Another important part of your Christian blog SEO strategy needs to include cleaning up your category and tags. Most bloggers don't understand the way in which categories and tags actually work (for user navigation and for SEO).
As a result, they are often just randomly assigned. This tutorial will help you understand their actual purpose and how to properly assign them.
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Using Categories and Tags Correctly
Categories and tags are used to help organize your content. Why is this so important?
For two reasons:
- For search engine crawlers – Search engine crawlers crawl every single link on your site. Actually, they follow every link. Starting from your blog domain, they follow the paths. As they crawl these links, they are taking notes, so to speak, to help them establish a clear “theme” for what your blog is about. Because of this, your categories and tags are very important for setting that stage.
- For your readers – They help readers understand your site and more easily navigate to more related content.
What are Categories For?
Categories are your first level of taxonomy for structuring your content.
On WordPress, all content must be assigned to a category. If you don't assign a post to a category, it will default to “uncategorized” which has absolutely no value so never assign a post to that category.
Your categories define the content you will be publishing on your site. They should be very focused and each one should be independent of the others. Each blog post you publish should fall into one category. If you find that a single post falls into all of your categories, you don't have your categories structured correctly.
Some content may, however, may occasionally fall into more than one category. For example, if a blog had the categories of Faith, Family, and Christian Living, and you wrote a post about ways to read the Bible together as a family, this post could go in both the faith and family categories. This should be an occasional exception, not the norm.
Examples of Categories that make sense depending on your blog's mission:
- Bible Study – Spiritual Growth – Bible Study Resources
- Spiritual Growth – Motherhood – Parenting
For Christian blogs, your categories should be clearly visible in your navigation menu so visitors can easily figure out what you write about.
What are Tags For?
Tags are a secondary taxonomy for further breaking down your content. Tags are not required like categories are, although it can be beneficial for you to use them. For your readers, your tags often will be displayed on the post so they can click on it and find more, specifically related content. Here on Kingdom Bloggers, I have the category of Blogging Tips. I use tags to separate the different types of tips that I write about.
My posts talking about using Pinterest are tagged “Pinterest.” I also have posts about monetizing your blog (tag: monetize your blog). If I write a post about monetizing your blog with Pinterest, I would give it both tags. If a reader was just interested in learning more about using Pinterest, they can click the tag and it will display all posts with that tag.
Most bloggers use tags incorrectly. Instead of being intentional with them, they often just stuff a bunch of related words together in the tag section. Often times, these are all the same word said differently (mom, motherhood, mom life, mother, etc). Please don't do this!! This is actually considered keyword stuffing (a black-hat SEO tactic) and is not at all good for your blog.
Your tags need to be used intentionally. You should only have one tag for a specific concept. For example, “motherhood.” Always use that same tag anytime you need to tag for that concept. If you have more than one tag for a post, they should be completely different things (such as my Pinterest and monetize your blog tags).
Generally speaking, I would get rid of tags altogether unless you are using them for a specific purpose (like I do with my Blogging Tips). If you do use them, I highly recommend making them No Index so Google doesn't crawl them.
Yoast Your Categories
Your category pages can show up in search results!! So, just like your administrative pages, you will want to complete the Yoast section for your categories. (Since your tags will be No Index, you don't need to worry about Yoasting them). On the left side of your dashboard where you click to write a new post, you will see categories and tags listed there. Click on “categories” and it will take you to a page listing all of your current categories. It will also show you how many posts you currently have assigned to each category (last column).
If you click on an individual category (name column), it will open up a page just for that category. Here, you will scroll down to the Yoast section at the bottom at fill it out in the same way you would for your admin pages.
The only difference is that your focus keyphrase will be the actual category name and your meta description should be a keyword-rich description of the content in this category (that also includes the category name). Your slug will be the category name. And since this doesn't have actual written content on it, don't worry about getting the green light.
Categories and Tags Matter!
Part of laying down the SEO foundation for your Christian blog means ensuring that everything is done with intent. Be intentional with categorizing your content. If you decide to use tags, be very intentional with them.
Organization and consistency are key! One idea is to simply rotate among your categories each time you publish. This way you are continually adding new content to each one. Also, as you write a new post, already be thinking about the next post you can write to link that one too.
Be sure to also read: The Importance of Internal Links for SEO