How To Use WordPress Tags Properly…

Wordpress TagsRebecca Geiger said: “Hey I was thinking about another idea for a post. Perhaps you could cover how to use tags properly and how they are used as a search on your blog?”

Well, Rebecca, that’s a killer idea for a blog post but I have a confession

I tag everything in site, well everything on this web site that is. I don’t go around tagging people’s walls with “JB Wuzz Here, dudez.”

But I do tag everything I post.

What Is A “Tag” Anyway?

Without getting all “techno monkey” on you, a “tag” is basically a keyword that WordPress uses to search your site. I think it’s easy to think of them that way because Google sorta treats them like keywords too - so they help your SEO

They Also Help Your Readers…

“Tags” help your readers move around your blog too. They keep everything nice and tidy, so your readers can find related content at the click of a mouse. Pretty spiffy.

Plus, They Help Your Widgets…

Some plugins like the “Related Posts” plugin you see at the bottom of this article won’t even work unless you “tag” your content. So that’s something to keep in mind too.

How Many “Tags” Should You Use On Your Blog Posts?

In my humble opinion, no more than five and way less than ten.

Because WordPress (by some sorcery I don’t understand) duplicates your posts when you tag them. And it’s a scientifically validated fact that Google sends flying code monkeys after anybody who posts duplicate content.

Gremlin Tags…

Now, if that didn’t scare you away from using tags ever again, here’s more funky “Gremlin rules” - remember that movie? Don’t feed them after midnight, and don’t get them wet…

Anyway, I’m getting off topic, but here’s the rules.

You must use tags more than once.

So if I tagged this post with the word “Gremlins” and never wrote another post about Gremlins – that’s a very bad idea.

I won’t get into the logistics here, but just take my word for it, because duplicate content will start popping up like Gremlins who ate after midnight while taking a bath..

So build a list of tags you’re going to use on your blog and stick to those tags.

My last words…

Maybe you’re like me, I used to write a tag for everything. I didn’t know how bad that was for SEO. Don’t make my mistake.

I’m still trying to kill the gremlin tags.

Tweet soon,

Jason The “Better Networker”
The Jason Better Blog

Jason Better

P.S. Please Retweet - “Yes, Jason I love this post and I’m going to “retweet” it for my Twitter followers by clicking the little green “retweet” button on the top of this post right now.” :-D

79 Comments

Mick Dickinson  on February 19th, 2010

Hey thanks. I didn’t know about needing to always use tags more than once. That’s useful as I get started on a new blog.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

No prob,

I learn something new every day too.

[Reply]

Josh Garcia  on February 19th, 2010

Wow Jason,

I’m so glad that you covered this. This has been something I honestly was doing. I was tagging everything. Especially when using plugins that will select a bunch of tags for you. So you clear it up…Keep it at 5!

Have a great weekend…Buddy!
Josh

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Me too…

And the sad thing is, I was using some
tags only once… bad idea.

It basically duplicates your content on a separate
page, so if you don’t tag other post with that tag too
it’s almost identical to the original article.

[Reply]

Freda  on February 19th, 2010

I don’t remember ever reading about tags before. Maybe that’s why my blogs are never being read.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hmmm…

I think you might be on to something.

[Reply]

Holly Powell  on February 19th, 2010

Jason,

hmm, I used to tag everything as well. Now I seldom tag my posts. I might have to rethink. I’ve seen some folks use 50 plus tags–and I know that is going way overboard.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Way overboard…

Just think of them as keywords and stick to
a few you know you’re going to use.

[Reply]

Mitchell Dillman  on February 19th, 2010

Wowsa Jason,

The hits just keep on coming…You’re gonna make real pros out of us yet!

Thanks to all the invaluable information you continue to deliver I can honestly say I’m starting to get a handle on some of this stuff.

Thanks some more ;-)

Mitchell Dillman

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

No prob Mitchell,

Thanks for keeping me on my toes. ;-)

[Reply]

Michael Cole  on February 19th, 2010

Hi Jason,

So that’s what tags do. Guess I better do some Gremlin control.

