Are categories and tags necessary?

Optimize WordPress with meta tags: keywords and co.

WordPress beginners could easily confuse meta tags and tags - that is, keywords. They have very different functions that you as a WordPress user should be familiar with. Because during Meta tags useful information for Google and other search engines deliver, Tags in combination with categories help your readers to find your way between the contributions.

Meta tags in WordPress: Often underestimated

Metadata is information about websites and about each individual contribution. This information includes but is not limited to the author, title, and a brief description of the content. All of this information is called meta tags. Search engines use them even if they are not displayed to the reader. Important for search engine optimization are above all the description and the title. Theoretically, these can be inserted into any HTML code by hand.

The HTML codes for meta tags in WordPress

If this information is available, the search engine displays the title and description as the search result. With a meaningful description, you will entice more readers to visit your website - and since they know beforehand what to expect there, they will likely stay longer. Title and Description not only ensure a good entry in the search results, but they also help Google to record the content of a post and to assess its relevance for a specific keyword. This rating has an impact on the ranking on Google.

So invest a little time in writing at least a title and a description for every post you write.

Where can I insert meta tags in WordPress?

By default, WordPress doesn't offer the ability to add these meta tags. The easiest way to create WordPress meta tags for every written post is to install a plug-in. This then shows you a separate editing window for editing the title and description. A recommended plug-in is Yoast SEO. This offers you many functions to optimize your website for search engines - among other things, it displays a window under each post in which the title and description can be entered. At the same time, it shows a preview of what the search result generated from it will look like on Google. There is also one Warning if the title or description is too long and be cut off.

Entering the title and description using the Yoast SEO plug-in

WordPress tags: Tags and categories keep things tidy

When we talk about tagging articles on WordPress, we mean the keywords that can be assigned to every post by default. These are used to sort and structure your posts and are only indirectly relevant for Google. Used wisely, you offer your readers added value. As a result, they will stay on your WordPress website longer, which sends a positive signal to the search engine. It's best to put that Tags in combination with categories to which you assign the contributions. The corresponding window for entering and selecting categories and keywords appears automatically on the right-hand side when you "create a new article".

The "Create New Post" window in the WordPress admin area

What are categories and how do I manage them?

Categories are above keywords in the hierarchy. Every post you write on your website is automatically assigned to a standard category. This can be set under the menu item "Settings> Write". However, it is advisable assign each contribution individually to a meaningful category. Not only do you keep track of things, your readers will also find articles that interest them much faster.

Under the menu item “Articles> Categories” you can create new categories, edit old categories and also delete them. The You can arrange categories hierarchicallyby adding new categories parents to assign. This is how you can easily structure your entire website.

Edit categories in the WordPress admin area

Tags in WordPress for even more structure

In the same way as the categories, you can also create the keywords under the menu item "Articles> Keywords". However, you can also use keywords enter directly when editing the post and add it to the keyword collection. This makes tagging easier, but it also ensures that a large number of keywords accumulate quickly.

A contribution should as a rule only one category can be assigned to a contribution however, several keywords contain. Use the WordPress tags to describe your posts in more detail in keywords and give your readers the opportunity to search for interesting content even more specifically. The successful interaction of categories and tags simplifies navigation on your blog.

An example: On a baking blog there is a recipe for an apple crumble cake in the category sheet cake assigned and with the keywords Apple, Sprinkles and Yeast dough Mistake.

Tips for tags in WordPress

  • use not too many tags per article, but only really relevant.
  • Keep an eye on the total number of tags on the WordPress website: a small blog usually comes with it 20 to 40 keywords out.
  • Tags should be short, consist of a maximum of two words and as special as possible be formulated.
  • Very frequently used tags may make more sense as a category or sub-category.
  • Tags that were only used for one to three articles are mostly hardly relevant to the topic of your website and can therefore also be deleted.
  • Regularly check that you are no tags too similar or use the same word with a slightly different spelling. Then summarize such terms.

Nicely presented in WordPress tag clouds

If you want to present the keywords in a tag cloud, you can use a ready-made widget for this. Under the menu item "Design> Widgets" you can select the tag cloud and assign it to specific areas like any other widget. The tag cloud will then later be displayed to visitors at the appropriate point on your WordPress website.

On the one hand, the WordPress tag cloud serves to support the navigation to simplify. Visitors to your website who are interested in a specific topic can simply click on the term in the keyword cloud. It also gives an overview of the weighting within your website: Tags that you use more often are displayed larger accordingly. This is interesting for both you and the visitors to your WordPress site.

Select the WordPress tag cloud in the widget menu

However, you cannot edit the standard tag cloud or adapt it to your preferences. Around extensive setting options in the WordPress tag cloud you need to install a plug-in. There are various plug-ins that do this.

WordPress Meta Tags and Keywords: Conclusion

  • Meta tags help Google to recognize the content of your website - that can only be good for the ranking
  • Decent search results with a meaningful title and description draw more readers to your website.
  • With a well-structured website with meaningful categories and keywords, these readers will also be happy to stay a little longer.
  • Google also registers this and rates it positively: Obviously, you have to have good and relevant content.
  • So use meta tags, categories and keywords and optimize your website for search engines and visitors.