Blog post tags vs keywords and tools to help

The Rant

If you blog you know that Google has a crazy way of determining which websites make it to the top of the search results. If you stay on top of SEO (search engine optimization) news then you would know that very few people actually understand Google’s SEO rules completely. With that said here are my thoughts.

WordPress tags, from what I understand, have absolutely nothing to do with SEO and are only in place to help your readers navigate your website with a specific topic. But at the same time that is why WordPress has categories. So why use tags? I am not completely sure. I guess some people prefer tags over categories and vice versa. I believe that having proper keywording is an essential part of SEO. Google did recently state that keywords are not a factor in their rankings but I’m sure it helps. Why do I think this?

SEO Help

According to the Scribe SEO plugin my post about the Eastern State Photographer Meetup is 99% perfect SEO. You can see from the screen shots below that they supplied keywords and tags specific for the post. Now up until recent I used both keywords and tags but I am not sure if I will continue to use tags from here on. My website is sectioned in categories and I think it is the best way for my readers to find other posts they might be interested in. Am I incorrect? Have you been using the tags?

Keywords from Scribe SEOTags from Scribe SEOPlease share your thoughts on this by commenting after the post. Do you use categories or tags? Why?

So now that I’ve ranted a bit about tags and keywords take a look at what Scribe SEO can do for you. The screen shot below shows details of the Eastern State post’s SEO and also show the post would look in Google’s results.

99% Details


I use Scribe SEO for every blog post I publish on this website except for the Project 365 photos. I am typically at an average for 75% before optimizing because many of my posts are shorter than recommended. When I write a lengthy post like this one I am up between 90% and 100%.

Tag Clutter

A long time ago I used to add as many keywords I could think of to posts. At the time I didn’t think about how cluttered it would be and how much it puts on the database. To declutter my WordPress database I downloaded Nuke-Pig which is a WordPress plugin that can potentially destroy your blog. I say that because it has the power to wipe out every post in one shot. It also has the power to remove all tags which is what I used the plugin for.

Backup your WordPress database before attempting to use this plugin

So I have removed all tags from my database and am slowly adding in only the tags that Scribe SEO recommends


Final Thought: Not So Secret Tip

Content is key!

Thanks for reading and happy blogging,

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. If you do nothing to WordPress…just using a vanilla install…then you're right – tags (and even categories) do nothing. Categories help to some degree if the category slug is in your URL (slugs are important in that case)…but it's fair to say that in general, it doesn't help. Now…if you're using vanilla wordpress out of the box, then you aren't really getting the full benefit. I use an All In One SEO plugin that converts my tags and categories into meta tags. But even so, you should limit it to no more than 10 tags AND categories – the bots tend to ignore the rest and start to degrade your score.How do I use things? I generally organize my site with categories (think of them as departments). Then I will additionally add tags to cross-link between categories. For example, an article I did under the category "Learning", but it also tags like "black & white", "technique" and so on. Similarly, an article under the category "Inspiration" might also have "black & white" as a tag. That way…if the person wants to see more articles about black & white, they can simply click the tag.My internal tracking shows me that more people navigate internally through tags than through any other means. So it's worth considering. Side note, concerning SEO, you should consider adding category slugs directly into your URL. For google, it doesn't pick up too much SEO (assuming the category slug is also a meta tag). But for engines like Yahoo and Bing, it makes a difference. Dates in the URL are bad. But slugs are.

  2. I'll admit, I only did SEO for Google early on. And while Google still carries a bulk of my search-engine traffice, I still get a good 10-20% of my search engine traffic through Bing and Yahoo. That doesn't seem like a lot…but for me, that's as much as 1400 hits per week. So now I'm a believer.

  3. Making adjustments to improve the site for readers is what is is all about so I totally understand.

  4. Thanks for your input and your method of using post tags and keywords. For me I don't like to use the category in the URL because of two reasons. I don't like how it looks and more of my visitors come from Google than any other search engine.

    I appreciate your comment!

  5. Matt Cutts don’t admire tags – “Google and other engines know what your post is all about you dont have to add tons of tags to tell us what is your post about”. But still there are many bloggers abuse tags, thinking that tags replace their favorite keyword stuffing but there your hear it. From the fruitful mouth of Matt Cutts “Don’t waste so much of your time on tags”

    1. Very true. Tags are for organizing and searching really.

  6. I use tags combined with the plugin ‘wordpress related posts’ which basically adds a list of tags to the bottom of each post which users can click to find related subjects.Handy to keep people on your blog, but also as i use keywords as tags this ensures my keyword is placed at the bottom of each post. As i understand it you need your keyword at the top of your post pref in a h1 tag, sprinkled through post and then again at bottom of post. (I don’t stuff my post with tags though, generally 1 to 3 tags per post)

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