Published 04.05.2021 by Schmitt Trading Ltd.
Knowing what tags and categories are and the difference between them can help you understand how to apply them to your posts before publishing. Tags and categories have some benefits mainly that they help interested readers find out how to continue reading similar topics on your site or blog.
If you don’t select tag and category because you are not interested in doing so, or it doesn’t fit with the content of the post you want to publish, it will be automatically assigned to “uncategorized” or any title you change “uncategorized” to.
If your blog or site is structured in a way that all your posts belong to only one category—or they are “uncategorized”—a new reader or visitor who isn’t familiar with your site may find it hard to navigate it without clicking on categories because none has been created.
Although categories are important, having too many of them may confuse the reader; therefore, it is advisable to have only a minimum number of categories that would be really important; try to assign each post to only one category.
In a situation where you have to assign more than one category to one post, assign at most two or three categories to a post, and don’t create a category just for the fun of it—don’t create any category that you won’t use or write anything related to in the future.
Unlike categories that are designed to have a broader purpose, tags were designed to have a more specific purpose: for the purpose of navigation, readers or visitors depend a lot on tags in the same way that they depend on keywords when making searches on search engines.
Long phrases can be used as tags which help to link similar or related posts together, and assist readers in navigating a site. If you create a category and assign it to a post that isn’t appropriate for it, the result is that it may worsen user experience by leading users astray, thus increasing bounce rate and lowering your site’s search engine ranking.
By understanding the major differences between tags and categories, and how they work, you can use them to your advantage and make it easier for visitors and search engines to navigate your site or blog. Before we look at the benefits of using tags and categories, let’s briefly discuss the major differences between tags and categories.
Major Differences between Tags and Categories
- One major difference between tags and categories is that tags were not designed to be assigned to posts, but all posts were designed to be assigned to a category; in fact, they are always assigned to a category. If you don’t assign a post to a category, your posts will automatically be assigned to “uncategorized” or any title you change “uncategorized” to.
- In terms of directing users or readers on sites, tags are more specific, while categories are less specific—they are broad: each site or blog is like a book in which tags are like items/indexes in the book, and categories are like the chapters in the book: by taking a look at the title of each category (chapter), a reader would be able to get an idea about how a site (book) is structured or organized, and the type of subjects/niches covered on the book (site or blog). If the owner of the site or blog (author of the book) changes, adds or removes any categories (chapters), it would change the structure of the site or blog (book).
- Usually, tags can have more words and be much longer than categories, while categories usually have one or few words.
- From the perspective of a user or visitor, if a tag is changed, added, or removed, the structure of a site or blog won’t be affected as much as it would if a category is changed, added, or removed: changing, adding, or removing a tag (item/index) from a site (book) won’t affect the structure of the site (book) as much as it would if a category (chapter) is changed, added, or removed from the site (book).
Benefits of Using Tags and Categories
- Tags and categories can boost your SEO, provide a better user experience, and increase the amount of time users spend on your site, thereby reducing the bounce rate because of extra time spent by users on your site your blog.
- Tags and categories serve as an indicator to search engines: they help search engines interpret what the topics on your site are all about; this can help your site to rank for those keywords in the tags and categories.
- Tag and categories can link your popular posts to other posts on your site if other sites and high-quality websites have created a link to your popular posts; this can help increase your site ranking on search engine result pages.
- Tags and categories provide more alternatives to navigate a site, and can thus help users or readers easily navigate your site.
- Tags and categories can help users or readers easily find important or relevant topics on your site or blog.
Although the main purpose of tags and categories is to help regular readers navigate sites, if you use them appropriately, they can boost your search engine ranking and help new visitors understand the subjects/niches or types of posts that can be found on your site, especially if they spend more time navigating on it.