5 Reasons Why Using Categories AND Tags Won’t Work For Your Website
WordPress gives you categories and tags, so you should use both, right? WRONG!
If you’ve been using both categories and tags for your blog then you gotta take a step back and ask yourself a question: Why?
Why are you using both categories and tags? Do you like how that nifty little tag cloud looks? You think that it’s best for usability?
You’re wrong and you’re hurting your website.
Yes, you could use both in a productive way, but that requires a specific strategy. Otherwise, you run into a wall of issues and complications that will stunt your blog’s growth.
Here’s Why Using Categories and Tags Doesn’t Work
I’ve been offering SEO consulting for about 8 months now. Most of my clients are using WordPress websites and 75% of them have been using categories and tags.
The chat is always the same:
Me: Any particular reason why you’re using categories and tags? I don’t see the tags being implemented in any way other than as a duplication of your categories.
Client: I thought you were supposed to / It’s better for usability / My web guy did it a while ago
Wrong. Wrong. And you hired a dumb web guy (sorry, but it’s true).
Let’s lay it out on the table. Here are the top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t use Categories and Tags for your blog:
1. Excessive Tags & Categories Leads To Poor Usability
People get ‘Tag Happy’.
Don’t be one of those suckers.
Don’t start thinking of a dozen one to two word phrases that your article is about and tag them all.
Here’s why: When users go and click on a link, they expect deep, rich, meaningful content. If you have a bunch of tags or categories with 1-2 articles, your readers will bounce… fast.
2. Thin Content
Along the same lines as poor usability. But this isn’t focused on the user element. This is focused on the Google element… Well, more the Panda element.
Google’s Panda update is a layer added to their algorithm. It hunts out bad websites and beats them to a pulp. Unfortunately, good sites get caught in the mix, too.
A scent the Panda bear tracks down is ‘thin content’ and ‘doorway pages’. By thin, I mean pages on your website that have no meat to them. They are there to act as doorway pages to funnel people onto other pages.
Panda doesn’t like this and will gladly eat away at 30-50% of your Google search traffic if you don’t meet its demands.
3. Duplicate Content
This again falls under the Panda umbrella.
In the age of Google Panda, you can get your website penalized for accidentally duplicating your content. Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say you have a blog on Leadership. For categories, you’ve chosen:
- Public Speaking
- Life Balance
Then, for tags, you’ve chosen:
- Public Speaking Advice
- Productivity Tips
99% of the time, all of the posts in the category of Public Speaking will also fall under the Public Speaking Advice tag. Same goes for Productivity and Productivity Tips.
What does this mean? Your Category of Public Speaking will be identical to your Tag of Public Speaking Advice. This duplicate content can easily cause the dreaded Panda bear to hunt you down and slap you. Not good.
4. Tag Clouds Are Ugly
Let’s face it–they are hideous monstrosities that serve no purpose.
Get rid of it and save us all a trip to the eye doctor.
5. You Leak PageRank
In the most simplistic of terms, PageRank is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm that says, ‘On a scale from 1-10, we say this site has an authority rating of 4. We rank it as more authoritative than 40% of all websites out there’.
But that’s only for your homepage. Your second tier pages (pages that are one click away from your homepage) might then be considered a 3. Third tier pages (two clicks away), might then be considered a 2.
You only have a limited amount of PageRank that can be passed, so if you’re linking to a dozen categories and a dozen tags from your homepage, your spreading that PageRank juice out. This could mean that instead of them all having a PageRank of 3, they are only a 2. This reduces your ability to rank for competitive keywords.
Help! How Do I Fix This?
Pick one, Categories or Tags (I prefer Categories). Redirect each tag to a category page that is most appropriate and then delete all your tags. Trust me — you won’t regret it.
And your users will thank you later.
Can I Ever Use Categories and Tags On My Blog?
Yes! You definitely can, but only have one indexed and have a clear strategy for how you want to use them.
For example, let’s say you have a website on Laptops. You provide kick-ass tutorials on making your laptop faster. How to use a laptop as home entertainment system. Etc. Basically, your site on laptops is baller.
An element of your website is laptop reviews. Companies think your website is so kick-ass that they want to send you their laptops to review.
So you begin organizing them by using Categories. 14 inch laptops. 16 inch laptops. Gaming laptops. They all get their own category.
You also have a page written up describing each brand of Laptops, what’s great about the manufacturer, their best sellers, why you love/hate them. But how can you link to all the reviews of your Sony laptops on your Sony laptop page without manually adding them every time?
With Tags and a few lines of PHP code, you can pull the title as a clickable URL for all Sony laptop Tagged posts. And better yet: any future posts tagged will automatically be added.
In other words, your website is now scalable and you’ve removed a significant amount of maintenance on your part. The business becomes more passive and you have more time to do the things you love, with the people you love.
Want to learn how? Sign up for the newsletter to get that code and learn how to implement it on your website.
You should still subscribe to the newsletter, because it rocks. But I decided to just put the code here.
In order for this code to execute, you’ll need to do a few things:
- Install Exec-PHP plugin
- Create a user and limit their editor to just plain text (disable the WYSIWYG editor)
Then, just insert this code:[html] <?php
$recentPosts = new WP_Query();
<?php while ($recentPosts->have_posts()) : $recentPosts->the_post(); ?>
<h4><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark”><?php the_title(); ?></a></h4><p><?php $shortex = substr(get_the_excerpt(), 0, 300);echo $shortex; echo “rn”; ?>
<?php endwhile; ?>
Replace ‘YOUR-TAG’ with the tag you’re using and replace ‘300’ with however many characters you want to limit in the excerpt.