How to Use Tags To Keep Your Readers

I wrote a post here about the difference between categories and tags but, when I reviewed it this week, I found that it’s incomplete.  So here’s an update.

In that post I talked about categories being like filing cabinets, containing all your posts on a given subject area.

What I didn’t say, and should have, is that tags are like folders within the filing cabinet.  

So, if they’re used properly, they will link together articles that are more closely related to each other, within the broader subject of your category.

For example, I have a category on this site called Internet Marketing. Within this category I’ve written posts on Social Network Marketing, Niche Analysis, PPC campaigns and a number of other subjects.

If I had used my tags properly I would be able to link together all the posts on (for example) Social Network Marketing.

So then anyone reading an article on Social Network Marketing would be able to easily find related articles on it by clicking on the ‘social network marketing’ tag at the foot of the article.

Unfortunately I didn’t do that, so now I have to go through all my articles and edit the tags to improve their focus and consistency. 🙁

It’s not really a defence, but the fact is I’ve only just started displaying the tags used on each article. Prior to that I wasn’t displaying them, so I didn’t appreciate the benefits of re-using existing tags on new articles to link them more closely together.

The upside is: I only have around 160 articles on this site.  Imagine if I had several thousand. It would take me years to update them all. 🙂

So the moral of the story is this: re-use existing tags on new articles (where it’s appropriate) to link them more closely together in sub-groups within their categories.

This will make it easier for your readers to find more information on the subject they’re interested in – keeping them on your site for longer.

And what’s good for your readers is generally good for the search engines too.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sarah 19 February, 2009, 3:13 pm

    Martin, again thanks for the metaphor and clarity on how to best use tags and categories.
    I appreciate the insight of how the use of tags and categories keep my readers on my page longer giving them more to read.

    • WealthyDragon 19 February, 2009, 3:34 pm

      Sarah, hi,

      You were a devil..! :D,

      Good to see you here and I’m delighted this was helpful.

      I’m looking forward to when you’ve got some articles up on your blog – get writing..!



  • Bad Azz Network Marketer 26 February, 2009, 2:53 am

    I personally don’t show tags directly on my blog, I perfer related posts as it shows the headline and exactly what’s in an article, where’s a tag is more like “click on it and anything goes”.

    I use tags for seo purposes definitly, but not to show on posts. It’ just clutters it up to much for me.

    Great post for those who want to use them

    Bad Azz Network Marketer´s last blog post..Aston Martin Rapide : Bad Ass Car Series #1

    • WealthyDragon 26 February, 2009, 7:06 am

      Hi Joe,

      Yes – I understand your point.

      Clicking on tags certainly could bring up ‘anything goes’ if you haven’t taken care with your tagging.

      I recently completed the exercise that I referred to above of reviewing and rationalising the tags on articles on this blog. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome (although I say so myself!).

      If people click on any of the tags at the bottom of my articles now they will be taken to a list of genuinely related articles.

      Cleaning up my tags like this also enabled me to change the criteria in my related tags plugin to include at least one common tag. That will improve the relevance of articles that the plugin brings up too.

      So it was a pain in the butt of an exercise but I’m please with the outcome!

      That’s a very nice theme you have on your blog, BTW, very nice indeed.



  • kovshenin 12 March, 2009, 10:12 pm

    Looks nice. Pretty good explenation there. I don’t have categories on my blog though, only tags, but I think that’d be enough 😉

    ~ k

    kovshenin´s last blog post..Give WordPress the iPhone Look: wpTouch Plugin

    • WealthyDragon 13 March, 2009, 7:41 am

      Sure – you don’t need to use both. But the point I was making is that using tags in a disciplined way is helpful for both readers and the search engines.