Are you about to publish your blog on WordPress? Then you need to understand how categories and tags work to get the most out of the usability and positioning of your content.
Both Categories and Tags are part of the basic tools that WordPress offers us and learning how to use them is mandatory if you have a blog or a news section on your site.
You will commonly find these words relate to “taxonomy.” That is why I think it is necessary that you also know the meaning of this term.
Let’s continue with the key question, the main one we ask ourselves when we are learning to manage the CMS.
What are Categories in WordPress for?
As its name indicates -obviously-, to categorize our entries, in order to organize the publications both for internal management and to facilitate navigation through our content for users.
If you write about various topics on your blog, organizing posts by groups can facilitate administration in various aspects, for example: knowing how much you have publish on each topic.
However, the greatest benefit will be for your users, since if they are more interest in a specific topic than others, they will be able to access that section to read directly what they want.
In the case of using an advance search engine, you could also allow the option to perform general and category searches.
How many categories can be create?
As many as you want or your database allows, but this will have to do directly with your site and the amount of content you have.
For a blog, it is recommend that they be the least possible.
A magazine or newspaper will undoubtedly need many more.
The same article can belong to more than one category, although it is advisable that you include it in one or if it is unavoidable, in a maximum of two.
It is important that when planning your website you define the main topics about what you will deal with.
In the case of a news site, they could be: politics, economy, culture, social, sports, and technology.
As you will notice, the themes are quite broad but do not worry because for that we have the possibility of creating subcategories.
The Categories will have their own URL. In other words, if we access www.misitio.com/deportes, there we will see all the publications group in that topic.
Subcategories in WordPress
Each Category can be configure as main or higher level but also as a subcategory or lower level to another.
Continuing with the previous example, within Sports we could have the Subcategories: Soccer, Tennis, Hockey, Volleyball, Basketball.
What are tags for in WordPress?
Tags -or Tags- also serve to categorize content, but in a different way than categories; at a more micro level.
The organization of the content, in the case of Tags, is more in detail and they do not have different levels or hierarchies like Categories.
Let’s continue working with the example of a sports news item.
The article may deal with the match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The most logical thing is that this publication is under the Sports category. Depending on the medium and its organization, it could even be under a Subcategory such as LaLiga – if it were in a Spanish medium – or Europe – if the medium that publish was American -.
But of course, we would also like that content to be found by the names of the teams and their figures since they highly search engines and are relevant on the web.
So we will assign the Tags “FC Barcelona”, “Real Madrid”, “Messi”, “Cristiano Ronaldo” and others that have the same weight.
When we click on the “Messi” label, we will access all the articles filtered by that topic, regardless of the categories to which the news belongs.
In other words, we will see all the news related to Messi, be it sports, entertainment or business.
Are Categories and Tags important to Google?
Each of them, if well optimize, will help better indexing; Although misconfigure, it can harm you.
When you click on a Category or Tag, WordPress will show you an archive page. That is, a page that filters the publications group under the same condition.
Depending on the template that we are using or the configuration of the SEO plugin that we implement, these pages could be duplicate content for Google. Well, they are not the page of the article itself, but others that show the same or similar content.
The tags also act as keywords or keywords when we perform a search within our site. The same WordPress search engine will take them into account to relate content.
However, do not take Tags literally as keywords thinking of search engines like Google.
As we have already seen, the exploitation of Tags and Categories for SEO is a bit tricky.
Some prefer not to index them; Others choose to index a tag when it becomes relevant, that is when it is already been assign to several articles. In that case, it is also recommend to add a description to it; you can do it by going to Posts > Tags > Edit.
Thoroughly configure Categories and Tags with Yoast SEO
In case you don’t know yet, the Yoast SEO plugin helps us adjust certain parameters and provides help with the measurement of some indicators regarding search engines.
What WordPress newbies don’t usually do is configure the indexing or not, of categories and tags. And attention: because even depending on the template and install plugins also on the indexing of other types of content such as projects, downloads, affiliate links, etc.
Is it preferable to use Categories or Tags in WordPress?
Both. As we have already seen, they work similarly but not the same.
Both Categories and Tags complement each other, they are design to work together.
How to organize my content in WordPress?
It is important that the main Categories are define before publishing your site.
Start only with the ones you will use. It is not necessary that you create so many, thinking about what you would like to publish one day. Then you can add new ones but it is not convenient to create them just because and then change them, since it would harm you in the face of search engines that have already index your content -that is, they have already add it to their index of pages and will show it in the results- .
As for the Tags, you can probably define some at the beginning but surely -and the most recommend- is that you create them as you publish.
As an entry or article can have many Tags, you should consult them frequently so as not to make mistakes creating new ones, which differ from existing ones by a similar letter or term.
What I mean is that if you already have a post made with the Lionel Messi tag, it would be unnecessary and inconvenient for you to create a new one call Messi.
Nor would it make sense to create two labels for Cristiano Ronaldo – one Cristiano and one Ronaldo.
Prevents a label from being assign to only one entry. Whenever possible, always try to assign it to several articles, but as long as that keyword is directly relate and relevant within the content.
Even the relate posts function that some plugins or templates add to WordPress is also base on categories and tags. Depending on the tool, it will be possible to configure whether we want those relate posts that we recommend reading to be base on both criteria or only one of them