I wish I had found a good explanation about tags and categories and how to use them when I started out blogging. It would have saved me a lot of time. The most important thing to understand is that they are quite different, and their role.
Think of categories as families to which a certain post of your blog belongs. It is sort of a road map of your blog, like the content section in a book. Like in real families a post can belong to several categories. Again like in real families there may be sub-categories. For example, you may have dresses as a category with sub-categories shirt-dresses, sheaths, fit-and-flare dresses. These subcategories again can have sub-categories like work shirt-dresses, resort shirt-dresses, etc.
The tags – so to speak – are the elevator pitch of your post. They summarize in a short phrase or keywords what your post is all about. To create a great tag take the position of your readers for a second. Think about what you would search for when you were interested in a post like the post you just created. You may also do a key work research to slightly tweak your tag towards what gives less hits when you search for it. Why? It will increase the chances that your post is not on the sixth or seventh page, but on page one to three. Readers rarely go farther down the road when they search for something.
Just an example: Let’s assume you wrote a post about your new OOTD with your new Longchamp pliage cuire bag that you found on eBay. If you tag it Longchamp pliage, 1.1 million results will pop up. Thus, the likelihood that a reader picks your post is marginal. Most people who search these keywords, are interested in a vendor anyhow. If you tag your post styling an outfit with a Longchamp pliage, you cut the results by half. Still not great! Ask yourself for whom you write and what makes the post interesting for that group. Let’s assume you are a Millennial Fashion Blogger. A tag pliage iconic 4 millennias yields 500K results, while is Longchamp pliage too old-fashioned for millennias reduces the results to 128K, millennial OOTD with pliage to 19K, millennial OOTW with pliage to about 7.6K. You get the idea.
Sometimes you are even better off not to use a certain keyword like in the above example Lonchamp or pliage, and find another twist on what is unique about your post. Also be aware less is more. Stick to your categories and tags for similar content.
Photos: G. Kramm (2014)
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