Readers frequently ask us which is better for SEO: categories or tags.
You may be unsure of what WordPress categories and tags are and how they differ. Knowing this can assist you in using them correctly.
For this article, we will make a distinction between categories and tags for organizing content, and also how they affect SEO rankings.
What Is the Distinction Between Categories and Tags?
Categories are intended to be used for broad groupings of your posts. Consider these to be broad topics or the table of contents for your WordPress website. Because categories are hierarchical, you can create sub-categories.
Tags are meant to explain the key features of your posts. Consider these to be the index words for your website. They allow you to categorize your content on a micro-level. Tags aren’t really arranged in any particular order.
This blog post on Yourblogmaster, for example, is in our category “Beginners Guide.” All of the posts in this category can be found by going to Blog » Beginners Guide in our navigation menu.
Categories, categories vs tags, custom taxonomy, SEO, SEO best practices, sorting your content, and tags are all tags in this post.
These tags will not appear anywhere in our article. They do, however, assist users in finding this article in relevant searches on our blog.
One of the most significant distinctions between tags and categories is that while all WordPress posts must be filed under a category, they do not have to have tags.
If you do not assign a category to your post, WordPress will assign it to the default category. This is also called “Uncategorized,” but it is always helpful to replace it with “Other” or “Miscellaneous.”
Please keep in mind that in WordPress, categories, and tags are only available for blog posts by default. However, you can use a plugin to add categories and tags to your WordPress pages.
In WordPress, how do you add Categories and Tags?
When creating or editing a post in WordPress, you can add categories and tags. They are located on the right-hand side, under the ‘Document’ settings.
You can also add new categories and tags by going to Posts » Categories and Posts » Tags.
What Is the Optimal Number of WordPress Categories?
There is no set number of categories you should have. In several cases, you will want between 5 and 10 to correctly classify your posts but also make your website easy to navigate.
Categories are intended to cover a large number of posts. Sub-categories and tags can be used to divide your posts into smaller groups.
Don’t worry about coming up with a perfect list of categories if you’re just starting a blog. Simply select 3 – 5 broad categories and add more as time goes on.
Is it necessary to use sub-categories?
Sub-categories are not required, and many large blogs (including Yourblogmaster ) do not use them. Sub-categories, but on the other hand, are useful if you have a large category with a lot of posts that can be divided into smaller sections.
For example, you could have a “Recipes” category with an increasing number of gluten-free recipes.
You can categorize these posts in their own sub-category to make it easier for readers to find them. You make a new child category for “Recipes” called “Gluten-Free” and move these posts there.
Including Categories in the URLs of Your Posts
Some websites use the Category name in their permalinks (post URLs), which you can configure under Settings » Permalinks.
If this is the case on your site, your post will have a URL that looks something like this:
The post will have a new URL after being moved to a child category:
WordPress will normally attempt to redirect the old URL to the new one. It’s definitely worth double-checking that your links are still functional. You can create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one if necessary.
Another option is to keep the post in the parent category while also assigning it to the child category, but this has disadvantages.
Though the URL of the Yourblogmaster website includes categories, we often suggest that users use a lesser URL structure that only includes “Post name.”
This gives you the most freedom to reorganize content without having to worry about setting up redirects.
The modern Post name URL structure is used on all of our new websites. Because Yourblogmaster is over ten years old, it has a legacy URL structure, and changing URL structure is not recommended for SEO, so we’ve stuck with it.
Is it possible to assign a single post to multiple categories?
WordPress allows you to categorize a post in multiple ways. This could be a parent category plus a subcategory or subcategories, or several parent categories.
Having multiple categories will not help your SEO. Only assign posts to multiple categories if doing so makes the most sense for your readers.
Due to duplicate content, having your post in multiple categories may cause some SEO issues.
If you’re using different categories, try to avoid inserting a single post in two or more main (parent) categories. Each post should fall into one of the main categories.
Is there a limit to the number of tags that a post can have?
There is no limit to the number of tags you can have on each post in WordPress. You could potentially tag a post with 1,000 or more tags!
However, we strongly advise against it.
The purpose of tags is to help connect related posts. Consider them to be the index section of a book. Each tag functions similarly to a keyword in the index.
Tags help users find your site when they search for it. Tags are used by some plugins that display related posts to help them determine which posts’ topics are related.
We recommend that you limit your tags to no more than 10 per post.
What Is Better for SEO: Categories or Tags?
Are there any WordPress SEO benefits to using categories rather than tags, or vice versa?
No, is the short answer.
Both categories and tags serve distinct functions. You must use categories, but you are not required to use tags if you do not wish to. However, we recommend that you use both appropriately to assist readers in navigating your site.
Finally, you should design your website with the user in mind. All search engines want to show users the information that will be most useful to them.
This means that organizing your content for maximum usability will help you achieve higher SEO rankings.
We hope this article helped you understand the difference between categories and tags, as well as SEO best, practices for sorting your content.
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