table overflowing with food and eats making for a variety of choices.

Blog Post Categories and Tags – What To Use and When

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

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

Having a guide to help find what you are writing about is vital. 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 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, and desserts.

This is why it’s helpful to determine which categories an article belongs 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. So, for example, you could have one recipe containing chicken or pasta. It is also gluten-free, quick meal, and is kid-friendly.

So while categories give you an overview, tags help you drill down. Categories and tags should be used sparingly – you use 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 helpful to the reader, they can also help the search engines give some context.

Categories and tags can be used to group related posts so that a reader 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, the 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 with more hashtags than words. It looks like you are pushing information that has no proper 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 guide your reader to find the information they seek or may be interested in. But, at the same time, they can 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 improve your site’s ranking. 

Finally, they can help create internal links, improving 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 label your blog posts with keywords related to the post’s category and topic.  

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

Use various keywords to help improve your blog’s ranking in search engine results.

What common mistakes do 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 can find your content easier using 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. Then, over time, you’ll understand which categories and tags are the most useful for your content and audience.