Understandably, there’s a whole lot of confusion over the whole blog tag facet of most blogging platforms. With good reason, of course, since most of these popular blogging platforms (see: WordPress, Blogger) never really aim to introduce and define what they can even do for you. Even many specific articles on this very topic — articles targeted towards outlining and defining just what blog category and tags should properly be, and whom are likely listed on the first pages of the SERPs should you go to Google in the hopes of finding an answer — fail to effectively illustrate exactly what blog post tags really are.
So what are they exactly anyway?
In order to properly and truly understand what blog tags really are, you must first look at them as they correspond and complement blog post categories.
As you already may or may not know, blog post categories are essentially the broadest form of categorically filtering your many, many different blog posts. For instance, an effective repertoire of blog post categories for a music review website could consist of “news”, “previews”, “reviews”, “opinions” and “promotions” tags. Alternatively, a sports website could consist of “football”, “basketball”, “hockey”, “baseball”, and “soccer” tags (amongst many others).
Where blog category tags are aimed at helping to categorize the many different blog posts on a website or blog in the absolute broadest method possible, blog post tags specifically aim to take this even further and distinguish amongst even the most minute of details from one article or post to another.
For blog post tags to be utilized most effectively, they usually shouldn’t be used very often numerous times. For instance, if there were a series of articles or posts on a particular site about the process of writing articles, each particular one could have tags citing them as dealing with “journalism”, “creative writing”, and “copywriting”.
In addition to all of this, tags are also positively ideal for ranking for certain terms of phrases in search engines. The trick here, though — or pitfall, actually — is to not tag your posts how you think people would arrive to your site from searching certain terms. Instead, you should simply try and specifically tag and filter said post with as many explicitly detailed terms or phrases as you can.
Another helpful trick is to think of your post tag system as a way for your readers to easily hop from one article to the next in certain areas of particular interest for them. You definitely don’t need to go all 2008-2009 and display your blog post tags in your website or blog’s sidebar however, mainly because there’s really no clear-cut benefits at all (both in terms of display/design and SEO).