10 Best Practices of Using WordPress Tags & Categories for SEO

10 Best Practices of Using WordPress Tags & Categories for SEO

WordPress tags and categories play a crucial role in organizing your site’s posts properly. They can help you get better ranking on Google and other leading search engines, boost your page views and offer a great experience to your potential web visitors.

With the proper use of tags and categories, you can help both the search engine crawlers and web readers to browse and navigate different pages of your site quickly and easily. They not only manage the entire structure of the site but also enhance the usability and accessibility, which is a key aspect of a successful web business.


This means you can’t afford to make silly mistakes while creating or using tags and categories on your WordPress site. It will drastically affect the user experience and SEO ranking of your site. Since tags and categories have become an integral part of your site, make sure you create them in the initial steps otherwise you could lose potential backlinks and SEO ranking.

To get the most out of them, we bring you this blog post which will help you know more about WordPress tags and categories. We will also know how they work and how they can boost the overall SEO ranking of a site.

Just wade through the below-mentioned write-up:

What are categories in WordPress?


Categories in WordPress help you organize all the related posts in a particular group. This encourages web users to explore more about your posts quickly and easily. In simple words, categories make it super-easy for both the search engine spiders and web readers to find the content on your site.

They can be displayed either at the top or bottom of posts, on your menu, in the sidebar, or on the individual post view. The best part is that you can assign assorted categories per post to let your content be found easily.

What are tags in WordPress?


According to WordPress, tags also help webmasters to showcase the related posts together. When visitors click on a particular tag, they reach the page whereon all posts, having the same tag, are displayed.

It allows them to look for the desired content easily. It helps website owners to get more traffic to their website and chances to interact with visitors. In short, tags are more specific than categories. But, still, a lot of people get confused between these terms, especially WordPress beginners.

WordPress Categories Vs Tags: What’s the difference?

  • Categories are hierarchical, allowing you to use sub-categories, based on your needs. On the other hand, tags are optional and are not hierarchical.
  • There is a restriction when it comes to using multiple categories. But, you can use numerous tags on your WordPress site.
  • Categories must be kept in the main menu or sidebars. But tags should be placed in sidebars.

Great Tips On Using WordPress Categories & Tags

1. Do extensive keyword research

If you want to improve the ranking of your website on leading search engines and to drive quality web traffic, you need to use the keyword-rich categories and tags for your WordPress site.

Doing an in-depth keyword research, competitive analysis can help you select a set of most relevant keyword phrases for your site that you can use in your tags and categories to let the search engines and web audience find you instantly.

Just make sure that both the tags and categories are relevant to your blog posts – this can increase the accessibility and readability of your blog post.

2. Make an organizational structure before publishing

Before publishing content on your website, it will be better to create the site’s organizational structure. It eliminates the need of page redirections when you have to alter the existing categories, sub-categories, and tags.

Depending on your keyword research, you can use tags and categories for enhanced visibility of your blog posts. But, keep in mind that you should not use more than 5-10 categories on your website as it will complicate your site.

3. Using WP.com tags & WP.org Tags carefully

WordPress is available in two different versions:

A. WordPress.com- Free blogging platform      B. WordPress.org- Most used CMS

Well, these two WordPress versions are fundamentally different types of services so you must be careful about using tags and categories on these platforms distinctively.

When you work with WordPress.com, you can use a number of tags. It allows WordPress website operators to create a huge fan base and help visitors to find their favorite posts under various tag options.

But, when you run a WordPress.org website, using numerous tags can lead to duplication issues and can have a disastrous effect on its overall performance. Search engines may assume your action (using several tags) as the duplication of categories and they might not consider your content relevant for displaying in their results.

4. Don’t make separate categories for authors

While operating multi-author WordPress websites, most of the site admins make specific categories for each and every author in a bit to separate their posts and streamline their works. But, this is not needed. Why? Because WordPress already has author categorization system.

When you publish a new post on a WordPress site with your name, your name is displayed on that page.

5. Avoid singular vs plural dilemma on categories & tags

When you publish your content, you often seem confused whether you should use the singular or plural form of categories and tags. You face such issues quite often, especially when two tags use the same word- one in singular form and other in plural form. For example- A dog or dogs

Don’t get confused as you are not required to use both forms at one time. Based on your needs, you may select either singular or plural form of categories and tags without feeling any hesitation.

6. Avoid duplication while using categories & tags

As categories and tags are used to help people find the exact content easily and quickly, you should not use a category and a tag on your website with the same name.

For example: If you have a category with “Tree WordPress Themes”, you should not use a tag with the same name. It will cause the duplication issue and will confuse search engines as to which page they should display in results against the user’s term.

7. Don’t ignore categories & tags

Search engines may penalize websites that have inappropriate categories and tags. This creates a wave of panic among various website operators. As a result, to avoid the possibility of being penalized by search engines, they don’t use unnecessary categories and tags at all while publishing their content.

This is not a fair practice in website optimization. If you don’t use categories and tags on your website, users will find it difficult to search posts on your site. It also affects the performance of such web pages and you may get low placement in search engine results and fewer clicks on your website.

So, never develop such ideas in your mind. Use both of them whenever you needed. If you are confused about their appropriate use, you can seek advice from expert SEO professionals having experience in WordPress website optimization.

