Blogs are great in attracting search engine indexing because they, by their very nature, are updated often with fresh, relevant content. Beyond implementing the excellent All in One SEO plugin, what else can you do to optimize your blog? Tag your posts.

What is a Tag?

Tagging allows you to add keywords to your posts. They can assist your readers to understand what the post is all about in a fine, diced up way. It also allows you to link your post to to other tag-driven sites, such as Delicious, Technorati, and Flickr.

As you can see, tags on your site can have two functions:

  1. Tags can link to external sites (like Technorati) to display a collection of posts from around the web, all related to the tag. It’s similar to a “Yellow Pages” of information.
  2. Tags can link to an internal page that lists all of the posts on your site related to that specific tag.

Tags can be linked in a bunch of places, such as:

  • Within your text
  • Within a list at the bottom of your post
  • In your sidebar (in a Tag Cloud)
  • On its own page

What About Categories?

Categories, which are often located in blog sidebars, are used illustrate topics. They should be used primarily for navigation and as a way to group content on your blog.

Tags vs Categories

  • Categories can have long wordy names, but tags should be short (one, two, or at the most, three words).
  • Categories generate a page of posts on your site, tags can generate a page of off-site posts on an off-site website.
  • Categories don’t help search engines find information, but tags help search engines and tag directories catalog your site.
  • Posts are usually in found in one to four categories, but a single post can list as many tags as you want.
  • Categories help visitors find related information on your site, but tags help visitors find related information on your site (and on other sites).
  • Categories provide broad grouping of posts describing your blog’s focus, but tags allow  micro-grouping of posts, which helps to narrow down the reader’s interest.
  • Finally, an analogy might help. If you have a blog that discusses tools, you might create categories such as “bolts,” “nails,” and “screws.” And when you are writing about screws, you might tag the post with as “flathead,” “Philips,” “galvanized,” “half-inch,” etc. to describe features.

ContentRobot Recommends

Since WordPress 2.5.1, bloggers have had the ability to tag posts (and display them, too). We recommend that you don’t throw one technique for another, yet use tags and categories in conjunction with each other. Simply, use categories to help with your blog’s structure and use tags to provide meta-data for your content.

Thanks, Lorelle, for some great background information for this post.