Tags should be used as a genuinely useful navigation aid. You use tags so that your readers will find it easier to locate the kind of content that they’re interested in.
Poor tagging practice will do you site no good and, inevitably, will have a detrimental impact.
A tag must be highly relevant
Tagging effectively isn’t particularly difficult. The key is to tag sparingly and efficiently. By this I mean that each tag you use must be highly relevant to the content in the post you are tagging, and the tag in question should be short (ideally no more than two words) and specific.
Let’s suppose you write a recipe for a chicken casserole.
Before we look at tags for this post, we’ll imagine that the menu shows a category for Casseroles and your recipe, of course, is in that Casseroles category. A relevant tag would be “chicken” but you wouldn’t need a tag for “casserole”.
Just suppose that the category is Chicken, (not Casseroles), then the relevant tag would be “casserole”.
Tags can be both underused and overused
There’s little point in having a tag if it’s only used 2-3 times, it means that the tag isn’t particularly relevant to your site as a whole. But if almost all of your posts have the same tag(s), you know that those tag(s) are far too general and simply don’t offer any value as a navigational aid.
- Don’t duplicate the post title
- Don’t duplicate your categories
- Don’t use uppercase, stick to lowercase
- Don’t create a tag that only applies to one post
The purpose of tags is to link similar posts together so that readers can navigate easily. Ask yourself if you would be drawn to click on the tag when reaching the bottom of the post. What will your reader do?