One of the things that I do the most for my clients is help structure their sites better for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s one of my most popular services and one that so many desperately want in order to help their sites rank higher in google. Plus, organizing your site is also a great way to make it more user-friendly for navigating and a way to better understand your site as a whole. So whether you’re starting out brand new or an old pro at blogging, let’s make sure you organize tags, categories, and keywords for long-term blogging success that don’t rely on social media.
Your site should open like a good book
This is the very first thing I tell my own clients. When someone comes to your site, they should be able to open it up as if they were skimming through a book at the library. What do you usually do when you pick up a book that intrigues you?
Look at the table of contents, look at the index, find a topic you like a read a quick bit to see if it’s worth it.
The same should be true of how you organize your categories, tags, keywords, pages, and whole site! Allow users and Google to be able to browse efficiently a deliberately.
When I sit down to brainstorm the ideal organization for a specific site or blog, I first ask each of them to come up with 5 over-arching categories that all of their content fits into.
Most of the time, this is fairly easy, other times it’s a tad more difficult. While 5 is not a hard and fast number, I try to help organize categories into 5-10 broad concepts that give a good snapshot of what a blog is about.
Then, it’s important to choose 150-200 tags that can be applied to blog posts. These tags do not need to be specific to certain categories. Many times there is a misconception that certain tags go under certain categories.
While, yes, this is typically true, tags can help a reader find content pertaining to a more specific topic they enjoy that may be in a different category. For instance, I might tag a post with “Instagram” when my category is “Photography” and not “Social Media”.
It still applies and my readers (and of course Google) might still like finding that connection! I try to get clients to narrow their categories down to 100 so they have room to grow, but I try to encourage not exceeding 200. You can even see in your Webmaster Tools dashboard, that google likes to look at 200 terms.
The quick way to understand categories, tags, and keywords.
Again, think of your site like a good book on a shelf that you want google to run to and you want readers to love, understand, and navigate easily. You have your site name that is your Title, your categories are your chapters, tags are the index, and keywords are your subheading inside of the chapters.
Think about it this way –
- Choose a category – “What is my post broadly about?”
- Choose tags – “What about that topic am I discussing?”
- Choose a keyword – “What would I want someone to search to find this specific post?”
Organize Categories into Broad Terms
Choose terms that are over-arching, but that you can rank for. Think of your categories like chapters in a book. So you might be a parenting blogger; you can choose the broad category of parenting, but a broad category like “Parenting Teenagers” is still broad if it encompasses many of your posts, but it’s also a more direct link for Google to understand what to show potential searchers.
Choose tags that are more specific, but used commonly
Choose tags that you would use more often than a keyword phrase. If you plan on using a specific topic more than twice, then you might as well use it as a tag! If you are going to use it one or two times, it would be better served as a keyword. Then when you go to the index of a book, like the tags of your site, you can then easily see the topics covered.
Select specific keywords
For each post, you then want to choose a keyword that is good for SEO searches and allows both Google and potential readers to find you.
For example, If I am writing a post on my personal website about potty training then I would categorize it as “Parenting”, tag it as “parenting struggles”, “Raising a Toddler”, and “Life Skills”, and then I would make my keyword something about “How to Potty Train”. That way it’s easily categorized by search engines and found by loyal readers or potentially loyal readers.
When Google pulls your books off the shelves of thousands of blogs and websites, can yours be found? Does it fit the mold and help answer the question of the reader?