screenshot of WordPress post with Tag section

What are Tags in WordPress?

Even if you’re a veteran at posting to your WordPress site, you may have never used the tags feature. For many bloggers, it’s mostly ignored. Which is fine, because it’s not necessary to use tags on your WordPress site. Which begs the question: what are tags in WordPress for, anyway?

First, let’s take a look at where you find the tags section in a post or page. In the editor, you’ll find it in the right-side panel underneath the Categories section.

Tags are similar to Categories in that they’re a way to organize posts by groups, or taxonomies. It’s helpful to assign a category to a post, because you can sort them on the front end — making it easier for visitors to find content that interests them. This is helpful for your readers, because the default is to list posts by date. For example, if you have posts you want readers to find anytime without scrolling all the way back to 2012, you can show them a list of posts in a category.

Tags work the same way. When you create and add a tag to a post, they’re automatically grouped by that tag. Anytime you want to show a group of tags, WordPress helps you do it easily.

screenshot of WordPress web page displaying a list of post tags
A WordPress site displaying post tags

Visitors can click on a tag and see a list of posts that use that tag. Nifty, yes?

How to Add Tags to a WordPress Post

Unlike Categories, the Tags field starts out empty. You have to add tags manually by typing them in. But the cool thing is that WordPress remembers them, so if you start typing a tag you’ve used before, it will autofill.

You can type anything as a tag. But remember, the whole point of tags is to make it easy for readers to find your content. A best practice is to keep them to 1-3 words, and make the words relevant to the post. For example, if you were writing a post about the practice of over-watering of lawns in Los Angeles, you might use tags like:

  • Drought
  • Southern California
  • Environment

Then, if you later write a new post on how to save water in a drought, you could use those same tags —and add new ones if you like.

Do WordPress Tags Help with SEO?

The short answer is no. Tags don’t affect your search engine rankings either way. The content of your post is the only thing that search engines care about when showing results. Tags and Categories are only helpful to your readers.

How to Show a List of Tagged Posts on a Page

So you have a bunch of posts tagged, now what? You need to display them in an easy-to-find way. First, it’s important to understand that the default blog page in WordPress only displays posts in a list — unless you modify the page template, which is too much to get into here. However, you can create a new page and add a Tag Cloud block.

screenshot of WordPress tag cloud block

You can set how many tags you want to appear on the page, and more. You can also add a Tag block to every blog post, which displays all the tags listed in that post. That way, your readers can click on relevant articles right from your post. That will keep them browsing your site longer, which is good for both SEO and your ego!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to create pages that list certain Categories and Tags, sign up for my Intermediate WordPress course.

Questions? Experiences? Comment below!






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