Thanks Jason,
Michael

[Reply]

Elmar Sandyck  on February 19th, 2010

Great post Jason!
Tags were not completely clear to me till now.
In this post you clarified this toppic in a short and simple way.
Thanks a lot,
Elmar

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Elmar,

Awesome.

I tried to leave the boring technical
stuff out… and substituted Gremlins.

[Reply]

Eric Fagerstrom  on February 19th, 2010

Holy Schmitzee!

With only 5 posts under my belt, you caught me just in time JB. I have had enough sense to actually use tags, but on my current path the flying code monkeys would have come to get me for sure.

Thanks dude ;-)
-E

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Eric,

They’ll probably make a stop over here
too…

Apparently there’s a plugin that helps you sort
out old tags in bulk.

[Reply]

Elmar Sandyck  on February 19th, 2010

Hi Jason,
Sorry I make 2 comments in a row, I should have done it in 1…:-( but there is a question popping up in my head on tags right now.

Is it important that the tags you use are the same as your main silo keywords on the rest of your website, or is this something completely different?

Elmar

[Reply]

Hani Reply:

Hi Elmar,

Good question. I tend to use 5 keywords per post (some overlap my main silo keywords on my website). I use they keywords as:
a. tags for a post,
b. keywords (when using the “All in One SEO Pack” plugin).
c. as categories on my blog (where possible)

Hani

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey, thanks Hani…

I missed your helpful reply.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Nice question!

I would make sure those keywords and tags
reflect your posts first.

If they happen to be the same, then I’m sure
you’ll be fine.

I wish I had a more specific answer for you…

[Reply]

Ilka Flood  on February 19th, 2010

Hi Jason,

You’re da man!! Now I understand what does little things do. Better go check my tags. Thought they were the same thing as ‘categories’ so sometimes I didn’t tag my posts.

Thanks for posting this!!

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Glad to help. :-)

[Reply]

Chris Owen  on February 19th, 2010

Hey Jason,

Man you are really getting into the techie side of things. Cool.

I bet a lot of readers are going into a panic right now. I have some solutions that may help.

First, download the plugin “home page excerpts”.
This will keep your home page blog roll from showing up full posts. Jason uses something similar with “read more”. If you don’t want to add the “read more” to the html, use the plugin.

Set your categories to use excerts or teasers.

This should also work for the archives. Alternatively you can go to theme editor and change the archive.php from content to excerpt.

You can also use the “advanced excerpt” plugin.

As for tags I think the “template tags/the excerpt” plugin will work but I haven’t checked it out.

Hope this helps.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Thanks Chris,

I think your advice will help a lot of people here.

There’s actually a plugin that lets you edit all of
your old tags somewhere I need to look into that.

[Reply]

Chris Owen Reply:

Did you ever find that plugin?

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Plugin?

For tags?

I still need to look into it. Test it out and
see what happens. If it works. I may end
up doing a post about it…

If not… well… it happens. :-(

Michael Cole Reply:

Hey Chris,

The plugin “home page excerpts” works great, thanks for the tip.

Michael

[Reply]

Chris Owen Reply:

Glad I could help Michael

[Reply]

Adam Haider  on February 19th, 2010

Hi Jason,

Another great post! Man I’ve seen a few blogs out there that have committed the sin of using ‘Gremlin tags’—The dreaded tag cloud covered in a long list of un-used tags..

By the way, certain plugins offer support to convert catagories and other meta-data to tags, what are your thoughts on using this approach and how would you recommend using them if your blog contains a lot of them?

Adam

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Adam,

I wouldn’t feel confident recommending them
until I tested them out myself.

I’m a little worried by some of the things some
plugins do behind the scenes.

[Reply]

Derek Alvarez  on February 19th, 2010

Thanks for clearing this whole thing up, Jason!

