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Why We Don’t Use Tags in Our Blog Posts

Posted on the 03 August 2012 by Dfennell @BloggerGo

Why We Don't Use Tags imageRecently, I have had bloggers ask me, “Dave, why do you not use tags on your blog?”  And my answer is, “Tags do nothing for me!”  So, if tags add absolutely no value to me personally, why waste my time to carefully tag each and every post that I write?  Now, you might be thinking, “Dave, you’re crazy!  Tags provide so many benefits!  What about navigation?  What about SEO?  You’re crazy not to use them.” 

Well, the truth is; tags can add value for some sights, but for the majority, not so much!  I will explain the reasoning behind my choice not to use tags as this article progresses. 

When I first started blogging, I used to habitually tag each and every post.  I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I would spend upwards of 10 minutes on this task.  As a new blogger, I had no idea on how to tag a post properly, but hey, I was doing it.  After publishing about 300 posts on my first blog, and as a result, acquiring nearly 1500 individual tags, I began to wizen up.  After doing some careful research, I danced happily right into WordPress and deleted every single one of them.  With a huge leap of faith, I deleted this massive headache in one quick swoop.  And you know what happened?  Absolutely nothing!

There was no dip in traffic.  The search engines neither penalized nor rewarded me.  My number of page views stayed the same.  Nothing changed.  But you know what?  I saved myself the tedious process of adding tags for every post.  Not to mention, managing the mess that they create in WordPress.  

In the very beginning, using tags provided two benefits; one for the visitor and one for the blogger:

  • For the visitor: User-friendly navigation to find relevant content.
  • For the Blogger: Increased SEO and search engine indexed pages to drive traffic.

Let’s now take a look at both of these benefits and how they have changed in recent years.

Using Tags for Navigation

Aforementioned, tags were invented to provide a user-friendly way for visitors to find related content on a website.  Every tag links a visitor to a tag archive page that displays every post that has also been tagged with that same term or phrase.

For a visitor navigating a website, they can just simply visit a tag archive page that applies to what they are searching for and click-through to continue reading.  It is as simple as that.

The problem lies in the fact that tags have long been misused and even abused.  Tags are too often assigned to blog posts that do not apply.  Bloggers were not in the habit of recycling their tags for use on multiple posts, resulting in a visitor navigating to a tag archive page to find 1 post.  For these reasons, visitors have lost confidence in knowing that they can click on a specific tag to find relevant information. 

Long story short, tags have lost their place as a primary navigation tool and are rarely used today by visitors on a traditional blog.  WordPress categories have taken their place.  

Using Tags for SEO

In terms of SEO, tags used to play a major role in a blogger’s on-page SEO efforts.  Search engines crawled, followed, and indexed tag archive pages.  These indexed tag archives began to drive considerable traffic to a given website. 

Once bloggers began to notice these SEO benefits; as with anything in life, they began abusing the system by attempting to stuff their content with keywords in order to achieve higher rankings in the search engines.  As a result of this abuse, search engines have wizened up and stopped considering tags in their algorithm for ranking quality web-pages in their index. 

Additionally, an abusive tagging strategy that does not provide value to the user will be penalized by the search engines.

No SEO, No Navigation…No Tags

In my mind, why would I use tags if they no longer provide the navigation and SEO benefits that they once did?  Why waste all of that time and effort to carefully tag each and every post? 

Believe me, I thought long and hard before I made the decision to quit using tags.  But after much consideration, the reason that I quit using them is summed up in 5 reasons.

  1. Many large and successful blogs quit using them a long time ago.
  2. Using tags can actually harm SEO and dilute pagerank.
  3. Tags are the ugliest part of any blog. 
  4. They are a nightmare to manage and keep organized.
  5. Adding tags to every post requires too much time.

Your turn:  Do you use Tags?

What about you?  Do you still use tags on your blog.  Have you been thinking about deleting them?  Please tell us about your experiences with tags.

Why We Don’t Use Tags in our Blog Posts is a post from: BloggerGo

 


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