Readers often ask us, what’s better for SEO: categories vs tags?
You might not make certain what WordPress categories and tags actually are, and the way they’re different. Knowing this will assist you to use them correctly.
In this article, we’ll explain the differences between categories vs tags for organizing your content, and the way they will impact SEO rankings.
What’s the Difference Between Categories and Tags?
Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. consider these as general topics or the table of contents for your WordPress site. Categories are hierarchical which suggests you’ll create sub-categories.
Tags are meant to explain specific details of your posts. consider these as your site’s index words. They allow you to micro-categorize your content. Tags aren’t hierarchical.
For example, this blog post on WPBeginner is in our category “Beginners Guide”. you’ll see all the posts during this category by getting to Blog » Beginners Guide in our navigation menu.
This post has the tags: categories, categories vs tags, custom taxonomy, SEO, SEO best practices, sorting your content, and tags.
You won’t see these tags displaying anywhere in our article. However, they are doing help users find this text in relevant searches on our blog.
One of the most important differences between tags and categories is that each one WordPress posts must be filed under a category, but they don’t need to have tags.
If you don’t give your post a category, WordPress will automatically assign it to the default category. this is often called “Uncategorized”, but it’s often helpful to rename the “uncategorized” category to something like “Other” or “Miscellaneous”.
Note: By default, only blog posts have categories and tags in WordPress. However, you can add categories and tags to your WordPress pages using a plugin.
How can You Add Categories and Tags in WordPress?
You can add categories and tags in WordPress when creating or editing a post. You’ll find them on the right-hand side under the ‘Document’ settings.
You can also go to Posts » Categories and Posts » Tags to add new categories and tags.
How Many WordPress Categories Should You Have?
There’s no specific number of categories that you simply should have. In most cases, you’ll want somewhere between 5 and 10 so as to properly categorize your posts and make your site easy to browse.
Categories are meant to encompass an outsized group of posts. you’ll use sub-categories and tags to separate your posts into smaller groups.
If you’re just starting a blog, then don’t worry about trying to return up with an ideal list of categories. Just choose 3 – 5 broad categories and add more as time goes by.
Do I have to use sub-categories?
You don’t need to use sub-categories, and lots of large blogs (including WPBeginner) don’t. However, sub-categories are helpful if you’ve got an outsized category with tons of posts that would be grouped into smaller sections.
For example, you would possibly have a “Recipes” category that contains a growing number of gluten-free recipes.
ou can put these posts into their own sub-category, so it’s easy for readers to find them. You create a new child category for “Recipes” called “Gluten-Free” and move these posts into that category.
Using Categories in Your Posts’ URLs
Some sites use the Category name in permalinks (post URLs), which you can set up under Settings » Permalinks.
If that’s the case on your site, then your post will initially have a URL something like this:
After moving the post to a child category, it’ll have a new URL:
Normally, WordPress will attempt to redirect the old URL to the new one. It’s definitely worth checking that your links are still working. If necessary, you’ll create a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one.
Another option is to stay the post within the parent category also as assigning it to the kid category, but this will have drawbacks.
Although the WPBeginner website has categories within the URL, we always recommend users to use a shorter URL structure that only contains “Post name”.
This will offer you maximum flexibility to reorganize content without fear about fixing redirects.
All of our new websites use the fashionable Post name URL structure. WPBeginner is over 10 years old, so it’s legacy URL structure and changing URL structure aren’t recommended for SEO which is why we’ve cursed with it.
Can I Assign One Post to Multiple Categories?
WordPress allows you to put a post into multiple categories. this might be several parent categories, or a parent category plus a subcategory or subcategories.
Having multiple categories won’t benefit your SEO. you ought to only assign posts to multiple categories if it makes the foremost sense for your readers.
It’s possible that having your post in multiple categories could cause some SEO issues thanks to duplicate content.
If you are doing use multiple categories, then attempt to avoid putting one post into two or more main (parent) categories. Each post should fit within one main category.
Is There a Limit to How Many Tags a Post Can Have?
WordPress itself doesn’t have any limit on the number of tags you’ll wear each post. you’ll potentially assign 1,000 or more tags to a post!
However, we definitely don’t recommend that.
The purpose of tags is to assist link related posts together. consider them as an index section during a book. Each tag is sort of a keyword within the index.
Tags are helpful for users searching for your site. Some plugins that display related posts use tags to assist them to find out which posts’ topics are related.
We suggest that you simply normally stick with 10 tags maximum per post.
Categories vs Tags: What’s Better for SEO?
Are there any WordPress SEO advantages of using categories over tags or vice versa?
The short answer is not any.
Categories and tags both have different purposes. you’ve got to use categories, but you don’t need to use tags if you don’t want to. However, we recommend using both, appropriately, to assist readers to navigate your site.
Ultimately, you ought to design your site with users in mind. All search engines want to point out users the content that’ll be the foremost useful to them.
This means that organizing your content for the best usability also will assist you to recover SEO rankings.
We hope that this text helped you understand categories vs tags and therefore the SEO best practices for sorting your content.