I’ve got to admit, I’ve been going a little crazy with the tags myself.

Perhaps I need to do some Gremlin control…

Also, Chris — I’ve been using the “Read More” code to only show excerpts.

Does this save me from having to go crazy getting rid of Gremlins?

P.S. Jason, I have another blog post idea — How about one on the proper use of Categories?

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Another idea!

I’m not sure if that will cut your duplicate
content down or not. I would have to dig
deeper before giving my two cents.

Would hate to give terrible advice. :-(

[Reply]

Chris Owen Reply:

Hey Derek, the advance excerpts plugin stops the home page test in the html. So it will keep your home page from duplicating to the post page.

Type in your url/2010 to see what your archives look like. You may have to change those settings in the php like I said above.

I just tested it with tags. I added a new single post tag, and clicked it on the post page. It only shows the excerpt, so it is working.

I think we have a winner Jason. See disclainer. LOL

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Gotta love disclaimers…

Rebecca geiger  on February 19th, 2010

Excellent! Thanks Jason!
I am planning on building my empire and have started and this was one thing I was definitely curious about! sweeeeeeeeeeet!
hee hee like I said before 42 outa 10!
hugs!

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Haha…

Well you can’t rate this post… it was your idea!

[Reply]

Wayne Vassell  on February 19th, 2010

Oh Right, I must admit I didn’t know that could hurt your SEO by tagging too much.

I am getting a bit worried now! :(

Oh well, you learn something now everyday!

Cheers for the tip J

Wayne Vassell, signing out….

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

I’m totally in the same boat!

I need to work on my tagging and categories too.

[Reply]

Rhonda Miller  on February 19th, 2010

Ooooh Jason. The content for my future “WordPress Webinar” just keeps unfolding. LOL

Seriously though, I am loving this content. This is waaaaay better than the WordPress forum and takes waaaaay less time. I didn’t even know some of this information existed. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for your time. Let’s all rise to the top together :)

~Rhonda

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

But I love the wordpress forum!

Even if they aren’t half as entertaining.

[Reply]

Patricia  on February 19th, 2010

Thanks for the useful information.Looking forward to more info.Categories will be great-Thanks again

[Reply]

Jerome Ratliff  on February 19th, 2010

WOW!

I’m glad you brought this to our attention in how vitally important tags are to our WordPress blogs.

I always make sure I “tastefully” use tags.

I think I may have a few gremlin tags I need to get rid of… hmmmm!

Thanks

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Oh my,

The term “Gremlin tags” is going
to infect the internet now.

What have I done?

[Reply]

Amy  on February 19th, 2010

OOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhh……….

Thanks again oh wise one :) .

I have to say, it’s soooo nice to know that I don’t have to go out searching for great tips. I can just sit back and trust (with great confidence) that they will showing up in my inbox each day. Yes!

You rock, Jason!

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Thank you.

Taking over the world, one tip
at a time. :-)

[Reply]

Patty Jones  on February 19th, 2010

Jason,

Thanks for the great information. Is there ever a time when less that 5 tags should be used?

Patty

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Patty,

For sure,

I didn’t mean to set 5 as the number
of tags you should use…

In most cases one or two should do.

Some people use like 50… way excessive.

[Reply]

Kerie Cooper  on February 19th, 2010

Thanks Jason – you always provide such awesome content. This is good to know as I’ve recently gotten my blog up and running. I’ll keep this in mind when creating content for my readers.

All the best,
Kerie

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Kerie,

Thanks for dropping in.

Hope to see you back again soon.

[Reply]

Justins S King  on February 19th, 2010

In the Thesis wordpress Theme forum, it’s been suggested by some of the moderators that you should select the option “do not follow” tags for best SEO. (Meaning google won’t index the tag pages)

Not all themes allow you to do this, but I’m wondering your thoughts on “do not follow” tags and “do not follow” category options for SEO.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Justin,

This could be a good idea if you’re worried about Google
crawling over duplicate content.

