#nbimmo Post: Tags and Categories
Welcome to the tl-dr Newbie Blogger Initiative Post (Number 2)! Big props go out to Syp and his blog Biobreak for starting up this concept. It’s a great way for new bloggers to get into writing for whatever their reasons are.
For this post, I want to write another post on how to help out other bloggers. After this post my high-and-mighty-soap-box will be broken from the advice I have spouted. For this post, I’m going to focus on Categories and Tagging (in the WordPress nomenclature), because I am an expert on such things. Really. I swear. I have a Master’s Degree in how to organize stuff (even gamers), and I work professionally creating organization systems for online systems. Ask me about web design and I would not be able to help you besides say, “You should make it look pretty!” But data modelling, curation, and organization are my wheelhouse. Star Shadow has a great tutorial on using categories and tags in Wordpess. I’m just going to build on what was said there.
This section is very controlled and will be how you want all of your posts grouped together. For example, if you’re running a gw2 site:
Type of play
etc. etc. The main goal with “categories” is how you want to group your posts for people to *browse* or *navigate* to a different subject on your blog.
You can break out the categories any way that you want really, just remember that once you decide on them it’s hard to change them. If you want to add a new category to 100 posts that you’ve already posted, you have to go back and add them by hand. So deciding on categories near the beginning of your blog would be a pretty good idea. (If you want some help with this, I’m happy to throw some ideas at you.)
Tags are important for 2 things on your blog.
If you’re searching for something on your blog (not from google), the tags are what will be searched, so think about what types of terms people would search for. (Google will search fulltext, categories, AND tags, so it covers all the bases)
2) Word cloud
This is important because it’s a great visual for the tagged content on your site. People will click in here a lot to find different content you produce, so if you use many tags in the same ways they’ll be able to find more content they are interested in. I read an article last year about word clouds that actually said they improve how people find stuff on your site by x%. I don’t remember all the details (like who wrote it), but I remember the paper being solid. If I find it again, I’ll let y’all know
Cases and phrasing
This is just for consistency to help out your users. It takes a bit more thought when you put tags on a post, but the effort is well worth it in the long run.
Make sure you always use the same case for words. So, if you have a tag for a guild wars 2 blog, and you want to tag every post being about guild wars 2, make sure you always say “Guild Wars 2″. The system thinks “Guild Wars 2″ “guild wars 2″ and “gw2″ are all different things. It can’t understand the semantic similarities between them, so you have to be diligent about using the same phrasing, capitalization, and case for all the tags you use. (e.g. “tags” and “tagging” are actually 2 different tags in the system).
I’m going to use a real example here to illustrate how tagging should happen “behind the scenes” of a post where it is only done for a system.
Here are the tags for the last #nbimmo post I wrote. And I was lazy and didn’t do all of them. I only did about half of what I wanted/should have.
nbimmo,newbie blogger initiative,newbie blogger initiative mmo,creative commons,creative commons license,cc license,cc,sypster,biobreak,dmca,digital millennium copyright act,takedown notices,take down notices,c word,cunt,c-word,attribution,sharealike,share alike,noderivs,no derivatives,noncommercial,non commercial,plagiarism,jacob ratliff,jacob a ratliff,jacob a. ratliff,gameronomist,gaming information,information about games,video game information
Let’s break it down a bit to make sense of it.
Let’s start with this one, because I bet many people did not even see it in my list. First of all, let me apologize for the language, as it is definitely R rated and NSFW (but in this context it is SFW, because I could have this conversation at work because of the context).
In the post these keywords are taken from, I had a section that referenced the “C-Word”, and I was talking about copyright, but referring to the C-U-Next-Tuesday variety as a tongue in cheek joke. I added that version to the Meta Tags because 1) having it doesn’t hurt anything (because no one can actually see it), and 2) if someone is doing a search for that word and comes upon my post, I would rather they be on my blog than somewhere else.
“copyright,copyleft,piracy,pirates,pirating,dmca,digital millennium copyright act,takedown notices,take down notices”
A few of these words I used in the actual post, but most of them I did not. I never talked about copyleft or pirating. The others are just the many variations a word could have. Pirates and pirating being a good example. I would not use all of these for the visible tags (as I mentioned above), but using all the variations for the meta tags is good because then I get different people to come to the blog who have different search behaviors.
“creative commons,creative commons license,cc license,cc,attribution,sharealike,share alike,noderivs,no derivatives,noncommercial,non commercial”
Same as above.
“gaming information,information about games,video game information”
I put these tags in the meta tags section of every post published on tl-dr. It’s the main focus of our blog, so I want to make sure people looking specifically for these topics gets to us
“jacob ratliff,jacob a ratliff,jacob a. ratliff,gameronomist”
These tags are all about me. My name and how I am searched on the internet. Before I started using the handle “Gameronomist” there was only 1 search result for it on Google, now there are tons. Googling my name has also changed because of the SEO I’ve done on this blog. I have moved up significantly on the searches, and this blog is ranking up in them as well. Good personal branding.
Do you have any suggestions for good ideas about tagging and categories? Let me know!
Categories are ways to organize posts. Tags are used to search for posts. Meta tags are for Google.
Ding! You’ve Leveled Up! Please see your local librarian for training.
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