Welcome back! In yesterdays blog challenge, we encouraged you to complete 5 one-minute tasks to help improve the overall look and functionality of your blog. Today, we will take that task a step further by maximizing the effectiveness of our search bars and newly submitted site maps by updating the categories and tags within our blogs.
Make Your Blog Posts Easier to Find
Misconception #1 – Categories are not important.
Many bloggers either believe that categories aren’t important and do not take the time to properly categorize their posts.
Truth – Blog posts have the tendency to get buried quickly if you are blogging on a regular basis. Categories are like folders and can neatly organize your posts so that they are easily found by internal search bars and external search engines such as Google.
Misconception #2 – The more categories I have, the easier it will be to find my posts.
Many bloggers believe that placing a post in multiple categories will help a reader to find what they are looking for more easily.
Truth – Placing many posts into many categories has almost the same effect as using no categories at all. If you were writing a post about Beef Stew it would be logical to categorize your post under “Soups and Stews” and possibly under “Beef”. If you were to categorize this under Soups and Stews, Carrots, Beef, Main Dishes, Winter Food, Comfort Food, Potatoes, and so on it is likely that you have done the same with all of your other posts. This indicates that when a reader searches a particular category on your blog they will find to many posts to weed through, once again causing the truly fitting posts to be lost in the shuffle.
Misconception #3 – The name of my categories are not really important.
Bloggers love to come up with cute little titles and acronyms for information on their blogs. For example a blogger might have a weekly feature called “Craftsy Schmaftsy” and posts written for this feature are likely to be categorized as…you guessed it, “Craftsy Schmaftsy.”
Truth – Kitschy categories are perfect for your regular blog readers who will know to search for a particular term or phrase. Newcomer will be searching for much more simple categories like “Crafts”.
Misconception #1 – Categories and tags are the same thing.
Many blogger believe that categories and tags are the same and do not value the use of both.
Truth – If categories are like folders then tags are like the staples that group certain papers together within the folders. Tags help you to more specifically label the items found within your categories.
Misconception #2 – I need hundreds, if not thousands, of different tags.
Some bloggers believe that they must tag every word mentioned in their post.
Truth – Tagging can be tedious and maximizing the use of tags is just as important as maximizing the use of categories. Tagging helps searcher to narrow down a category that may contain hundreds of entries to something more specific but your search bar will also scan the words of your post.
Limit the total number of categories that you use. People are more likely to use your categories if there are fewer of them. A long list of categories is likely to be overlooked by a majority of your readers.
Don’t place posts into multiple categories. If your categories are aptly named one will be sufficient for each post. Never use more than 2.
Think like a reader. Name your categories and tags appropriately. Someone searching for a topic will choose a common, easy name not something cute and kitschy.
Use both categories and tags. Tags help to better sort things within your categories and are the perfect complement to them.
Be selective. Search engines are smarter than we give them credit for. Both tags and categories should be used to assist search engines – not to trick them. Search engines look for well used key words and overusing them can cause your posts to look like spam to the search engines thus eliminating the effectiveness of all of that hard work.
A Word of Caution
Be aware that making changes to your categories and tags will not only effect future posts but all of your archived posts as well. If you have been blogging for any length of time it is advisable to not delete any categories until you have had the opportunity to re-categorize old posts. Of course, this alone could be a huge undertaking if your blog has many archived posts. Plan for future posts and deal with your archived posts as you have time.
Are you participating in Kick-start My Blog? Please enter your blog in the link below so we may keep up with your progress. You will only need to sign up once throughout the course of the challenge.