
Let’s make it even more practical for you and your audience. Assume that you are running a grocery store. You can have different isles for different commodities like vegetables, meat, cereals, and fruits. The grocery store is your blog site, while the isles are your blog categories.
When you blog frequently, you may have tens of articles under one category, meaning that your audience will still have to browse through the topic or category to get the information they require. You can use blog tags to make it easier for people to locate the information with ease. Unlike blog categories, tags are more specific and cut across topics or subject areas. They are like an ingredient list for the menu.
Let’s go back to our grocery store, shall we? So, you have your vegetable aisle (category) with different types of vegetables like kales, cabbage, tomatoes, etc. These vegetables are your tags.
In summary, think of your blog as a book. Categories are the chapters of a book that give an idea of the topics in the book. Tags are like book indexes. The index content can be found in more than one chapter.
Apart from ease of navigation, blog categories, and tags keep your audience engaged and longer on your blog site. These blog elements may also draw their attention to other parts of your blog that they did not intend to visit. Remember, when people stay longer on your blog, search engines will register it as a sign of satisfaction and improve your ranking.
How to structure categories and tags?
So, you now know what blog categories and tags are, and you want to edit your blog to include them? Do you just pick any name for your categories and tags and throw them in there? Absolutely not. Remember that your aim is to convince the search engine to rank you higher and drive traffic towards your site. So, structuring and labeling of blog tags and categories should be done with precision. Otherwise, you may end up confusing your audience even more.
Because blogs are engaging, current, helpful, and topical, they need to bring out the ongoing conversation in a particular industry and grant you the benefit of gaining trust from your audience. When you earn your audience’s trust, you are likely going to get conversions and close deals. Authority blogs have learned the art of running successful blogs. Their blog developers and designers design their blogs with people in mind. Every element on their blog is meant to attract and retain traffic.
Most successful blogs group their contents into categories that reflect significant areas of interest in the industry. When picking categories and tags, the people to consider are your readers. Think about what makes sense to them. You don’t want to keep them guessing and wondering what your intention is for each category. Additionally, you will use tags to direct your readers to specific content that may span several categories. Your audience should relate to your categories and tags easily.
Examples of categories and tags
Here are some examples of tags and categories for some of the popular blog types.
1. Food blog: Popular categories that you can include on your food blogs are recipes, meal planning, and food sources. Some of the tags that you can include are ingredients and cooking methods.
2. Social media blog: Some of the categories to include are product update, media, customer service, analytics, advertising, and social networking. You can add tags such as tasks, tools, deliverables, authority building, and templates.
3. Sports blog: For sports blogs, different sports such as football, baseball, netball, hockey, rugby, chess, badminton, and others can form your categories. Your tags can be players’ names, type of league, location, and scores.
4. News blogs: popular news blogs have categories such as sports, politics, entertainment, technology, lifestyles, and fashion. Tags are mainly names of places, people, and events.
5. eCommerce blog: eCommerce platforms like Amazon and Jumia sell a wide variety of products and services and have mastered the art of categorizing their blogs. Some of the popular categories are electronics, fashion, deals $ promotion, furniture, and so much more. Each of these categories has tags to help shoppers get what they need with ease.
While you may not immediately locate these categories and tags when you visit some sites, they actually have a drop-down button that you can click to access them. This is mainly for the minimalist sites that want to have as much white space as possible. However, if your blog site is one such, it should be clear for your visitors where to click to access the categories and tags. You can use a plugin such as the Blog Designer Pro to highlight your audience on how to access and use the tag and category elements.
Useful Read: How To Organize The Blog Post [Do Perfect Planning]
Blog categories best practices: Dos and Don’ts
When you are planning to include categories to your blog, your audience should be your primary consideration. The categories should help your visitors to navigate and find what they are looking for. Now that you know how essential blog categories are, here are some of the best practices that you can adopt if you want to create impactful categories.
1. Consider your blogging topics
Before you start your blogging journey, you need to select a niche that you can handle with ease. If possible, you should settle for a niche within your area of specialization. After settling on the niche, you need to carefully consider the topics that you will cover in your blog. But, that is not enough. It would be best if you also thought about how your readers would expect you to organize your content. Once you have carefully considered your topics, you can come up with the categories and label them appropriately.
2. Ensure all posts belong to a category
Once you have settled on your categories, it is time to get down with writing articles and posting them on your site. However, you should ensure that all your posts belong to at least a category. Do not leave any post hanging. Otherwise, your readers may not find the content when it is actually available on your blog. Some hosting accounts like WordPress require that you categorize your post before publishing.
3. Use clear category names
Try as much as possible to use clear category names on your blog. Avoided coded names or words that may mislead your readers. A person who has never visited your blog before should have an idea of the posts to expect by clicking on the category name. Additionally, it would be best if you kept the category names shorts (maximum of three words). Remember, categories are like signposts that give directions.
4. Less is more
If you are a serial blogger handling a rich niche, you may be tempted to have as many categories as possible. However, your readers may be overwhelmed by the many choices you throw at them.
How many categories should a blog have? Unfortunately, there is no standard number of categories for blogs. However, the rule of the thumb is 5-9 categories. If you find yourself feeling that you need to add a category every time you create a post, you need to reevaluate your category structure. The secret is to categorize your content into broad subject areas. Also, do not create categories that you may not have posts for.
5. Limit each post to one category
There is always a temptation to post one blog post on more than one category. This is not the best idea since your readers expect you to limit your post to one category. If your posts fit in more than one category, you may need to restructure your categories.
