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 group content – a way to categorize the topics that you write about. The first level of categorizing your content is by putting them into general categories. Then, as you write content for each category, you will use tags to connect the dots for related topics under those categories. (More on this later).
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 – Most themes will display the assigned tags for individual posts. These are actually clickable and will take the reader to more posts specifically related to that post.
What are Categories For?
Categories are your first level of taxonomy for structuring your content. For the overall, long-term growth of your Christian blog, it is important that you are writing to your Avatar (target audience). When you’ve clearly figured out what type of content you’ll be writing to them, having clear categories will help you to stay on topic to the things your Avatar needs from you. It gives a focus for writing. If it doesn’t fall into one of your categories, you shouldn’t write it. As your blog grows and you get to know your Avatar a little more, you can add new categories to meet those needs.
You can also create sub-categories to further divide content that you write about often. For example, if your blog was about faith and family topics and you had the categories of Marriage, Children, and Motherhood, your Marriage category could have subcategories of communication and intimacy if you regularly published content in those areas.
Some content may 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. But, at a minimum, all published content must fall into one of them. On WordPress, all content must be assigned to a category. If you don’t create them, it will default to “uncategorized” which has absolutely no value to you.
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 all together 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 to. Internal linking of your related posts is super important!
Be sure to also read:
- The Truth About the Yoast Plugin
- Implementing Backend SEO for Christian Bloggers
- Picking the Right Keywords as a Christian Blogger