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Your Lesson Today is on Blog Tags

Today’s blog lesson is on understanding the basics of how to use tags with blogs. So my question is do you use tags on your blog, and if so do you understand the purpose of tagging?

A brief background: I was talking to a fellow the other day, and after doing a simple review of his blog I had mentioned that his usage of tags needed work.  He had for example 19 tags on one post and I suggested that he needed to rethink how he was using tags.

His response was -  “I know I am supposed to use tags, but I just don’t get it”.

I believe that many people are going through the same problem and not getting it. They know they need to use tags, but they are not sure how to do it or even why they are supposed to use them.

Image of blogger BLOGBLoke

Enter BLOGBloke!

I decided to tweet a question to BLOGbloke about tags, asking him to explain to me what tags were, and here was his response:

Could the answer be this simple?

When you understand what categories and tags achieve then the answer is a resounding yes! The fact is when you use categories and tags on your blog, you are helping your readers and the search engines find your content quickly and easily.

Translate — it is a great organizational tool.

Have you ever been to a blog where you look at the sidebar and see a huge list of tags? (Editor’s note: otherwise known as a tag cloud.)  If there are many, do you spend most of your time browsing the tags/categories and hardly reading any of the posts?

Then I would say that is a good example of not using tags or categories to the best effect.

An image of a tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.0

While there is a lot of information on the net regarding tags and even categories, for the purpose of this blog lesson I want to keep everything as simple as possible.

Lets start with Categories…

When you set up your blog, consider your categories as topics within your niche.  For example if your blog niche is about “pets” (which is a popular topic for many people), what would you want to write about?

When you think of your blog categories as a road map for people to easily see, then you will realize how important and useful categories really are. For the purpose of this example (a blog on pets) I might consider using these main categories:

Pets

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Birds

This is where it gets interesting!

Your tags are those short snippets of information that are within the blog post itself that pertain to the topic or category that you are writing about.

The best part of using tags within a blog post is that anyone searching for information can easily find it by clicking on those tags. Every post you have ever written using a specific tag will show up on a new page.

Let’s go back again to our example of having a pet blog, and I am writing many posts about dogs (the category).  Within those posts I might consistently write about things like “dog video“, “dog grooming“, “aging dogs“, “taking care of puppies“, etc.

Now imagine readers searching for “dog videos” for example, and finding post after post about this subject all on one page? Talk about convenient!

The fact is using tags on a blog is a very useful tool to help you and your readers keep organized.

There are those who will say that tagging is useless because you have archives. To answer this, go through your own archives and what do you see?  You will see everything set to dates, but nothing to pinpoint anything specific.

The same can be said for going through categories. Yes, you will see everything written about the general topic (going back to our example blog about dogs)  but nothing about “dog videos” or “aging dogs“  or — Tag .. Your IT!

Talk about finding the forest for the trees.

Check out BLOGBloke’s blog tips niche that he created. Click on blog tips and you will see what I mean. Are you seeing the bigger picture now?

Person thinking of how to answer a question

How many tags should a person use on any blog post?

While I am sure there are many differing opinions, it is my belief that when using tags less is more. When you think about what you want to get known for (i.e. your niche) and when you think as BLOGBloke does that tags are like subcategories, then you will have an easier time deciding what you will want to use as a tag and what is useless.

Always remember that one of the big reasons why you are blogging is to become known in whatever field you choose to talk about (niche). Using tags properly will help you not only with the search engines, but will help your readers as well.

One last thought - there is such a thing as blog tag spam. Tag spam  is when people use an excessive number of tags OR unrelated tags to a post in order to attract viewers ... PLEASE DON’T DO IT! You will only hurt yourself.

Questions:

1.   There are many plugins that automatically look for tags. Do you have a favorite, or do you prefer to manually put in tags on your own?

2.   How will you look at tags in the future?

Class dismissed!

.. edited by Blog Bloke

Written September 5th, 2011 by | 32 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Blog Tips for Beginners, Featured Tips, SEO Tips, Search Engine Tips, Writing Blog Content , , ,

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Got an opinion? Let's be real and start a conversation:

It's your turn to tell Blog Bloke what you think, ask a question or suggest another blog tip. Don't forget the comments policy and I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say.

There are 32 Comments so far to “Your Lesson Today is on Blog Tags”

  1. Tags could be used after your post but even more efficient is to match your content to the topic of your blogpost.Quality content is a key to get your blog up on the search engines.

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 11:00 am said...

    @Mattias,I would say it takes many factors to get your blog up in the search engines and using tags is one of those ways.

    It is or should be a given that people will want to write quality content..but it should not be just for the SEO but most importantly for your readers.

    Great to see you Mattias and hope you will come back again..just to keep in touch.

    My regards to “The Nexus Group” and the ” Get your blog Followers” on Facebook

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:23 am said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), thanks for another helpful post Dianne. As you pointed out there is a double benefit to using tags and categories, both for SEO and for our readers.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 4:13 pm said...

    @Mattias, categories and tags offer an effective SEO benefit so long as it used wisely and within the bounds of your niche.

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  2. I use the plugin Simple Tags myself, but keep a close reign on it. The auto-tagging feature is nice for internal links but you have to be careful it doesn’t get out of control.

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 11:07 am said...

    @BLOGBloke, It’s interesting how many plugins there are for “auto-tagging”, but I have noted that some of the tags given have me cringe. I will use plugins, but I will check what is suggested…more often than not ( in the past) I preferred manual - what can I say I love to work?…lol

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 7:10 am said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), in my opinion Simple Tags is probably the best Wordpress plugin around. Are there any tags on this blog making you cringe?

