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How to use categories and labels effectively on WordPress

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Categories and Tags are the two primary taxonomies that WordPress makes available for organizing content, but how to use them effectively has long been a source of confusion for administrators of a WordPress blog.

There has been a lot of debate over their respective merits over the years and even experienced users waste unnecessary time setting up these, especially when the SEO is the goal.

In this article, we'll take a simple approach and walk you through how to effectively use categories and tags. 

But before, if you have never installed WordPress discover How to Install a WordPress Blog in 7 Steps et How to search, install and activate a WordPress theme on your blog 

Then back to why we are here.

An overview of categories and keywords

Categories were originally the only option available to users, and tags were introduced in WordPress 2.3. You have probably seen their practical interfaces on the dashboard.

category-labels

Before we go into each option in detail, here is a basic analysis:

  • Placement : By default, categories and labels - Tags- are only used by articles
  • Use Case : Each article must be in at least one category, while the tags are entirely optional
  • Hierarchy : Categories are hierarchical and labels are not.

Perhaps the best way to think about the respective use of categories and tags is to take the example of a book. Categories can be thought of as chapters grouping together similar major themes, while labels act much more like a clue.

Discover also with us How to display the description of the categories on WordPress

To take a specific example, if you use a cooking website, you can use the categories to group together recipes from the same region with similar titles in Italian, French, Indian, etc ... You can group each recipe in a sub set or subcategories.

If, on the other hand, you want to be able to target dishes that have specific ingredients (namely information that covers several categories), labels would be a great option. Clicking on the tomato label, for example, would bring up the tomato recipes.

Discover also our 8 WordPress plugins to manage categories and subcategories on your blog

Configuring categories

Before you dive into creating categories, it's worth spending a little time thinking about the initial structure.

Your list of categories will grow naturally over time, and the use of subcategories may be necessary. Once again, think in terms of book chapters. If you end up with more 15 categories, it might be time to re-think their structure.

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Although you are free to add new categories in the article editing interface, the main category interface is located at the location " Articles> Categories". As you can see in the image below, the current category list shows usage figures for easy management and gives you a quick way to add new categories.

Management-of-categories

Let's go through the different options displayed

Name: This is what you will see displayed on the front-end depending on how your WordPress theme is set up. Use obvious names that will both make sense to your users and, ideally, contain a relevant keyword. Keep them as short as possible.

Slug : This is the friendly URL version of your name that will appear in both categories archives and URLs of posts if you use them custom permalinks  - we will cover these two scenarios in detail later.

For now, consider using hyphens to separate words, avoid stopwords, and avoid keyword stuffing.

Parent: It is used to assign an object as a subcategory

Description: That this is actually used everywhere depends on your WordPress theme.

The concern of categories: the use of several categories for an article

Some (like me) think that using a category for an article can have bad SEO consequences. Indeed, when you assign an article to two categories for example: " tutorial "And" plugins“, Then Google can access this tutorial with two different addresses:

http://exemple.com/categorie/plugins et http://exemple.com/categorie/tutoriel.

It is therefore normal that this can be considered as duplicate content. But this is not always true.

First of all, don't lose sight of the SEO goal.

Remember that the sorting it allows to operate on your content in an efficient way helps users to find each other. Due to the way the higher categories are set up, you will not be required to classify an article in more than one category.

For example, if your blog has three categories « Advertising, marketing and SEO« . Your articles often tend to fall into multiple categories. Maybe you need a generic category for all three? Maybe they should all fall into one category " entreprise "? Or you can have a single category called " Advertising and marketing“, And then having SEO as a subcategory.

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There are no SEO advantages to using multiple categories. If you think they will be able to help your users, you are more than welcome to add an article in multiple categories.

However, if you think this is affecting your traffic badly, then you should consider restructuring your categories. Maybe some of your categories should be labels. Or maybe they should be subcategories of a major category.

It is necessary to make the user experience your main concern.

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You can use other WordPress plugins to give a modern look and optimize the grip of your blog or website.

We offer you here some premium WordPress plugins that will help you do that.

1. Schedule Emails

this WordPress plugin as its name suggests allows you to schedule the e-mail publication on your website. It is part of the plugins of the WordPress plugin "Follow My Blog Post". You will now be able to schedule the publication of your emails according to hours, days, or weeks. Schedule Emails Follow My Blog Post wordpress plugin

It offers the possibility to send a combined email for all notifications instead of each email for each notification and also allows to define different email templates for different email, finally to make the reception of your emails more digestible. .

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2. QT Places

QT Places is an elegant and versatile WordPress plugin for displaying maps from Google Maps on your website. After installation, a new post type called “Places” will appear in your WordPress menu, and you can immediately start adding new locations to the maps.

QT Responsive Interactive Places Google Maps WordPress Plugin

This extension is super responsive, and works on mobile (iPhone, Android). You can add map functionality to any type of publication that is standard (like articles or pages), or personalized (like portfolios).

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3. Custom Login & Access

Custom Login & Access is above all a tool which offers a very large degree of customization, and which allows you to personalize access to your member area. It focuses on creating a powerful form by combining it with optimal features dedicated to the security of this space.

Custom Login & Access

Here are some of the features it puts at your disposal: the ability to edit the profile directly on the front-end of the website, mtemplate forms for login and registration,restriction of access to the public interface for users  DON'T connected, the rrestriction of access to the dashboard for certain subscribers, integration of a captcha system, etc ...

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Other recommended resources

We also invite you to consult the resources below to go further in the grip and control of your website and blog.

Conclusion

Here ! That's it for this tutorial, hopefully that has helped you understand how to use categories and tags effectively on WordPress. Feel free to share the tip with your friends on your social networks.

However, you will also be able to consult our resources, if you need more elements to carry out your projects of creation of Internet sites, by consulting our guide on the WordPress blog creation.

But, in the meantime, tell us about your Comments and suggestions in the dedicated section.

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This article features 2 comments

  1. Hello,
    I think unlike you, an article in too many categories and bad for SEO, I think an article should be in one category, see two, but not more.
    If you have a site on a specific topic, for example Cinema, News, an article will be either in Cinema or in News, putting it in both will not be good, Cinema talks about wires on big screens, News talks about projects. shooting, etc.

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for your comment. WordPress only uses one category for a post that has more than one in the URLs. This means, if an article is in the cinema and documentary category, WordPress will only use a link to access this article which will be as appropriate: https://votresite.com/categorie/cinema ou https://votresite.com/categorie/documentaire and not both at the same time.
      Therefore, using more than one category (at too many 3) has no SEO impact. I still agree that overusing categories is not a good idea, especially if they don't cover similar topics.

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