Blog Post Categories and Tags – What To Use and When

Categories and tags are part of the blogging process, and each has different purposes.

You need to assign at least one category, but not tags if you don’t want to. When you start blogging, you have to decide on a few categories that fit your writings. 

Having a guide to help find what you are writing about is key. That key includes categories and tags to help you keep things organized.  In WordPress, both categories and tags are known as taxonomies. Their sole purpose is to sort your content to help improve your site’s usability.

When a user comes to your site, they can browse through your content by topic rather than title or date.

Why is it important?

Categories are the main topics of your articles. Like a cookbook, the categories represent the sections – appetizers, entrees, desserts.

Which is why it’s helpful to determine which categories an article belong to so the user at first glance can get a feel for how you lay out information. Tags, on the other hand, are more specific. They help you drill down on specifics.

Let’s stick with the cookbook analogy. Tags are like ingredients, cooking methods, specialties, and such. You could have one recipe that may contain chicken, pasta. It is also gluten-free, quick meal, and kid-friendly.

So while categories give you an overview, tags help you drill down. Categories and tags should be used sparingly – you are using them to organize your content and not be a keyword stuffing mechanism. Let’s talk about what else you should know.

When to Use Categories and Tags

Categories are meant for the broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your site.

Categories are there to help identify what your blog is about.

While being helpful to the reader, they are also a way to help the search engines give some context too.

Categories and tags can be used to group related posts so that a reader who is interested in the topic can find more based on the category assigned.  Adding too many can have the opposite effect. 

By assigning too many terms that reader can get overwhelmed or disinterested because the terms may not all be relevant. The same can be said for tags. Think of it like a social media post where there are more hashtags than words. It looks like you are pushing information that has no true direction.

What are the benefits of using blog post categories and tags?

When a blog post is tagged and categorized correctly, it helps search engines better understand the content of your blog post Which can help rank your blog post higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

They give your reader a guide to find information they seek or may be interested in. While having a way to find more articles with the same topics or keywords.

First, they make it easier for search engines to understand and index your content. 

Second, they highlight key topics, which can help to improve your site’s ranking for those topics. 

Finally, they can help create internal links which can also improve your site’s SEO. 

By carefully considering the terms when planning your posts remember your ultimate goal is to reach the most people possible. 

What are the best practices for using blog post categories and tags?

Correct categories will help you resonate with your audience. But, tags are a way of labeling your blog posts with keywords that are related to the category and topic of the post.  

Don’t leave choosing your tags as an afterthought — they should be a part of your writing process. Think of them as a way to expand on the category.

Be sure to also use various keywords to help improve your blog’s ranking in search engine results.

What are some common mistakes people make when using blog post categories and tags?

People often use too many categories or ambiguous categories for too many posts. 

Since categories and tags are so intertwined, it is difficult to manage your categories and tags properly if you use too many of them. 

People will be able to find your content easier if you use more specific categories and tags.

It takes practice and time.

You need to be aware of the most common mistakes and be able to identify your own. Over time, you’ll get a sense of which categories and tags are the most useful for your content and audience.