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I was working on a client’s website recently and discovered they had hundreds of pages on their site for blog tag categories. Many of these categories were empty or only had one post listed. When I looked into it, I realized that the team in charge of their blog posts was being instructed to add tags to every blog post as part of the setup, and to include as many tags as they could think of. 

Let’s talk about why this is a bad thing, and what this team should have been doing instead to optimize their blog tagging system for maximum site benefit.

Why are too many tags a bad thing?

First, each tag automatically creates a new site page as a resource to collect all blogs on a specific topic in one location. For example, on my own website, I may have posts that talk about many different topics, like paid search, SEO, general digital marketing, etc. If someone only wants to see what articles I have available in the paid search category, tags help organize my posts so that every article on this topic can be grouped on one page for a user to browse. 

Now imagine that I not only tagged all my paid search posts with a “Paid Search” tag, but I also tagged them with every other tag I could think of: Google, Google Ads, PPC, paid search, paid ads, paid advertising…… and so on.

Now there’s a page for all “Google” blogs and all “Google Ads” blogs, etc. If I’m using these same tags on all paid search pages, I’m just creating duplicate tag pages with the same collection of blogs on each one. 

If I’m not using the same tags on all paid search blogs, I’m creating tons of tag pages with only one blog listed on the page. 

Reasons why too many tags is bad for SEO:

  • Creates duplicate pages/content
  • Wastes Google’s crawl budget 
  • Doesn’t provide clear organization 
  • Not user friendly

How should we be using blog tags?

Think about tags as blog categories. They should be used with the intent to organize your posts in a thematic way that could be beneficial for users who want to see more content on a particular topic. When users click on a tag, they are directed to a page that displays all posts with that specific tag. Here are some tips to keep in mind when adding tags to your blog posts.

  • Not all posts need tags. You can leave this field blank when you don’t have any helpful tags to add. 
  • Only add tags to posts to specify the main topics discussed in the post. No need to add tags for really specific topics if you don’t have any other content on your site about those topics. In fact, you shouldn’t add tags unless you have more than one post (or will in the future) about that topic. 
  • Use the same wording across all posts so the posts can be grouped together when someone is looking for content about a specific topic (for example: don’t say “paid search” on one post and “PPC” on another. They should all match if they are referring to the same topic)
  • Use the best keyword phrase for the topic. Choosing keywords that are relevant to the content and popular search terms increases the chances of the blog posts being discovered by search engine users.
  • No need to include multiple variations of the same topic 

Ways that tags are good for SEO:

  • Creates themed pages for all resources on one topic
  • Uses keyword rich text to indicate each topic
  • Creates user friendly pages/resources

As always, keeping your site clean and organized is both good for user experience and for search engine bots to navigate. So by keeping that in mind you can make your site more easily accessible and able to rank.

If you’re interested in more ways to help your site rank on search engines, please reach out to see how I can help you!