Sharing is caring!

Some of the mentioned matters we see when attending WordCamps and different occasions are what’s better for SEO: categories vs tags?

What’s the distinction between categories and tags?

What’s the optimum variety of WordPress categories?

What number of is just too many?

Is it okay to assign one post in a number of categories?

Is there a restriction of tags we are able to assign to every post?

Do tags work like meta key phrases? Are there any search engine marketing benefits of utilizing categories over tags or vice versa? We’ve seen fairly a couple of commentaries on this topic by out the online, however, we discovered that they had been inconsistent and incomplete. In the event you ever had these questions, then hopefully they are going to be answered as soon as you might be accomplished studying this put up, so you can also make changes to your weblog if obligatory.

Earlier than we talk about any of the questions listed above, we have to perceive what’s categories and tags. Within the WordPress nomenclature, each category and tags are referred to as taxonomies. Their sole objective is to find your content material to enhance the usability of your web site. That means when a person involves your web site, they’ll simply flick through your content material by subject somewhat than searching chronologically which is how blogs had been initially set up.

What’s the distinction between Categories and Tags?


Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Consider these as common matters or the desk of contents in your web site. Categories are there to assist determine what your weblog is absolutely about. It’s to help readers discover the appropriate sort of content material on your web site. Categories are hierarchical, so you’ll be able to sub-categories.

Tags are supposed to describe particular particulars of your posts. Consider these as your web site’s index phrases. They’re the micro-data that you need to use to micro-categorize your content material. Tags should not hierarchical.

For instance when you’ve got a private weblog where you write about your life. Your categories may be one thing like: Music, Meals, Journey, Rambling, and Books. Now if you write a post about one thing that you simply ate, you’ll add it within the Meals category. You possibly can add tags like pizza, pasta, steak and so on.

One of many largest distinction between tags and categories is that you simply MUST categorize your post. You aren’t required so as to add any tags. If you don’t categorize your post, then it will likely be categorized underneath the “uncategorized” category. Individuals usually rename the uncategorized category to one thing like Different, ramblings and so on.

One other distinction is the way in which your category and tags permalinks (URLs) look. If you’re utilizing a custom permalink (URL) structure, then your base prefix will look completely different. Instance:


What’s the optimum variety of WordPress categories?

Up till WordPress 2.5, there was no built-in help for tags. This led to very lengthy category lists as a result of individuals had been utilizing it to outline micro-details. Tags had been added to enhance the usability of your web site. Having that mentioned, we consider there is no such thing as a particular optimum variety of categories. The optimum quantity varies based mostly on the complexity of your web site. Nevertheless, for the sake of construction and usefulness, it’s best that you simply make the most of sub-categories and tags.


Categories are supposed to embody a bunch of posts. It’s all the time greatest to start out with generic categories and work your manner down with subcategories as your web site grows. After having run a number of blogs, we’ve heard that blogs evolve. There isn’t a manner you can give you all the appropriate categories. The likelihood is when beginning out, you might be solely writing one post a day. Or possibly 3-5 posts a day. Having 30 prime categories is pointless particularly when a few of them will solely have one or two posts. You’re higher off with 5 generic categories that have recent content material somewhat than 30 prime categories the place the bulk should not up to date.

Let’s check out an instance. Say that we’re beginning a social media weblog in 2012. We need to share how-to tutorials, information, instruments, case research and so on. We are able to create prime categories like Twitter, Fb, Google+, LinkedIn and so on. As subclasses of every, we are able to have instruments, how-to’s, case research, information and so on. Nevertheless, that may be a very short-term mindset, and we are going to run into points sooner or later. What if one of many social media community dies and a brand new one enters the sport? You may be required so as to add yet one more high stage category and extra sub-categories.

A  lot better manner of structuring this social media weblog could be to have top categories that are future-proof. You possibly can have your categories like How-To’s, Information, Case Research, Instruments, and so on. However, how would individuals know that it’s about twitter? Properly your categories should not suppose to do the complete job. That is the place tags are available. Let’s say you wrote a how-to post about twitter, merely add the tag twitter. In your design simply add a bit known as Fashionable Subjects and management that manually with hyperlinks to well-liked tags like Twitter, Fb, Google+ and so on.

When do you add Subcategories?

Let’s say that you simply do a case-study post the place generally you interviewed a skilled for a particular case-study. As a result of there is no such thing as a category known as “professional interviews”, you’ll add that as a tag on that case-study post. If you end up doing numerous interviews for case-studies and your skilled interview tag has 10+ posts in it and is persistently rising, then you need to take into account including skilled interviews as a sub-category of your primary category “Case Research”.

Sure, you’ll have to return and edit your older posts. In case your URL construction is /category/postname/, then you will have to ensure you are utilizing the Redirection plugin. It routinely redirects your modified posts to their new URL, so you’ll be able to preserve all of the search engine rankings.

Do I’ve to make use of sub-categories?

No, of course not. You possibly can all the time go away well-liked tags as tags. In our instance above, nearly all posts could have a tag for a particular social media community like twitter, FB, and so on. However, we aren’t creating these as categories. The one purpose why you add sub-categories is to make it simple in your customers to seek out the content material. You’re greater than welcome to easily add the Skilled Interviews tag in your web site someplace.

