SEO is essential if you want your articles to be found by search engines and humans alike. How do you use both keywords and tags on your blog, and what’s the difference between them?
What Are Tags?
Tags are self-assigned “labels” that you can use to categorize the posts on your blog. For example, if your blog’s niche is puppies, you might have a tag for “puppy diet” and another tag for “puppy exercise.” For all posts about puppy food, treats and snacks, you would assign the “puppy diet” tag. For all posts about puppy exercise and playing, you would assign the “puppy exercise” tag.
Your tags can be anything you want. For example, if you have a section on your blog for hilarious dog jokes, you could even use the tag “hilarious dog jokes” or “funny jokes about dogs.” You can use whatever you tag you want for whatever posts you want, however, the more organized you are with your tags, the easier it will be for both you and your blog’s readers to navigate around your site.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing tags:
- Choose broader tags for your posts as opposed to super tightly niched tags. For example, if you use “nutritious homemade dog food recipes” as a tag, very few if any of your other posts could use that same tag in an applicable way. Therefore, that particular tag becomes pretty moot, or what is considered an “orphan” tag – otherwise known as a tag that isn’t used anywhere else on your blog. Instead, choose a broad tag like “dog nutrition” or “nutrition for dogs.” That way, you can use this same tag for several posts about the same topic.
- Don’t use multiple versions of the same tag. For example, “puppy food,” “dog food” and “canine food” are all different variants of the same essential phrase. Choose one and use it consistently throughout your site.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are used by search engines to identify what your blog and your blog articles are about. A search engine knows what terms are highly searched by users, and looks for those words and phrases on web pages. The search engine uses this information (in addition to other, more complicated algorithms) to assign a particular blog or website a page rank. This is where “search engine optimization” comes in. If you optimize an article on your blog with a particular keyword, the search engine will be able to pick up it and will hopefully assign your article a decent page rank for that particular keyword.
In essence, that helps users searching for that keyword to easily find your article, because the search engine has determined that your article is a valuable resource for that particular search term and ranks it higher on search engine results pages. Of course, this is not the only way a search engine determines page rank for your blog and it’s individual articles, but it gives you a basic idea of how keywords are used by search engines to categorize and rank your blog.
Why Keyword Research Is Important
Unlike tags, you don’t want to make up keywords on your own. You want to choose keywords that are relative to your blog’s niche that people are searching for. There are many free keyword tools that allow you to enter in different search terms and find out which terms have the highest searches. For example, if you’re writing a blog post about dog treats, you’ll want to know the best keyword for that particular article.
You might think about just using “dog treats” as your keyword, but if “dog treats” doesn’t have a high search volume, it’s not going to do you much good to optimize your article for that phrase. For example, say “treats for dogs” had a higher search volume than “dog treats.” They’re essentially the same phrase, but more people are searching for the former than the latter, so that’s the one you would want to use if you want more people to find your article.
Compile a good list of highly searched keywords in your niche before you start cranking out blog posts. Write posts that you can easily use the keywords in, and choose keywords that make sense in a sentence or phrase so your writing still comes out natural sounding even though you’re optimizing for a keyword.
Why You Might Want To Use Keywords For Tags
Even though you can choose your own tags and they can be whatever you want, consider using the list of highly searched keywords you’ve compiled as your tag list. The benefit of this is that keywords are terms you know people are searching for. Visitors to your blog may stay and use the search bar to find other articles they’re interested in, and they’re most likely going to use a common search term – which is inherently a keyword.
For example, say they land on your blog because they found a great article on puppy exercise techniques, but want to also find articles about what to feed their elderly dogs. They might type in the search term “canine diet,” and your blog’s search feature will pull up articles with that tag. If you have ten articles on canine diets, but have used really obscure, orphan tags, your blog will pull up zero search results. This will prompt the user to click off of your site and look elsewhere for the information they want.
By using highly searched keywords for your tags, you not only increase your blog’s overall SEO, you also increase the user’s experience on your blog. Your blog articles will be well categorized for highly searched terms and phrases, making your blog easy to use and navigate through.