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How tags and categories work in WordPress【Guide!】

A woman stands in front of a huge "mention" tag

Learn how tags and categories work in WordPress


If you have visited a larger blog, you may have noticed that the page has categories and tags. These two tools ensure that the content is structured in a logical way, which is best practice if you have a large website with many articles and pages.


You also do not need to ask us for help with WordPress to grasp how tags and categories work. We explain this here, in this article which is a comprehensive resource with all the answers you need.

As you can see above, you can view all the categories and tags in the left menu bar of the WordPress interface. In the same left menu you can adjust everything that has to do with the page. For example, you can also go to the media library in WordPress or change user permissions in WordPress via the left menu.


What are categories in WordPress?

Categories is a slightly broader tool than tags, which you use to structure the content of your WordPress website. It is a good idea to have between 1 and 3 categories per post, because then it will be easier for the visitor to navigate around your WP website.


For example, if you are writing a news article about ice hockey, the categories “News” and “Ice Hockey” are appropriate.


What are tags in WordPress?

Tags describe a slightly narrower area compared to categories. It is a good idea to use a few descriptive words for the article when selecting appropriate tags. Also note that it is a good idea to have more tags compared to categories. 5 tags are usually the default for a blog post.


Read more: We develop WordPress plugin for you!


More specifically, the tags describe what the articles are about in a more detailed way. If we continue on the example above with the news article about ice hockey, “Peter Forsberg”, “Wayne Gretzky”, “Börje Salming” and “NHL” can be good tags. These tags describe in detail what the article is about, while the categories describe the article with broader brushstrokes.


Note that the article must be about the tags you add. If you do not mention Wayne Gretzky, do not add him as a tag either.


How to SEO-optimize tags and categories

There are many good extensions for WordPress, not least when it comes to SEO extensions. For SEO, both Yoast and Rank Math are good alternatives, which you can use to SEO-optimize your tags and categories.


It is important that the category pages are never indexed by Google, as this can lead to the same content appearing in more searches. The same goes for tags, as they should not be indexed by Google for exactly the same reason.


All SEO plugins have settings that determine whether tags and categories should be visible among the search results or not. At the “Tags” and “Categories” tabs of the SEO extensions settings, be sure to check “Show Tags / Categories in search results”.


Once you have done that, you have set both tags and categories correctly, which means that you have maximized your chances of being seen high up in the search engine results lists.



Caption: How to de-index tags and categories in Rank Math

Answers to frequently asked questions


How do I add a tag?

You add a tag via the menu bar on the right when writing an article or post. To add multiple tags at once, separate each tag with a comma. It’s a good idea to always add at least 3 tags before publishing your content.



How do I add a category?

To add a category, select “Add new category” in the menu bar on the right. If you have already added a category, you only need to check the categories you want for the article you are going to publish. Note that you can also add subcategories, as you see below.



Do I have to have subcategories?

You do not need to have subcategories. Major news sites and blogs with thousands of published articles and posts have chosen not to have subcategories. If you feel that you and your visitors benefit from subcategories, it is a good idea to add them, even if you do not have to.

Felicia Forsgren

Felicia Forsgren

Leading projects within development of web & mobile applications, and SEO at LoopLabz. Do you want to get in touch with me? Email Felicia@looplabz.com

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