If you have a good tagging strategy it should be unnecessary
but it’s worth considering.

[Reply]

Scott Manesis  on February 19th, 2010

Jason,

Thanks for the awesome information. One of these weeks I am going to have to chase down all my gremlin tags too, while I am at it I might as well go ahead and put my posts into silos, this should only take me about a week if I stop everything and concentrate on this…You gave me one more reason to consider doing it though!

~Scott

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Scott,

I need to do the same here.

My silo pages haven’t been updated in
a while… almost double the amount of content
now. Oh my…

[Reply]

Peter Grimes  on February 19th, 2010

Jason,
So basically, use as keywords and definitely make use of tags on a recurring basis thruout your blog over time?

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Definitely Peter,

Use tags, but avoid tags that aren’t going to be
used more than once. And avoid having too many.
A handful on a post is good enough.

[Reply]

Keith D Shrock  on February 19th, 2010

Thanks-

I knew the keywords I wanted to use as categories…..

Never new about holding the whole site to the 5 keywords you want to rank for in search.

Another good reason to do good keyword research — before site building.

PS
It helped me to put the keyword categories in notepad etc. — before building the blog.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Keith,

5 is arbitrary. The key is to avoid
killing your relevance by having too many
tags on one post.

It’s like having a headline with 10 keywords… which one
is Google going to favor? None. And how are you going to control
those tags over time? It could turn into a nightmare and a time hog.

I would stick to picking a few tag words and use them to identify your posts.
Because when it comes down to it. That’s what a tag does.

Some people have 50 on every post I’m
willing to bet a lot of them aren’t being used much
which leads to almost identical duplicate pages.

I should clarify that in this post… there’s been a few
mentions of 5 now.

[Reply]

Derek Fobert  on February 20th, 2010

Okay, Okay… Your message is beginning to come in loud and clear. All these minor details, which are actually quite major, contribute to the outcome of online marketing. This awesome, Jason! Oh, and thanks for not boring us with all the technical stuff!

[Reply]

Mitchell Dillman Reply:

Wassup Derek,

How’s it goin?

Just a heads up…I was going to check out your blog and it appears your link here is broken.

We’ll catch up later, I’m sure of it…

Mitchell Dillman

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Derek,

If I tried to get all technical we would
both be lost. :-)

[Reply]

Marcus Baker  on February 21st, 2010

The learning never stops and thank goodness you are here to pass on the wisdom…. :) I did not know this about tags so will need to add it to my damage control list…. Thanks.

Marcus

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Sometimes it’s the little things that
have a massive impact over the years.

Like that extra dose of sugar in my coffee…
I don’t even want to know how that adds up. :-(

[Reply]

Timothy Willan  on February 21st, 2010

Hey jason! I’m still learning about blogs, So not real sure about tags, I’m wondering the difference be tween wordpress. org and wordpress .com! I know .com is free but now I’m hearing that the free site is as good or just like the paid site! Why would I want to keep paying for a hosted site!

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Timothy,

Definitely go with hosting your own wordpress site.

The reason you don’t want to use their free service is
the restrictions they place on your site. I mean, do you
really want to put the future of your online business in the
hands of somebody else’s rules?

I would be terrified…

Hosting your own wordpress site gives you complete control
over everything and you get the awesome perks that come with
controlling or hosting multiple domain names and having a
bunch of storage space for videos, pictures, or whatever else
you want on your site.

Plus, most hosting sites are dirt cheap. It’s almost a matter of
preference when it comes down to it, because there’s so many
decent webhosts out there.

[Reply]

Lori Winslow  on February 26th, 2010

I am just about to start blogging and I feel like I am already ahead of many others because of all the great info I get here. Thank you so much and wish me luck as I begin my travels into blogdom.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Lori,

Good luck, and persistence will get you anywhere.

Here’s wishing you both. :-)

[Reply]

Twila Jacobs  on February 27th, 2010

I’ve read this post and comments daily since it was posted and I keep coming back to this because I’m still a little confused and need a bit of clarification.