Keep in mind the entire objective of categories and tags is to make it simple in your customers to browse your web site.

Is it okay to assign one post to a number of categories?

You may learn on different websites that assigning posts to a number of categories can harm your search engine marketing. Some say you can get penalized with duplicate content material due to that. We consider that assertion shouldn’t be solely true. To begin with, don’t get misplaced with search engine marketing. Keep in mind the aim of sorting your content material effectively is to assist customers to discover it. By the character of how top categories needs to be set up, you shouldn’t be capable of classifying one post into a number of top-level categories. For instance, in case your weblog has three categories “Promoting, Advertising and marketing, and search engine marketing”. Your posts usually are likely to fall into a number of classes. Maybe you want an umbrella category for all three? Perhaps they need to all fall underneath Enterprise? Or you’ll be able to have one class known as Promoting & Advertising and marketing. Then have search engine marketing as a sub-category for these.

There isn’t a search engine marketing advantage to including a number of categories. In the event you assume it helps your customers, then you might be greater than welcome so as to add one put up into a number of classes. Nevertheless, if you happen to see this turning into a daily subject, then you need to take into account restructuring your classes. Perhaps a few of your classes must be tags. Or possibly they need to be subcategories of 1 main class. It’s primarily about making the person’s expertise higher.

If you’re tremendously involved about a duplicate content material penalty, then merely (noindex, comply with) your class taxonomy utilizing the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.


In the event you solely need to (noindex, comply with) particular categories, then you are able to do so by enhancing the category themselves. Yoast plugin has the setting to override the worldwide settings.

Mainly if you (noindex, comply with) sure factor, it tells Google and different search engine bots to comply with all post hyperlinks in these classes, so all posts may be listed. Nevertheless don’t index the main category archives to forestall duplicate content material.

Brief reply: WordPress permits you to add one post into as many categories as you want. Sure it’s okay to assign one submit into a number of classes so long as you assume it helps your customers. Nevertheless, if you happen to consider classes as Desk of Contents in your weblog the place posts are chapters, then can you will have one chapter in two separate sections? The reply to that query is NO.

Is there a restriction of tags we are able to assign to every post?

The brief reply to this query is NO. WordPress has NO limits on the variety of tags you’ll be able to assign to a particular submit. You possibly can add 1000+ tags if you happen to like. Nevertheless, the aim of tags is to narrate your posts collectively. Once more consider tags because of the index of your ebook. These are well-liked key phrases that you need to use to loosely relate your posts. This makes it simple for customers to seek out your posts specifically when they’re utilizing the WordPress search. It additionally helps if you’re using the tag archive for customers. We are saying add not more than 10 tags to your posts except you’ll be able to justify it. For instance: if you’re working a film evaluation weblog, it’s possible you’ll add a number of tags: actor/actress names (this alone may be over 10). However, chances are high that you could be evaluated a number of films that have Adam Sandler in it. However, for different less complicated eventualities, you need to actually restrict the number of tags you utilize. In any other case, it’s possible you’ll end up with over 10000+ tags with solely 300 posts on the location.

Do tags work like meta key phrases?

Usually, individuals mistake tags to be like meta key phrases in your blogs. That is the principal purpose of why they attempt to add as many tags as potential. Tags are NOT meta key phrases in your weblog. At the least not by default. Fashionable plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast permits you to use your tag values to be within the meta key phrases template. However if you happen to don’t have these plugins configured to do this, then your tags DO NOT work like meta key phrases.

Categories vs Tags: What’s higher for search engine optimization?

Probably the most requested query that we see being requested on this subject is: Are there any search engine marketing benefits of utilizing classes over tags or vice versa? The straightforward reply to that is NO. You must NOT have a look at this as categories or taxonomies. They’re meant to work collectively. If in case you have learned this put up, then you need to be capable of perceiving the person’s objective of classes and tags in addition to their mixed objective in your web site’s usability.


Your web site is about your customers not search engine bots. The aim of each search engine is to assume the way in which customers assume when valuing your content material. In the event you make your choices based mostly on usability, you’ll nearly all the time end up reaping the search engine marketing advantages. Categories and Tags are simply the 2 default taxonomies that come with WordPress. Most superior websites use customized taxonomies for sorting their content material alongside with categories and tags. Consider your weblog as an ever-evolving ebook. Select the Desk of Content material (categories) correctly. Be sure that they’re broad matters, however, be cautious to not make it too imprecise. Use tags to loosely relate a number of posts. In the event, you see a sure tag is turning into well-liked, then take into account including it as a sub-category. Nevertheless, if it’s a must to add the tag as a subcategory of a number of top-level categories, then go away it as a tag. The aim is all the time to make the location as person-pleasant as potential.

We hope that this text helps clear any and all confusion in the case of the subject of categories vs tags. We might love to listen to your ideas on this matter. How do you kind your content material? What greatest practices do you comply with?

0 CommentsClose Comments

Leave a comment