Have you been adding tags on your blog post? Have you ever wondered what are tags in WordPress?

Tag is a default taxonomy in WordPress that could be added to a post.

Adding tags in a blog post is optional unlike category where WordPress would automatically select a default category if you don’t set it yourself.

Let’s dive deeper into tags and how you could use it to improve your user reading experience.

Tags vs Categories: What’re the Differences?

Categories and tags are very similar by nature. They’re both taxonomies in WordPress that’s used to group and organize content — your blog posts.

As I mentioned before, the category is required. WordPress will set a default category for your post if you didn’t set any. Whereas, tags are completely optionals.

Let’s go through the key difference between tags vs categories.

Categories are used for broader grouping of topics. For example, if you’re creating a food blog, you might create categories such as recipes, kitchen, breakfast, or desserts.

Categories are hierarchical. You could have a parent category and a child category. For example, you could have a category called lunch, and under it, a child category called seafood.

Tags are much more specific topic that’s relevant to the content on the post. Think of it as a niche topic for your post. For example, for a food blog, you might want to use tags such as pizza, meatball, carrot cake.

Tags are not hierarchical. You couldn’t have parent tags and child tags.

Tags vs Categories
Tags vs Categories

Let’s do another example.

If you’re writing about how to cook seafood Aglio olio, the category could be lunch, and tags could be pasta.

You could also set category as lunch, subcategory as seafood, and tags as pasta.

Category & Tag Usage Examples
Category & Tag Usage Examples

How to Use Tags in WordPress?

There’re 2 ways to add tags in WordPress.

The first method is the widely used method to add tags. When you’re writing a new blog post or editing an existing post, simply key in your tags in the Tags box on the right side below the Categories blog. You could use a comma to separate tags.

tags in WordPress post
Tags Meta Box

The second method is more useful for you to manage tags. Go to “Posts > Tags”. On this page, you could add a new tag, update existing tags, and find out which tags you used the most on your blog.

WordPress Tags
WordPress Tags

How to Display Tag Cloud on Your Website?

A tag cloud is a visual representation of tags that exists on your website.

A tag cloud uses font size and/or color to visually indicate usage frequency. The more frequently used tags would have a larger font size or different color depending on your theme.

To display tag cloud on your WordPress site, go to Appearance > Widgets. Search for “Tag Cloud” under the “Available Widgets” section and drag it to the widget area available on your theme.

Widgets - Tag Cloud
Widgets – Tag Cloud

The widget title is optional. You could leave the title blank and choose to show or hide the tag counts.

Depending on the theme you’re using, your post’s tags might display differently.

SEO Best Practices for WordPress Tags

As you should know already by now, categories and tags are useful for grouping and organizing your posts for your users. But, the default way WordPress handles categories and tags could have a negative SEO impact.

By default, WordPress would create an archive page for each tag and category that would list all posts that use the tag or falls under the category.

DON’T use the same category and tag

This is bad for search engine crawlers because the same posts are found on multiple pages on your site. It causes a duplicate content issue which is a common reason why a WordPress site won’t rank well.

You could add a meta robots tag noindex to fix this issue.

The noindex tag will tell search engine crawlers NOT to index the category or tag archives page.

How to Add Noindex With Yoast SEO

After you install and activate Yoast SEO, go to SEO > Search Appearance > Taxonomies.

Find the Categories and Tags sections and set it to NO.

Yoast - Taxonomies
Yoast – Taxonomies

How to Add Noindex With Rank Math

If you’re using RankMath like me, you could go to Rank Math > Titles & Meta.

Click on Tags under the Post section and select “No Index” on Tag Archives Robots Meta.


Rank Math - Tags
Rank Math – Tags

If you want to add meta robots noindex to category archives, click on Categories and select “No Index” on Category Archives Robots Meta.

Rank Math - Categories
Rank Math – Categories

Final Thoughts

Similar to categories, tags in WordPress play an important role in organizing your content. Use tags to group related posts that don’t belong in the same category, it helps your visitors to find topics that they’re interested in.

Your site’s categories and tags aren’t set in stone right from the time you create your website, it evolves as you keep growing your content. You should keep monitoring your categories and tags.

You might notice a certain category or tag isn’t adding any value to your SEO, it’s actually best to remove it.

On the other hand, you might see a certain tag begins to gain popularity, you could consider moving this tag to a category or a subcategory

I would advise adding at least 3 – 5 tags to your post that’s relevant to the content. It could help users find similar content and reduce your bounce rate which gives you a good SEO boost.

How do you manage your tags in WordPress? Are there any tips you could share with others?

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