Does Your Post Have Too Many Tags?Shawn 04.21.2014
Do you know the difference between a “category” and a “tag?” The real difference? If not, read on.
Simply put: A Category is a table of contents – the handful of “subjects” your website’s content is “about.” A Tag is an index of the content within one of these categories. So what does that mean for your post?
We’ve all been there: You finish a great piece and are ready to post it to your blog. You optimize every image and categorize your article into one of your 2-5 tidy SEO silos. Your focus keyword is researched and targeted, and everything is coming up green in YOAST. You are an SEO ninja, but you can’t shake the feeling that you’re forgetting something…
Is the headline enticing? Is the content focused? Are the alt-tags in your links keyword optimized? You agonize over your post like you left the oven on when you went to work.
You know you’re forgetting something, so you do what any sane SEO would do – you start adding tags – dozens of them. You type every iteration of every keyword you’ve ever tried to rank for – including the plural versions. “Whew,” you think, relieved, as you click “Publish.” You almost forgot to squeeze every last bit of optimization out of that post.
The only problem is that all of those tags just diminished the effectiveness of your post. But don’t fret – I have a one-step method that will not only improve your page’s SEO, but will save you the anxiety of missed tag opportunities. Here it is:
Don’t use more than five tags. Ever.
Not every post even needs one tag. Seriously. The one with the most tags doesn’t win. Google SERP algorithms don’t really care that much about tags – they are only valuable if they are well…valuable.
Tags are simply what they imply – markers – for your readers to find keyword specific content. Note the important word in that last sentence – users, not search engines. More tags won’t help your SEO. Judiciously using them (within a targeted category system will). So knock it off.
If your post isn’t about Nascar, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Indy, Indy 500, racing, Formula One, Shake N Bake, car-racing, FORD, Nissan, bootlegging, and Virginia, (and I find it hard to believe one post could be about those topics) then why would you deceive someone into reading it? They won’t get what they’re looking for, and you’ll lose a potential subscriber/customer.
If by some stretch of the imagination your post is about all those things…then we need to have a different conversation. “Tag stuffing” only increases your bounce rate (something Google does care about), while reducing your authority and credibility with your readership.
Marketing professional John Haydon puts it beautifully when he says:
Categories are like aisles in a grocery store and tags are like ingredients in the various different foods. Tags (ingredients) link together all of your posts (food items) across your categories (aisles).
This bottom-up approach to content is how you should create every article, because while it’s important to categorize and optimize, keep in mind that all this SEO stuff is ultimately to get the right content in front of the right user to create leads and grow your business.
Stop screaming everything that comes to mind at everyone that walks past your site, and stock your shelves with useful labels – you might even sell something.