Blog Tags – They Do Not Mean Much to Google

Blog tags, a means of telling readers and search engines what the blog was about with some SEO perks. Right? Well this is only half true as yes, blog tags, are a way to organize your blog for readers and link articles with the same topic.  Isn’t this accomplished with Categories?  Yes and No. As Michael Gray explains in greater detail in his How to Use Tags on Your Blog or Website, tags provide an opportunity to further identify and interconnect the articles with tags.  While it is important to let you readers know what the blog and interlink similar articles, Google says that they do not mean much to them at all.

According to Matt Cutts,

Google is pretty good at saying “you know what the first time you say a phrase, it is interesting, and the second time you say a phrase, it’s still a bit useful.” After a while, we sort of realize, “Okay, you’ve said that phrase, you don’t have to keep repeating it 8, 9n10 different times …”

… blogs that have an entire paragraph full of tags. And they have clearly spent a lot of time, almost as many, you know, minutes of writing the tags  out as they have the actual content to the post. I always laugh at that as it is not that needed. A lot of times if you look at the tags, there are words that are already used in the post so it is not going to make that much of a difference. So on my blog, I never do tags … “

This is not so surprising as Google has ready told us that they disregard meta keywords.  However, tags still do play a role and should not be ignored. Tags direct users to where you want them to go next for further reading. You want readers to stay on your site and read as much about a particular topic as you have created as this increases clicks on older articles, builds your authority for that topic and keeps the content popular.  In creating this directional path, you are also creating a search friendly website for both the user and the search engines. Think if it this way, categories are a single level means of organizing your posts as they are more generic where the tags are multi-level go deeper into certain words/names that are more specific.  Keep in mind that the articles must be interlinked for them to be clicked on.  WordPress users have the ease of the cross linker plugin as Michael Gray discusses or with what Kherize5 uses, SEO Smart Links.  These are great tools as you identify certain core keyword phrases that get linked to a certain web page or article automatically instead of manually – big time saver!

How do you use categories and tags on your site? Will you continue to use tags despite not having top  level SEO benefits?