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WordPress is easy to use. No doubt about its simplicity. But, there are still many confusions about the use of WordPress categories and tags. Beginners generally get confused about the terms and how they should use it in their blog. Advanced users look for questions such as how they can maximize their SEO by using the categories and tags.

Other questions that surround the topic includes the limit of categories and tags. Also, which one is more important in making the site more reachable to the audience.

Today, I will go forward and look at both the terms closely. There are many WordPress users who make extensive use of tags in their blogs. Do you need to do the same? Let’s dive deep into the puzzle of categories and tags.

Categories vs tags: which is better and best practices

Before we start, it is a good idea to understand what each term means.

WordPress Categories

The term “categories” is self-explanatory. It means that you are categorizing your posts. In WordPress, categories are used to group your content from a border perspective. The categories are focused on the important topics of your website. A content can easily fit one or more categories.

Categories should be ultra specific and not the other way around. If you are constantly putting posts in multiple categories than it that you have not defined the boundaries correctly or you are using unnecessary categories in your blog.

For example, a technology blog can use categories such as Opensource, Web, Hacking, Gadgets, Software, etc.

The categories should be devised carefully and there is nothing wrong if you are confused. A little help from the community goes a long way. Ask in forums or anyone who is familiar with website creation using WordPress.

WordPress Tags

WordPress tags are more specific to the content of a single post. They represent a narrower perspective on the content and provides a clever way to get around the content of your website.

Tags are basically micro-data that is associated with your content. It also helps to gel with the category.

A good example would be a post titled, “15+ JavaScript Frameworks for Creating Amazing Apps”. For this post, you can easily use “Programming” as the category. That’s the bigger perspective.

For tags, you can use the “JavaScript”, “Frameworks”,  “Development”, “Apps”, etc. In short, tags helps you to make your content useful to the audience.

Tags can easily span different categories and make it a building block of the website structure.

categories and tags

Difference Between Categories and Tags

From the definition, it would be clear that both categories and tags differ widely.

But, there are few differences that I would like to mention before moving forward.

1. Categories are must use. If you try to publish a post without categorizing, it will throw an error. In the latest WordPress, the default category for the post is “uncategorized” and this might make you not see any error at all(In case if you forget to specify the category or don’t want to specify the category at all).

2. Both Category and tags permalinks look different.

The category URL look like the following.

www.xyz.com/category/opensource/

The tags URL look like the following.

www.xyz.com/tags/javascript/

Are the categories and tags important for your blog?

Our next question ponders on whether they are important for your blog or not.

If the question needs to be answered a simple Yes or NO, then it would definitely be “Yes”. The reason is obvious, it makes your site more accessible to the audience and also helps search engine to structure your content well.

Visitors can easily navigate through the website. This also improves the user experience and, in turn, reduces bounce rate.

What are the SEO benefits?

There is a clear SEO boost of using categories and tags for your blog. Internal linking is crucial to site ranking.

With proper use of categories and tags, you can easily create a strong internal linking. This helps the crawler to crawl every part of your website.

Internal links are also beneficial for backlinks. The crawler will most probably crawl the associated pages/post and improve the site’s SEO presence.

You can learn more about how to use categories and tags more effectively in a 85ideas article.

Written by DeerDesign
I am passionate about everything web design related and this page is the product of that.