1) Are you referring to tags or keywords used on each individual post or TOTAL tags used on one’s blog.

2) Still not clear on how to get rid of the ones that have only been used once or twice

At this point my blog shows I have used a total of 82 keywords….this is bad, yes?

Thanks,
Twila

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Twila,

Just tags on each post.

It’s totally cool to have hundreds of keywords
on your site. Each page can focus on it’s own even.

But keep in mind that tags are slightly different.

It’s okay to have a load of tags, but make sure that you use
them on multiple posts or you end up with duplicate content.
Which is almost never a good thing with Google.

The major thing to note here is…

Never use a tag once.

So some planning has to be involved.

So if you tag an article today with “Networking”
make sure you write another post in the future to tag
with “networking” too.

As for getting rid of tags used once…

Until I find a widget that does it… and there are
supposedly a few…

You basically have to go into every single post and
click the “x” mark on the tags.

Very time consuming… unfortunately. I’ll be looking
at some plugins hopefully this month.

[Reply]

Hanna Scheid  on February 28th, 2010

Thanks for the comments about tags. I really need to learn more about all the techno-internet stuff.
If anyone doesn’t have a blog yet, they’re a great way to build a biz. I found a group of guys who will build on for free and download a bunch of the best widgets for you too.

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

Hey Hanna,

And thank you for dropping in. :-)

[Reply]

5 Headline Writing BlueprintsNetwork Marketing Business Blog  on March 8th, 2010

[...] To Use Twitter Like A Ninja How To Use WordPress Tags Properly How To Write Popular Blog [...]

Cheryl  on June 27th, 2010

Thank you Jason for the Facebook Tip.

This is a great book for Newbies looking to set up their own WordPress Blog. Simple to follow guide for MLM’rs who want an online presence. Just click on my name.

[Reply]

Richard Kaulfers  on September 9th, 2010

Now this is a post worth looking into.

[Reply]

Billee Brady  on November 30th, 2010

Ok….. So I should have a set of tags for my blog basically and sort of do content around my tags? Is that correct???

That is very interesting! Thanks for the advice!
Billee Brady

[Reply]

Jason Reply:

It would make sense to plan out the site topics, tags, and architecture before writing posts.

At least from an SEO standpoint.

But in practice it’s often difficult to stick to a plan like that over the long haul.

[Reply]

Martin  on March 2nd, 2011

Hey Jason,

Thanks for the advice. I’m still getting to grips with WordPress after moving across from static pages that I created on Dreamweaver.

I had a site that had several posts on page 1 of Google. Making some decent commissions…

and then…

I added a heap of tags to each post. BIG MISTAKE. My posts went down to around 500 on Google therefore losing all of my commissions. BOO HOO. I have now trimmed down the tags to 2 to 3 to each post now.

On my Google webmasters account, the internal links are up the creak, dispersing page rage all over the place. I am trying to find a way to the get the tags de-indexed on Google but I don’t think it’s that easy. I have blocked the Google robots from crawling my indexed tags too.

I HOPE that over time Google will not crawl the old tags now and my site will rise again.

Great post though.

All the best
Martin

[Reply]

Nayeem Modan  on February 8th, 2012

I am a professional photographer and just started my blog. I am sure these tips will help me. Thanks.

[Reply]

Ahmad Razs Shah  on November 1st, 2012

good information about tag

[Reply]

Paul  on December 5th, 2012

Finally, a great post on tags. I always wondered how they should be used. Now I have the knowledge to continue blogging. How bout not using any tags at all? Would that hurt, enhance or do nothing to SEO?

[Reply]

Zoe Alexander  on December 11th, 2012

Hi Jason! Just come across your post following bad ratings in google with lots of tag errors on my site blog! I was using 30+ tags and often they weren’t specific to a mention in the post! Think that may be why I am flat-lining?

[Reply]

Leave a Comment