Search engines detect and use keywords when indexing your posts and each tag has a unique descriptive keyword term – permalink. Theoretically assigning relevent Tags/Categories to posts helps potential readers locate relevant content in search results, and increases the odds your content will be found by new readers. More to the point, is the fact that Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking and has not done so since at least 2009. See Matts Cutts of Google state that in the video below:
Categories are like the chapter titles on a Table of Contents of a book. Tags are like the index terms that are found in the back pages of a book. Both are based on keyword descriptions that naturally occur in any written language. In fact both are superfluous from the search engine POV. The function they serve on your blog is to provide readers topical access to content located deeper in your blog via Tags and/or Categories clouds, widget displays and lists.
I have recently met new bloggers who were under the impression that the WordPress.com global tags pages operated as a blog directory does. This isn’t the case. Global Tag Listings at WordPress.com aggregate all published posts attached to any particular tag or category, and display the most popular topics.
When we publish a post it’s automatically sent to the global tag pages to appear in order of the original date and timestamp under the Tags/Categories we assign to it. However, display of posts in the most popular Tags/Categories is randomized, as there are 31 million blogs and about 7 posts are published every minute. If your posts aren’t appearing under a Tag/Category do not approach Staff unless or until you have assured yourself none of these apply > global tags > missing posts
1. The most common mistake new bloggers make is spamdexing ie. assigning an excessive combined number of categories and tags to any post. Keep the combined total of the two under 10.
2. The second most common mistake new bloggers make is tag spamming ie. assigning unrelated categories and/or tags that the text in the post does not support.
3. The third most common mistake new bloggers make is changing datestamps. The software will post only under the original datestamp and timestamp. Editing datestamps will not change positioning but it will create a 404 (page not found).
4. Though search engines treat Tags/Categories the same way, for a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between tags and categories by read Lorelle’s Categories versus Tags: What’s the Difference? and Categories are not tags: Got it?
SEO Optimization – Key Factors
Successful blogs draw between 30 – 60 % of their incoming targeted readers from search engine referrals. Targeted readers are those who arrive on your site because they already have an interest in the content your posts and blog contain. They have typed keywords and phrases into search engines and located your posts in the SERPS (search engine page results) and clicked through to the posts. The fact that targeted readers already have an interest in the content in your posts means they are likely to read more than one post, more likely to leave comments, and more likely to become regular readers/subscribers. Basic SEO elements for bloggers
In a blog is it worth spending time on creating tags and categories for SEO purposes?
Here’s what Google’s Matt Cutts has to say in reply:
- Search engines pay more attention to your keywords in your content than they do to your keywords in Tags/Categories.
- Words matter
- Titles matter
- Links between websites matter
- Words used in links (anchor text) matter too
- Search engines care about reputation
- Tags/Categories are not required for SEO purposes.