What are WordPress Tags – KnownHost


WordPress is a free, open-source web software tool that acts as the foundation of most websites.

What originally started as a tool for posting blogs has evolved into one for publishing other web content, from websites to mailing lists and internet forums – with its popularity largely down to the intuitive interface that makes it effortless to build a well-organized website.

An essential part of WordPress categorization and organization is the WordPress tag. In this article, KnownHost explains what WordPress tags are and how they differ from WordPress categories and outlines best practices for using page and post tags.

What Are WordPress Tags?

WordPress tags are a default tool included in the basic WordPress functionality that can be used to help categorize uploaded posts. Users can select specific tags on the website to find relevant articles or posts of a similar type.

For example, if a website has three blog posts, and one was tagged ‘Nike, Lacoste, Armani’, another was tagged ‘Lacoste’ and another was tagged ‘Nike’. When a user selects the tag ‘Nike’, only the first and third posts would appear. If a user chose the tag ‘Lacoste’, the first and second posts would appear. However, if the user selected ‘Armani’, only the first post would appear.

WordPress tags were created to assist each website’s internal linking. By clicking on a post category, a user can browse relevant topics within the same tag group. And while they are entirely optional, it’s best practice for site owners to make use of them to encourage more page views and a longer website dwell time – ultimately keeping users on the site for longer.

KnownHost top tip: All attempts at internal linking will prove fruitless without links that work. Broken links (especially broken image links) can cause a significant drop in the length of time users spend on a website!

Why Should You Use WordPress Tags?

WordPress tags are an essential part of any positive and intuitive website experience – helping to organize regular, up-to-date content to generate traffic.

Some of the key benefits of WordPress tags include:

  • Optimization: WordPress tagging is a simple way to optimize relevant content. Users can quickly and easily find their desired posts and up-to-date articles, while search engines can recognize a website’s content as relevant.
  • Improve SEO: Properly optimized post tags assist search engines in understanding a website’s structure and content, increasing the likelihood of higher search rankings for specific keywords – and therefore more traffic.
  • Requires Minimal Effort: If WordPress tags are created and implemented from an earlier stage in the lifecycle of the website, then pages and posts can be categorized effortlessly, improving website usability and SEO viability with each new addition.
  • Toolkits Make It Easier: The WordPress platform and associated page tags have never been easier to use, with several API integrations, such as the cPanel WordPress toolkit, providing a range of useful website management features.

How are WordPress Tags Different from Categories?

Categories are another way of organizing information on a WordPress site. And while both categories and tags are used for the express purpose of categorizing and optimizing a site, each has unique differences and alternative uses.

Website categories tend to be general topics of interest, such as ‘clothing’, ‘nature’, or ‘science’. Tags, however, are more specific. They relate to the unique details of the article. For example, if there was an article reviewing the latest in Nike footwear releases, then the category would be ‘clothing’ or ‘footwear’, while the tag would be ‘Nike’.

Categories are formed in a hierarchical structure, in comparison to tags which aren’t. This means that categories have larger parent categories, with smaller categories as sub-categories. For example, the category ‘clothing’ may have sub-categories ‘footwear’, ‘shirts’, and ‘hats’. Tags don’t share this structure – they act as standalone groups and reference specific website entries and their contents.

For example, an article about the best restaurants in Venice may have a category of ‘Travel’ and be under the subcategory ‘Europe’. But its tags would be ‘Venice’ ‘best restaurant’, and ‘dining’.

How To Add Tags to WordPress

If you’re looking to boost your WordPress website by adding page or post tags, below is a step-by-step guide on how to do so:

  • Step 1: Log in to the site owner’s WordPress account. (If you’ve forgotten the login details, there are several ways to recover them. For example, resetting WordPress admin details with MySQL.)
  • Step 2: From the admin dashboard, select “posts” then “add new” to create a new post, or select a previous post if tags need to be added retrospectively.
  • Step 3: Next, look for the “tags” box along the right-hand sidebar.
  • Step 4: Enter any relevant tags, each separated by a comma.
  • Step 5: Accept the changes and save the post.

How To Display Tags on Your WordPress Site?

