On-page SEO tips For WP Blogs – Categories and Tags

In SEO – sometimes TOO MUCH of a GOOD THING can be BAD! Presented by Visual Recruit (VR)

Let’s discuss sitewide factors in WordPress Blogs that you may not notice – but Google does!

While on page SEO factors may have dropped slightly in their overall importance for rankings since the algo updates the past year or so, it is still very important to structure your site the right way and make sure that what you are putting on your pages is not hurting your overall reputation with Google.

One way to make sure that websites that are made using WordPress blogs are Google-friendly is to make sure that what we do that appears site wide on our blogs does not make them appear “over optimized” – keyword stuffed – or made for SEO purposes instead of building our sites and adding content for the purpose of pleasing our visitors.

Sites need good on-page SEO but MUST also be visitor friendly.

Very often when I evaluate websites that VR members are building, I will notice an overly aggressive presentation of what the site is about. Sometimes the webmasters of the sites are taking our Success Strategy too literal. They go too far!

What I mean is that while I may say _____ is very important and you should do ____ – it does not always mean that if a LITTLE IS GOOD a LOT is better!

When something important is HAMMERED or done to EXCESS it can work against you!

I know I keep harping on this but the algo updates that hurt a lot of people with exact match keyword web sites do not like it when web pages or links are TOO PERFECT or overly optimized or simply have too much of the same thing!

One example would be having an out of whack keyword density on your page for excessively used keyword phrases that are too high.

In other words if Google sees your main target phrases are being repeated excessively it will hurt you!

This especially applies to keywords that are THREE WORDS or longer!

While your intention may not be to stuff keywords, it is very easy to get an excessive keyword density when you start adding up the various components that make up web pages. This is especially true when you use a CMS like WordPress or Joomla where they do things for you on every page of the site (widgets – sidebars – headers – footers etc.)

If your site has dropped in rankings are you are struggling to get it back on top – it may be that your on page SEO is too good! Your pages and site (or even links) may be over optimized for SEO!

So let’s look at how categories and tags can help you or hurt you.

Take categories and tags in a WordPress blog for example.

Category Links on a WordPress blog lead to menu pages for posts that have been categorized and linked for that word or phrase.

This is a category page for “backlinks”:


I suggest creating 2 or 3 Categories for each post that you make – however you can go up to 5 or even more – but be careful and don’t do too many – it may be too aggressive.

Every category you create for a blog post will add a MENU PAGE to your site.

Tags are similar and are links to menu pages for blog posts that are “tagged using words and phases.

I suggest up to 5 tags for each post that you make. Anything between 1 and 5 is good – just don’t do too many because every tag you create will create a WEB PAGE MENU for that tag. Your site can grow and start to get cluttered with a lot of the same or similar content on pages. Especially if there is just one post on each tag page!

It’s easy to get overly ambitious and try to include as many of your keywords in a lot of the categories and tags you create when you publish posts on your blog.

If done in a smart way this can help you, but if done too aggressively, over using your keywords in categories and tags can throw your on page keyword density way too high.

And the bad news is that if you have widgets and such that show your category links and tag links on the page you can screw up an entire site as the links may be on every page site wide!

When I evaluate sites I often see this “over optimization”.

The categories are TOO SPECIFIC and not BROAD enough. The categories are often too long and often identical to the main target keywords of a site and in some cases DUPLICATES of TAGS on a site.

Categories should be BROAD and represent the related words that Google associates with a topic – ie LSI (latent Semantic Indexing) – not merely repeat the site keywords!

For example – if you have a site with a main keyword target of “Search Engine Optimization Tutorials” you should try NOT to over use any of the sub phrases repeatedly in your categories!

Categories = broader related topics

Tags = very specific keyword phrases

Instead of using the sub phrases from your site name or primary target keywords – try to create broader categories using words that make sense and help organize your site and don’t simply appear to be efforts to repeat your keywords as often as possible.

For the main keyword target of “Search Engine Optimization Tutorials” I would use broader categories to organize my site posts such as:

SEO Software

Web Traffic

Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization Tips

Promotion Techniques

Social Marketing


Just don’t hammer SEO and Search Engine Optimization in every category! That can radically change the on page keyword density!

Too much of a good thing is not good.

OK – so the categories should be for helping visitors and not entirely for SEO – make them broader and help people find your articles. Google will score your page higher and you’ll also get the added benefit of ranking for more different keywords because your pages will have more variety!

What about tags?

OK – this is a big one!

I often see people over doing the tags and hurting themselves by being too aggressive.

What do I mean?

Well – tags are similar to categories in a blog in that they are LINKS to menu pages that list the posts that have been tagged for those words.

Every tag links to a menu page for the keyword that is tagged.

Here is a tag page for pinterest:


There are links to articles that have been “tagged” for pinterest.

It’s good to be a little more specific on your tag keywords – however if the keyword is so specific or unusual it may just add a lot of extra junk pages to your site.

A good rule of thumb is that if the keyword you are tagging is likely to be used again – go ahead and use it. If it is unlikely you will ever add another post for that tagged keyword – don’t do it.

Also – hold back on the overly long keyword phrases in tags. Yes – tags can be more specific than categories – but still – you don’t want your site to end up with too many similar menu pages for the tags that have only one post on them.

Also – since the tag links may appear in tag clouds in widgets and/or at the bottom of post pages – you really need to be aware that if your tags are too similar they will change the keyword density and possibly push your pages into the over-optimization zone!

So tags are good when done right but be careful to not over do it!

Just remember that SEO can be good in moderation – but sometimes TOO MUCH of a GOOD THiNG can be BAD!


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