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Many content management systems – including WordPress – allow content creators to add tags to a post or website page.
Tagging a post well can help search engines like Google find content quicker. In theory, Google’s computers do a great job scanning (called crawling) web pages and indexing them so Google can determine when to show a website for a specific search phrase.
For years, on many of my WordPress-based projects, I have actually ignored tags. I’ve been saying that categories are enough to structure content. Categories work great to display content in “buckets” on the website or to generate topic specific newsletters.
But tags have their place, too. Adding relevant tags (think of them as your post’s main keywords) to the post can help search engines. Here’s an example:
I have a Google Alert setup for my name and get alerts from time to time.
Some sites that mention me don’t show up in the alerts. Some do. I’m not going to get into Google’s ever-changing algorithm here, but have had instances that when I was mentioned as a tag in the post, I would get an alert quickly. When no tag was added I sometimes didn’t get an alert at all.
Here’s an example from We Create Here that showed up in my alerts. The tag archive page is what showed in my alert. The actual article page did not. Thanks to the writer tagging me in the post I was alerted of the post quickly.
If you do use WordPress, adding tags is easy. In your post/page edit view, near the PUBLISH button there should be an area that allows you to add tags. One thing to consider, if multiple authors publish content on your site you can end up with similar – but different tags – for the same thing.
Last I knew, there were plugins that allow you to consolidate tags.