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Categories and Tags in WordPress? How to Use Them Properly

As any experienced content writer can tell you, simply writing good texts is not enough. In order to get some traffic on those texts, you need to know what SEO is and how to work with it. And you cannot talk about SEO without talking about categories and tags in WordPress. Categories and tags are, in fact, so important for content writing that properly using them can make the difference between your posts having high traffic, or having no traffic at all. So, without further ado, let’s look into what WordPress categories and tags are all about and how to use them.

What you need to know about Categories and Tags in WordPress

In order to properly utilize categories in tags in WordPress, you first need to know what they are. To the untrained eye, they might seem like they are the same thing. But you don’t have to be an SEO expert in order to figure out that this is far from true. There are some key differences between categories and tags that you need to be aware of in order to properly use them in organizing your website.


Categories serve to make your site easier to access. You need to see them as words that you use to describe the general sense and purpose of the post you are writing. For instance, if you are running a website that posts sports news you should have categories like Baseball, Football, Boxing, MMA, and so on. That way, you can sort all of your texts into specific categories.

Creating a new post with categories and tags in WordPress

For every new post that you make you will need to have categories and tags in WordPress.

If you are writing a post about the next Super Bowl, the category you use is football. On the other hand, if you are writing about a UFC event, the category you will use is MMA. If you feel that you need to add subcategories to make your website more comprehensive, go for it. Overall, categories serve to help anyone visiting your site better orient themselves. The category of the post they are currently reading should be clearly visible. That way they can easily access more posts in the same category if they wish to keep reading.


Tags, on the other hand, serve to highlight certain keywords. These keywords are used to increase the interest of your post and help people come navigate to other posts that have the same tags. One of the ways you can think of them is as hashtags on Instagram. They do not serve the same purpose, of course. But, they do have a similar idea behind them. By carefully using tags you will allow people to more easily research a certain subject. The tag that you use should stimulate readers to surf freely on your website in order to find more news.

The main difference

The main difference between categories and tags in WordPress is that categories are hierarchical, while tags are not. Categories are used to layer down your website and make all the posts easy to navigate. Tags are used to connect your posts by interesting keywords that you’ve used in your texts. So, texts titled “UFC 198” and “Connor vs Khabib” can both go into the category of MMA. But, texts titled “Hand injuries in MMA” and “Worst knee injuries in NBA” can have tags like “sports injury”, “recovery”, etc.

How to use them

Now that you have a clear idea of what categories and tags in WordPress are, we will go over some important tips on how to use them. Simply putting any category or tags that come to mind on your website can make it hard to read and navigate. So, in order to make your website accessible, and therefore more enjoyable, let us go over important tips of using categories and tags.

A person making a website on a laptop.

You cannot design a good website unless you know how to use categories and tags.

Site structure

Before you start posting on your website you should first carefully structure it. This means that you need to think of categories and figure out how to properly layer them. Just be warden not go overboard as too many categories can also make your website unreadable. If you do not do this properly you will force yourself to redo your website once you run into organizational problems. This can mean a ton of work that could’ve been avoided with a bit of organization. So, do yourself a favor, and organize before you post.

Easy reading

You want to make your website easy to read and easy to research. If a person wants to check your website for a certain keyword, they should be able to do so easily. You will make this possible by being creative with your tags and using them properly. It is a good SEO practice to first think of keywords that are often used in the topic you are writing about and implement them as tags in your texts. The more texts you have that share the same tags, the more related articles the reader will have to keep on reading.

A girl on a laptop.

A good website is easy to read and navigate.

Just make sure to use relevant tags and try to avoid overly wide or overly specific ones. A good way to differentiate between tags and categories is to write categories in capital letters and tags in small ones. Also, try to avoid them having the same name. This will make it easier for the readers to know which is which.

Do your homework

Getting your tags and categories right on the first try is really difficult. Therefore, what we advise you to do is to carefully research a similar website to yours before you start designing. Try going through it and figure out how they used categories and tags. Try to see if they are helping you read their articles more easily. Or, are they making the whole experience needlessly difficult. It is always good to learn from your mistakes, but it is much better to learn from another person’s.

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Elizabeth J.Categories and Tags in WordPress? How to Use Them Properly

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