Blog tags best practices
Like blog categories, you need to adopt blog tags best practices if you want your tags to be effective in boosting your ranking. Again, your readers should be your primary concern when including tags on your blog. Therefore, you need to take your time to choose and organize the blog tags carefully. Here are some of the factors that you may consider when including tags into your blogs.
1. Be liberal with the tags
A tag should not necessarily be a summary of an entire blog post. You can use it to describe just a section of the post or apply it to one or more posts.
2. Don’t mind about the length of tags
Unlike blog categories that your audience depends on for navigation, tags are not used for navigation but to access specific content. While categories need to be short and clear, you can play around with tags, and you don’t have to be too formal. You can use longer words or phrases, quotes, and hashtags as long as they can link to posts and help readers access your content.
3. Use descriptive tags
Unlike categories that require you to use one or two words, you can use descriptive phrases or words for your tags. For instance, if you are running a sports blog, it would be better to use the tag “Transfer news and updates” instead of just transfer.
4. Don’t capitalize tags
It is always a widespread practice to capitalize on categories and use lower case letters for the tags. While no rule requires tags and categories to be lowercased and capitalized respectively, it is a common standard that helps your readers distinguish between the two design elements.
5. One tag should apply to more than one post
When creating tags, ensure that your tags apply to more than one post. A tag should not be specific to one post since it will be a duplicate of your post title. The main reason for including tags to your blog is to link all your related posts.
6. Avoid too many tags
How many tags should you use? How many tags are too many?
Again, there is no rule to how many tags you should use on your blogs. There are many suggestions out there as to how many tags you should use per post. Some sources suggest that you should use 2-3 tags per post. However, just have enough tags. Don’t throw tags all over the place. If you have many posts on your blog, you can get rid of some of the tags or merge them into about three links per post.
Use Blog Designer Pro Plugin to customize category pages
Customizing blog category pages can be a hustle if you are not an experienced designer or do not have the right tools for the job. However, the Blog Designer Pro plugin will not only make your blog beautiful but also make it easy for you to create and customize your category pages.
This plugin can filter your posts tag and category wise, making it easy for your audience to locate your posts. Also, you can choose the layouts of your choice to showcase your categories in a unique way to the visitors. There are more than 50 in-built beautiful layouts available in the plugin.
The first thing you need to do if you want to create categories and tags is installing and activating the plugin. Once you have activated the plugin, scroll down to the “Pages” option and click on it, then click on “Add New” to choose the page categories you want to include on your site. You can also use the plugin to customize, add, delete, or rename page categories. Besides, you can add an archive category where old posts can automatically be stored after some time.
SEO benefits of categories and tags
While the main aim of categories and tags is to make it easy for your visitors to navigate your blog site, using them appropriately also boosts your SEO. You may not need to carefully choose keywords for your tags and categories for them to be optimized. However, their names should be relevant to the core terms. Name categories and tags using keywords where possible.
So, how can tags and categories give your blog SEO boost? Having internal links connected to your pages and posts enable search engine crawlers to discover your blog’s content by following the links. This ensures that all your pages, including the isolated ones, are indexed. Your category and tag names will act as anchor texts, which give the search engines clues about your blog’s topics, allowing you to rank better for those targeted keywords.
When you publish a popular article on your blog, authority sites may link to it. You can use tags and categories to link that post to related posts on your blog. This strategy will also boost your blog’s overall ranking on the search engine.
How to ensure your blog tags and categories are SEO friendly?
A well-organized and useful content will definitely enable higher SEO ranking. As we have seen, blog categories and tags can grow your traffic by attracting and retaining visitors. But, they can also work against you if you do not adopt the above best practices. So, how do you ensure that your blog taxonomies are SEO friendly?
1. Use blog categories for the broad subject area and tags for specifics
Failing to distinguish between tags and categories may create chaos and disorder as soon as you publish your posts. In practice, every post you create should have a category. Categories should only be for broad grouping and general topics that you often write about. Tags are for specifics. You must maintain this rule for these blog taxonomies to be user friendly.
If you have observed web analytics data for some time now, you may have noticed that tag URLs rarely rank high. This could be because tags are viewed as internal navigation systems. So, Google may not consider them as the search’s useful landing pages. However, some tags can get visibility and drive traffic, especially if they match keywords. That is why you need to make the tags specific and match them with the keywords.
2. Have a standard list of categories
Since the end game of including categories and tags to your blog is to generate traffic, you can use them in different ways depending on your strategy. However, having two or more related tags can work against you. For instance, if you use both “online marketing” and digital marketing” as categories simultaneously, your audience may find it harder to get what they need. You don’t need both categories as they just clutter your blog. Having a list of tags and categories helps eliminate possible duplicate and unnecessary URLs and enhances user experience.
3. Add unique and quality content to category and tag URLs
Best categories and tags are those that attract new visitors to your site. Therefore, your category and tag URLs need to rank in the search engine for related searches. To ensure that your taxonomy URLs rank in the search engines, you need to add unique content to the category page. Give the landing pages relevant keywords and unique paragraphs that explain what readers should expect.
Ensure that the URLs have a unique title tag, primary headline, meta description, and use the keywords in their right forms. Considering these factors ensure that your tag and category pages are valuable and not just any page that occupies extra space.
Also Read: The Definitive Blog Assessment Checklist
It is possible to overlook blog categories and tags when designing your blog. However, these blog taxonomies can deliver a lot of value to your blog, especially when adopting the best practices. Tags and categories make it easier for your visitors to find the material there are looking for. They also assist the search engine crawler in understanding your content. The blog category is a broader subject area that groups together related posts and topics.
In contrast, blog tags are specific labels that visitors can use to find the information they need. Post tags and categories can make your blog better in several ways, including relating your blog post to another and tracking which of your posts is attracting more traffic.