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  3. I think tagging is great. It makes posts easier to find. I’d rather click, say, “cooking” than scroll through page after page of posts. Sure, there is always search but that has its own drawbacks, too. You could slammed with a bunch of irrelevant results so yeah, tags are pretty awesome.

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 1:59 am said...

    @Brian, Your description of how tagging works is right on and thank you for taking the time to come to BLOGBloke and with simple words explain the advantage and the purpose to tagging on blog posts.

    I hope you come again and give more opinions on the various subjects we talk about.

    By the way…lol ( can’t help myself) did you read the post about avatars? Here is the link if you are interested http://www.blogbloke.com/avatars-profile-pictures/ would love to see yours ^=^

    Have a great day

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  4. Thanks for this early warning blog bloke! I was just about to start what is termed as “tag spam” ! Phew. I shall now be more careful!

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  5. Though giants such as Google’s Matt Cutts says he only uses categories and not tags on his personal site, I still see value in the tags.

    My strategy is to use the tags for the long tails that I uncover in my keyword research. I target about 3-5 good key phrases in the title and post body (h tags). Then I use 3-7 tags for the long tails where the traffic is not worth targeting in the content.

    Great post!

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 8:47 am said...

    @Jared Broker, wouldn’t be a first time that I’ve disagreed with a “giant”. Like the reference to the “long tail”.

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  6. This was a good lesson. Many people ignore the tags. They think the content is the main item Google looks at or the only one.

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 9:37 am said...

    @43 Wordpress Tutorials, generally my comments policy does not allow keywords for a name but I allowed it this one time because your comment is relevant. But I will appreciate you keep that in mind next time. Thanks.

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  7. I haven’t been using tags on my sites as I didn’t know much about them until I read this post. Just one question - Why do we need meta tags if we have blog tags?

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 10:58 am said...

    @Katie, think of meta tags as general information for the search engines relating to your blog niche. Tags (or categories) on your posts help to fine-tune individual pages to a subtopic within your niche.

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  8. I appreciate you putting this in an easy to understand format. I had been wondering if I was using tags correctly and I think I am. It’s always good to be reinforced though! I currently use only 5 tags but I only have 33 posts (in 33 days though) I’m a newbie and appreciate all the info I can get. I was wondering if I do decide to add another tag should I retag some prior relevant posts? Thanks again!

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 2:58 pm said...

    @Crystal Adkins, Number one… take a bow! I wish all newbies as you call yourself would have this passion and dedication.

    Number two (and take another bow) because you used an Avatar, so it is all good.

    To answer your specific question, I feel it would do no harm at this stage to go back and re-tag your posts if you truly feel it would be appropriate. It is much easier to re-tag now with this amount of posts, rather than later when you have a hundred or so posts.

    Are you using any kind of plug in for your blog that would help you with tags? As much as I still like doing things manually, it can not hurt to have a plugin to help you with this task.

    I hope that helps you, maybe come back and let BLOGBloke know how it is going for you and better yet, if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask…k?

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    Reply by: BLOGBloke at 3:33 pm said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta), for Wordpress users I like Simple Tags http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-tags

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    Reply by: Crystal Adkins at 4:45 pm said...

    @Diane ( Blogneta),
    Thanks so much for the help Diane. I appreciate your remarks. I use Blogger (for now) that’s pointed to my domain. I am trying Zemanta as well. They both have tag “help” if that’s what you mean. I didn’t even know what a blog was 6 months ago so yes, I am very new. I read a lot of great blogs though, so I should be able to learn quickly. Thanks again!

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 9:41 am said...

    @Crystal Adkins, Good morning Crystal, nice to hear from you and glad that we can help. I say we, because BLOGBLoke has a way of saying things as do I and between us we even come up with good ideas … lol

    I have heard of Zemanta and as a tool it is not bad. I use apture myself, which is another good tool for ideas.

    I think it’s safe to say that there are so many tools out there that a person can get overloaded very quickly if you are not careful.

    I am curious .. what got you started with blogging and what direction are you going for?

    This is just me being nosy by the way … a bad habit.

    Come back any time and ask questions or give feedback … that is what this is all about … people helping others, as it should be ^=^

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  9. Thanks Diane for sharing this site I will come back often to learn from it as I love the simple steps.

    I am learning that a blog should be prepared before you send it out for the world to see.

    Thanks again

    Scott Crawley
    Skype Me: scwealth

    Bookmarking now ..

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    Reply by: Diane ( Blogneta) at 8:57 pm said...

    @Scott Crawley, Happy New Year Scott and thanks for coming here..bookmarking this site is a wonderful idea! I happen to know that BlogBloke helps many people learn about blogging, how to blog and there have been many great and lively debates on some of the subject matter on this site.

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  10. Today's Lesson is on Blog Tags http://t.co/K11BLzU via @BLOGBloke

  11. Today's Lesson is on Blog Tags http://t.co/K11BLzU via @BLOGBloke

  12. Much thanks to @blogneta for her new post:"Your Lesson on Blog Tags" http://t.co/K11BLzU via @BLOGBloke

  13. Your Lesson Today is on Blog Tags http://t.co/FfFOhCy via @BLOGBloke

  14. Your Lesson Today is on Blog Tags http://t.co/FfFOhCy via @BLOGBloke

  15. Join the discussion on the why, when and how of using Blog Tags http://t.co/K11BLzU via @BLOGBloke

  16. @AgingAbundantly which link? this one http://t.co/4P9UWii or this one http://t.co/jq6b0Vv

  17. @blogneta You got a new comment http://t.co/xmuAH5mC

  18. just noticed you have over 29 comments on this post. wow http://t.co/ufhNH78h via @BLOGBloke

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