Now that relevant page tags have been added to the website, it’s important to display those tags as a widget on the site to encourage user clicks to similar pages and posts.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to display WordPress tags:

  • Step 1: Firstly, log in to the WordPress account. (You may find that a website has undergone some recent updates, and the website database password may not be up to date. Learn how to update the wp-config.php file of a site with a new database password before continuing.)
  • Step 2: From the website dashboard, select “appearance”, then “widgets”.
  • Step 3: Select the “tag cloud” widget, and drag it to the area on the page where it can be easily seen but not impact the overall website aesthetic.
  • Step 4: Assign it a short, memorable title and select how many tags are to be included in the widget (there is a maximum of 75).

How To Display Tags in WordPress 5.9

WordPress 5.9 works differently from the main WordPress site. It uses a block editor, which means that the process of displaying tags is different:

  • Step 1: Go to “appearance”, then “editor”.
  • Step 2: Hover the cursor over the area where the tags are best displayed on the page. Next, select the “+” icon to add a new block.
  • Step 3: Select “tag cloud” from the dropdown menu to add it to the page.
  • Step 4: To make any changes and edits to the display box, select the block itself, then select “settings” in the right corner of the screen.

What Are Some SEO Best Practices for WordPress Tags?

The best way to encourage greater clicks and traffic to a website from search engine results is to optimize the website for usability and searchability. This is known as ‘search engine optimization’, or SEO.

The aim of SEO is to create website resources that contain relevant and useful information on a given topic. This is because search engines prioritize what they deem to be the most valuable content in their results pages. The better the content, the higher it appears in the search engines.

Firstly, when doing keyword research (finding the most relevant words and terms associated with your post or page topic), it’s important to decide how those words are implemented in an article. Often, desired keywords may be awkward to fit into the body text of the article due to obscure phrasing that interrupts the flow of reading the article.

Forcing these keywords into the copy is likely to see the page marked as spam by search engines. And the same goes for page tags – adding too many tags to a page may signal that the creator is simply trying to encourage clicks rather than create genuinely useful resources.

To reap the rewards of SEO in WordPress posts, it’s essential to create content in line with specific keywords and to include them not only in the body of the text but in tags too. Use similar tags between multiple articles all focusing on different aspects of the same keyword-based topic.

Relevant content that is fairly and modestly tagged is key.

What Are Other Uses for WordPress Tags?

WordPress tags aren’t only used for SEO or site navigation purposes, they can also be used in tandem with social media plugins. So, if a user were to share the post through their social media, it would be pre-populated with hashtags based on the tags used for the WordPress article.

This is extremely important for increasing visibility and can be a consistent way to use social media algorithms to the benefit of the site. This means that, even if tags aren’t displayed publicly, they’ll be gaining traction on external sites that could then draw traffic to the WordPress site.

When combined with effective internal linking, this could even result in new users finding the site through a hashtag, reading the shared article, and then taking the time to browse other similar articles.

Are you looking to create a WordPress website, or migrate your existing web hosting server?

KnownHost offers web hosting services with industry-best uptime and 24/7/365 support – so you can put all your focus into creating or improving your website!

For more information on KnownHost web hosting and how we support your WordPress website journey, chat with our team today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What Is an Example of a Tag in WordPress?

A: A WordPress tag should be a specific keyword indicator for an article. For example, an article about a brand of energy drink will likely have that exact brand name, as well as the name of any celebrities endorsing it in the article, as a tag. This contrasts with categories, which are general indicators of what an article’s subject area is. In the case of this article, its category would be ‘food & beverages’, while the tag may be ‘Red Bull’.

Q: How Many Tags Should You Have on WordPress?

A: While there is no exact number as to how many tags are best for a WordPress article, having too few may run the risk of not capitalizing on sought-after keywords while having too many could make the page appear spammy or inauthentic. It’s generally advised to have between five and fifteen keyword tags attached to an article.

Q: How Do I Organize Tags in WordPress?

A: To organize tags in WordPress, a user must first log into the site-owning account, then navigate to “appearance” and “widgets”. From here, drag the tag cloud widget onto the page. This widget can be edited, and the tags can be organized by selecting the “settings” option while the tag cloud widget is selected.

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