8. Use simple, clear and descriptive names for categories

To get the most of your WordPress categories, make sure you use clear and descriptive names. This allows new visitors to have a clear idea about your website and the type of posts you have. They can easily find the desired content with the help of simple and clear category name.

So, instead of complicating the things, you should focus on creating user-centric and descriptive categories for your multiple blog posts.

9. Don’t use too many WordPress Tags

Using too many tags could affect the usability and accessibility of your site. Well, it is not clear that how many tags are enough to use in a single blog post, but you should be aware of the fact that each tag that you create will generate a separate archive page on your site.

So, if you have a huge amount of blog posts, then it is better to compress the tags that link at least 2 to 3 posts. You just need to be consistent while using tags for your posts.

10. Structure your categories properly

Don’t forget to structure your categories if you want all of your related posts belong to one specific category. Since WordPress wants each post to belong to at least one category, make sure you do it before publishing your content.

This can help both the search engines and web readers to find the blog posts available in specific categories.

Takeaway thoughts

The use of categories and tags are largely determined by the keywords and the content you are using.  If you want to achieve higher ranking on SERPs, then properly use the categories and tags on your WordPress site along with a well-written SEO-friendly content.

Just keep the above-mentioned tips in mind, create legitimate categories and tags and capitalize their SEO benefits for your WordPress site.

Author Bio:

Lucy Barret is a PSD to WordPress conversion expert, currently working for HireWPGeeks. She also happens to be a blogger and loves to contribute technical posts at top blogs.

(This is a guest post.)


ThemeGrill Author

We are a team of SEO copywriters and editors who work both individually and in the team. ThemeGrill author is where one of the editors here is working on one project personally. Write to us @themegrill_blog in Twitter.

21 thoughts on “10 Best Practices of Using WordPress Tags & Categories for SEO

  • May 4, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Hi! Thanks for the useful info!
    And could you advise me a tool for extensive keyword research?
    I’m thinking about buying SERPstat now, Do you have any thougths on it?

    • May 8, 2017 at 4:21 am

      Hi Jordan,
      Thanks for commenting. Well, there are several tools for extensive keyword research. Some of the most useful tools are Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, SEOCockpit, and Moz Keyword Explorer. And SERPstat also seems to be a good tool. I suggest you have a comparative overview of these tools, considering the features and pricing and get one that fits your needs.
      Hope this helps.

    • September 11, 2018 at 7:15 am

      You can also refer to the Amazon Alexa paid tool for keyword research and website analysis.

  • May 4, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Nice Post for SEO Beginner. Thanx for sharing these useful information

  • May 9, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Interesting read, and a very important optimisation technique to consider.

  • May 11, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Am new to WordPress, I didn’t understand what tag means but I understood category

  • May 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    How many category can select per post and how many tags can add per post ?

    • May 17, 2017 at 4:47 am

      Hi, you can use as many as you like but it may rather harm your SEO if you use too many as mentioned in point 9. Well, adding the same post in maximum 3 to 4 categories must sound relevant and natural. Similarly, you must limit the tags. Maximum 4 to 5 tags would be fine per post and try to use the same tags if they are relevant. Thanks!

  • January 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Very good article for wp beginners

  • January 19, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Some excellent tips outlined here, especially #2 which is to think out what the site structure will be before you publish your first post. I’ve worked myself into this dilemma in the past, and it’s created quite the amount of rework when you need to back and do all kinds of 301 redirects.

  • May 3, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    This is really useful. I think I have overused tags myself and perhaps my categories need to be reorganised.
    I will use this guide as a start.

  • August 22, 2018 at 9:45 am

    very interesting blog.. thanks for valuable info..

  • October 17, 2018 at 11:25 am

    It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog post. Your blog is very informative. Keep posting and keep sharing like this.

    • mm
      October 30, 2018 at 4:41 am

      Thank You Evan, glad you found our blog helpful! Keep following us for more helpful posts! 🙂

  • December 3, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you very much! I think I will be adjusting our category and tag names to be more keyword-rich, as well as merging some of our tags together. This post has been quite helpful. 🙂

  • January 8, 2019 at 6:52 am

    While the post has useful general information, it lacks important technical details like whether to use lowercase, title case, dashes instead of underscores in tag names. Hoping for more details in the future.

    • mm
      January 9, 2019 at 4:39 am

      Hello Phil,
      We highly appreciate your feedback and would definitely mention it in the future. 🙂

  • February 14, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Hi am Mathi. Is there any possibility to change the position of product tags.In my website its show below the product cart page i dont want that in that place i need to move to my desired place can you help please…

  • March 2, 2019 at 5:21 am

    Thanks for the useful information. I am in the process of starting my own business, so I’ll be sure to utilize the technique s mentioned in this post.

  • March 7, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    This seems like great SEO advice – I just have 1 question about the number of tags though…Does the number, high or low, matter? I ask because my relatively new website was getting very limited views the 1st several days…But once I started adding tags, i started getting 120 – 160 views daily…and it keeps growing….Some posts I add just a couple tags, others I’ve added 100+ tags…the larger tag #’s seem to work much better…

    But I don’t know much about SEO 🙂

    • mm
      March 11, 2019 at 5:18 am

      Hello Paul,
      The maximum recommended number of WordPress tags is 10. You can exceed this number only if you are able to justify them and have some more highly relevant tags.


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