Startup guide: Categories & Tags for SEO

“The only focus should be on User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)”

When we talk about SEO, the first thing that comes to mind is Search Engines. How do you make them happy so that they will rank us higher than our competition? However at Orion, although we value the algorithm, we also have a  laser sharp focus on the user experience as well. We look towards the future and it’s not a secret that search engines will get smarter and smarter and that is where a better user experience will play a bigger role. Quality should always be the long term goal.

With that in mind, let’s go back to User experience and the role categories and tags play. We are asked very often if there is actually a need for them on blog sections of websites and the answer we give is always the same. We fully support categories and tags because ultimately they create a better user experience and the added value of easier navigation.

Categories should be used as top-level topics while tags can then be used to segment these categories into subcategories. However, it is very important to think about the structure of categories and tags through because once it has been made and content has been tagged, changing it can be a nightmare in terms of time and a horror blockbuster movie in terms of SEO. That is why we recommend to all of our clients to use future proof categories which are more generic and get down and dirty with the specifics using tags.

Note: Tags are not the same as keywords and do not directly influence the algorithm of the search engines.

The next most important aspect is to make sure that it is easy for the visitor to filter the categories and tags. If someone is searching for a certain topic and you do not make it intuitive for them to find it, or in other words waste the precious seconds that you have their attention, they will leave. The internet today is a game of speed and intuition, if you don’t win it, you will lose the visitor.

 

How many tags and categories should I add?

Another question we get asked quite often is: How many tags and categories should I add?

The answer is simple, you need to look at it from the user’s perspective. Is it helpful for the viewer if you add 50 tags and 80% of them are unrelated to the article they are reading? Of course not. The key to getting this right is to pick the main category and let the writer of the blog pick the tags as he writes. Usually this will garner the best results as the writer has the best idea & grasp of the subject.

PRO TIP: Add a quick survey to your blog section and ask your visitor if it was easy to find the topic they are searching for. It will give you great insights into your user experience.

We also found a few very interesting articles regarding this topic and we are more than happy to be able to share them with you below:

  1. Categories and Tags in WordPress? How to Use Them Properly
  2. Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content