Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting Your Content

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Readers often ask us what is better for SEO: Categories vs tags?

You could be unsure about the differences between and true definitions of categories and tags. You can use them correctly if you are aware of this.

In this article, we will explain the differences between categories vs tags for organizing your and how they can impact SEO rankings.

Here’s what we will cover in this tutorial. You can use the links below to jump to the section you are interested in:

What’s the Difference Between Categories VS Tags?

taxonomy includes both categories and tags. They are utilized to arrange your posts together variously.

Your posts should be widely grouped using categories. Consider these as your website’s table of contents or general subjects. Since categories are hierarchical, you can establish subcategories.

Tags, on the other hand, are intended to describe particular aspects of your . Consider these the index words for your website. You can micro-categorize your material using them. There is no hierarchy in tags.

For example, this blog post on Wehavedigitaltool is in our category ‘Beginners Guide’. You can see all the posts in this category by going to Blog » Beginners Guide in our navigation menu.

In addition, this post has the following tags: tags, categories, categories vs. tags, custom taxonomy, SEO, SEO best practices, and tags.

These tags won’t appear anywhere in the article. They do, however, assist readers in finding this post in pertinent searches on our blog.

One of the most significant distinctions between tags and categories is that while WordPress entries are required to be placed under a category, tags are optional.

WordPress will automatically assign your post to the default category if you don’t offer it one. Although it’s designated “Uncategorized,” it’s generally good to rename the category to “Other” or “Miscellaneous.”

How Can You Add Categories and Tags in WordPress?

When creating or modifying a post in WordPress, you can add categories and tags. They are located in the “Post settings” section on the right-hand side.

Adding categories and tags when creating a post

You can also go to Posts » Categories and Posts » Tags to add new categories and tags.

See What is a category? and What is a tag? For details on the procedure for adding categories and tags. For assistance and direction, see What Is A Tag?

How Many WordPress Categories Should You Have?

There is no recommended minimum number of categories. In most circumstances, you’ll want between 5 and 10 categories so that your content may be correctly categorized and your website is simple to navigate.

The purpose of categories is to include a lot of posts. To divide your postings into more manageable groups, you can use tags and subcategories.

Don’t stress about attempting to come up with a flawless set of categories if you are just starting a blog. Just pick three to five broad categories, and you may always add more afterward.

Do You Have to Use Subcategories in WordPress?

Subcategories are not required, and many sizable blogs don’t use them either. But if you have a big category with plenty of content that may be divided into smaller sections, subcategories are handy.

You might, for instance, have an increasing number of gluten-free dishes in your “Recipes” category.

Posts in the category 'Recipes'

These posts can be placed in their own subcategory so that readers can easily find them. You add these posts to the new “Gluten-Free” child category that you establish under “Recipes.”

Using Categories in Your Post URLs

In permalinks (post URLs), which you may configure under Settings » Permalinks, some websites use the category name.

Including your posts' categories in your URLs

If that’s the case on your site, then your post will initially have a URL something like this:
/recipes/gluten-free-pancakes/

After moving the post to a child category, it will have a new URL:
/recipes/gluten-free/gluten-free-pancakes/

WordPress will typically try to reroute the old URL to the new one. Checking to make sure your links are still functional is absolutely worthwhile. You can set up a 301 redirect from the previous URL to the new one if necessary.

Another choice is to assign the post to both the parent and child categories, although this has potential implications.

Although the URL of the Wehavedigitaltool website includes categories, we usually advise users to utilize a URL structure that simply comprises “Post name.” By doing this, you will have the most flexibility possible when rearranging material without having to worry about redirects.

Our brand-new websites all employ the cutting-edge “Post name” URL format. Wehavedigitaltool has a legacy URL structure because it is more than ten years old. Since changing the URL structure is not advised for SEO, we have stayed put.

Can I Assign One Post to Multiple Categories?

A post can be added to several categories in WordPress. This could be a parent category with numerous child categories or a parent category with one or more child categories.

Having several categories will not help your SEO. Only if it makes the most sense for your viewers should you categorize posts into more than one category.

Due to duplicate content, it’s conceivable that placing your post in numerous categories will cause some SEO problems.

If you decide to use more than one category, avoid placing the same post in two or more main (parent) categories. Every article ought to fall within one main category.

Is There a Limit to How Many Tags a Post Can Have?

There is no cap on how many tags you may use in a post in WordPress itself. A post could possibly have 1,000 or more tags assigned to it!

But that is definitely not something we advise.

Tags are used to connect posts that are connected to one another. Consider them to be the book’s index. Each tag functions as an index keyword.

Users who are searching your site can benefit from tags. To determine whether posts’ topics are linked, several plugins that display related posts make use of tags.

We advise you to limit your use of tags to no more than 10 per post.

Categories vs Tags: What’s Better for SEO?

Are there any benefits to choosing categories over tags or vice versa for WordPress SEO?

The quick response is no.

Both categories and tags serve distinct functions. The usage of categories is required, however, the use of tags is optional. To make it easier for readers to browse your website, we advise using both effectively.

In the end, you must create your website with people in mind. All search engines aim to present consumers with the information that will be most helpful to them.

This implies that structuring your material for maximum usability will also aid in improving your SEO results.

Can You Control How Categories and Tags Look in Search Results?

You can customize the way your categories and tags appear on search engine results pages by using All in One SEO (AIOSEO), the best WordPress SEO plugin on the market.

First, install and activate either the All in One SEO Premium or AIOSEO free plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you must navigate to All in One SEO » Search Appearance and click the ‘Taxonomies’ tab to configure the search appearance for categories and tags.

All in One SEO Taxonomies Settings

Most websites will function properly with the default settings, but you have many options for customization.

For instance, some users may rather not have their category and tag archive listings indexed by search engines. By doing this, you can avoid problems with duplicate content and motivate search engines to give your actual posts and pages priority.

Simply set the ‘Show in Search’ option to ‘No’ in the Categories section.

AIOSEO Search Appearance for Categories

Next, you should scroll down to the Tags section and do the same thing.

Make sure you click the ‘Save Changes button at the top or bottom of the page to store your settings. Search engines will no longer index your category and tag archive pages.

AIOSEO Search Appearance for Tags

We hope that this article helped you understand categories vs tags and the SEO best practices for sorting your content. You may also like our guide on how to track WordPress category and tag analytics and our expert picks for the best keyword research tools for SEO.

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