For those who don't know, tagging is act of assigning keywords or terms to a piece of content for the purpose of descriptions and search engines. Essentially, they are labels, and those who know how to blog ought to have at least two tags for every blog post. There's no maximum to tags, but make sure that every tag selected for a post is relevant in some way. I manage a few writers for smallbiztechnology.com, and too many of them forget to tag their articles, or don't do a thorough job of tagging their articles.
- Use the same tags over and over again. The tagging system is useless when the tags you use vary. For instance, if you have a series of posts on writing articles, you could tag them as “journalism,” “writing,” “copywriting,” or a hundred other variations. The important thing is that you choose one of them, and then reuse it on every post you ever write on the topic.
- Tags do not need to be displayed in the sidebar. Tagging is not a part of your navigational structure, and so it does not necessarily have to be displayed in the sidebar. Why not simply list a post’s tags at the end of the post? The contextualisation will make them much more valuable to readers, and could even be used to replace “Related Posts,” plugins and such.
- The tag cloud is easy to scan. If you do use your tags in your sidebar, then use the tag cloud. A list of categories is very easily recognised because it is in a list. A list of tags will be clearly recognised as such if it is in a cloud. The cloud works because it fits a lot of information into a small space, and is easy to scan over.
- Proper Nouns i.e companies, people, cities
- A Keyword/Keywords from your title (so, for this post, I would tag 'how to blog' and 'tagging)
- Image Descriptions
Tags are incredibly important because they provide a sort of detailed categorization of your posts. They are also tricky to learn and tricky to master. Essentially, when you tag, make sure that they are relevant to your post, and that you use consistent tags. That's the basics.
When archives are organized by date, and categories themselves could have over 100 articles, tags make it easier for readers to find old content. This is especially important if you write lost of evergreen content, or content that's timeless, or applicable even a month or a year later. Those posts keep working for you in search engines, no matter how old they are. Make them easy find by tagging appropriately.