If you are a bit confused about SEO tags for WordPress, trust me, you are not alone! A large chunk of our traffic on GET FOUND NOW comes from web users searching for information on how to use tags.
Many people confuse tags with keywords, which they are not. Tags offer site visitors another way to navigate content on your website via a tag cloud and quickly find topics of interest. Tags or labels are also very effective for SEO if you tag your posts correctly.
All content management systems like WordPress now use tags and most social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and Myspace also use tags to identity videos, pictures, music, etc.
Tag Cloud Navigation
If you opt to display a tag cloud, which I highly recommend, tags organize content on your site by subject matter and are great for usability. Visitors like navigating around within tag clouds because they can quickly find topics of interest and save time. When a user clicks on a tag, they are brought to a page of related posts, rather than having to wade through a multitude of posts or post archives to find related topics.
Although other SEO/WordPress pundits might not agree that tags are a popular site navigation tool, Get Found Now’s real time site stats beg to differ. We watch our tag cloud in action all day long!
Uniformity is Important for Tag Topic Authority and Usability
Uniformity is important with tags because the more posts you write under one tag, the more tag topic authority you build for SEO. Tag pages that have tag SEO topic authority will eventually show up in the index. However, if your not consistent, you’ll end up with a lot of useless tags that have zero topic authority as well as a messy tag cloud that will confuse your site visitors.
Tags are case sensitive, so make sure that ALL your tags are either upper case or lower case. You also want to get int0 the habit of choosing from the “most used tags” so that you build topic authority for those tags. Let’s say, for example, that you write a post about foreclosures in North Carolina and tag your post “Foreclosures North Carolina.” Down the road, you write a post and tag it “North Carolina Foreclosures.“ You then write another post and tag it “foreclosures (lower case f) North Carolina.”
Well, what you’ve actually done is created three separate tag page feeds for the exact same topic and diluted your tag topic authority SEO. Not only that, when a visitor clicks on ”Foreclosures North Carolina“ within the tag cloud, only posts tagged in that exact way will show up on that tag page, even though you may have written 20 other great posts on the same topic, tagged in a slightly different manner.
Cleaning up Your Tags and Tag Cloud
If your tag cloud is messy and filled with a lot useless tags, I highly recommend that you take a step back and clean up your tags. This may seem like a tedious task and waste of your valuable time, but the SEO and usability benefits will be worth the effort.
The tag cloud to the right (LAPropertySolutions.com) is a good example of how a tag cloud should look for usability and tag topic authority.
The owner of the site cleaned up her original tags and tag cloud with a tag plan based on post topics. New tags were created at one time under Post Tags/Add New Tags. Each post was then re-tagged using the “Choose from the most used tags feature” in edit mode.
Opening up Tags or Categories to the Search Engines
You want search engines to spider either category pages or tag pages, never both and you can choose what you allow the search engines to see in your XML Sitemap under ”Sitemap Content.”
All in One SEO Pack
Next, go to All in One Plugin Options and make sure “Use Noindex for Archives” and “Use Noindex for Categories” is checked and “Use Noindex for Posts” is unchecked.
When to Use Tags or Categories
If you publish 2 to 3 blog posts per week, open up tags to the search engines. If you write 1 to 4 blog posts per month, open up categories to the search engines. Again, choose one or the other.
If you choose to open up tags to the search engines, make sure your tag page displays a limited amount of characters per post (350-400 characters). rather than the entire post. Otherwise, the full post might be seen as duplicate content.
If you are blogging on a Genesis WordPress framework (highly recommended) or another updated version of WordPress, you can choose “Display Post Excerpts” in Archives under Theme Settings. The content archives option will affect any blog listings page including: archive, author, blog, category, search and tag pages. If you are using an older version of WordPress, you can modify your archives.php or use an archive limit content plug in.
That’s my story on how to use tags for WordPress. Hope it helps!!
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