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One of the great things about WordPress is that storing your content in a relational database allows you to create logical groups of content. In a standard WordPress website, this grouping is done through the WordPress categories vs tags (Category and Tag) taxonomies. 

wordpress categories vs tags

Category Vs Tag

Taxonomy is one of those words that most people never hear or use. Basically, a taxonomy is a way to group things together.

The only difference between WordPress categories vs tags is that Categories are hierarchical, which means terms can have a relationship to each other, like parent and child and Tags are NOT hierarchical, which means there’s no relationship between them.

In this Tutorial, you will learn the basic difference between category and tag  (WordPress categories vs tags)and how you can SEO Optimize it and talk about some basic question like “can I add one post to multiple categories or not”, ” how unoptimized category and tag hurt my SEO Ranking”.

Introduction To “Categories”

According to the definition of the category in the WordPress” A Category is one of the pre-defined taxonomies in WordPress. It is used to sort and group content into different sections. In simple Language, Categories are the foundational organizational tool of a WordPress site’s content, and that’s often reflected in the site’s navigation menus.

Navigation menu of hitechwork

Site Navigation

Ideally, every piece of content ( Post, article) will belong to only one category and all content within that category will be related in a clearly comprehensible way. Suppose you want to publish Post about “Keyword Research“. In this post, You have to explain a lot of tools like keyword rank checker tool, keyword scraper tool, Adwords Keyword tool etc

Keyword research post

Post

You write an article for each Tool (how to use it), rather than to explain all tools in “keyword research” post. So here, the role of the category comes in action. You create a category and Grouping all the article about Tool in it. So that user can easily check which article is good for him and which one is not

Add Post To Category

Add Post To Category

Introduction To “Tag”

You might think that grouping by categories is enough, but — sticking with the tool example — there are lots of other ways that the pages are related. For example, the tool that you can use may be a different type like offline or online, Free or prepaid, etc. That’s where tags come in action. Tags can be used to group pages according to their type, I just pick one example but you can use it in a lot of ways.

Add tag to post

Post With Tag

You can think of categories as boxes into which content is sorted and tags as labels on each piece of content — a tag list is an index of those labels so you can find related content no matter which box it’s stored in.

Without WordPress categories vs tags, a website is simply a loose collection of content. Designing a logical system of categories and tags before you begin publishing content will help you maintain a clear structure — your site will be easier to navigate and offer a coherent user experience.

Difference Between WordPress Categories Vs Tags

In understanding the difference between WordPress categories vs tags, it’s helpful to think of your blog like a book.

Category Is like a Content of book

Category Is like a Chapter

Categories work like the chapters of a book: All of a book’s content is organized into chapters. Looking at the title of each chapter will give you a good idea of the topics the book covers and how it’s organized. If the book author or editor wanted to change, add, or remove any chapters, it’d be a pretty big structural change for the book.

Like Category and Tag of the book

Like Category and Tag

Tags work more like the book’s index. Indexes are a much longer list of more specific topics the book mentions. If a topic is in the index, it’s probably covered in more than one area of the book. A book’s index is usually much longer than the table of contents, and adding or removing an item doesn’t affect the structure of the book. So this is the basic difference between wordpress categories vs tags.

How To Add Category And Tags

You can add new category in WordPress,  Under

  • Post and then click on the category, Provide a name for that category.
  • If you want you can add a Slug, which is actually a URL of your website Category. Make Sure this URL is SEO Friendly for better Result In Google.
Adding Category in wordpress

Adding Category

  • If you are creating a child category then choose a parent category. Parents mean main Category and Child me Sub-category.
  • Provide a description for your category and click on Add New Category button.

You can also create a category in WordPress while writing a post. There is a categories meta box on the post editor screen with a list of existing categories.

Add Category during writing post

Add Category

  • Categories can be edited or deleted
  • You can delete or edit it from Posts » Categories screen. Move your mouse to the category you want to edit or delete.
Delete Catogery

Delete

Deleting does not delete posts filed under it. Instead, if a post is not filed into any other categories, then WordPress would automatically file the post under the default category i.e Uncategorized.

The same process is used to add the Tag, There is no difference between them, like URL, Description, Name etc, You can add Tag During the content writing or Add tags manually Under Post>>Tags

How To Convert Category Into Tag

As for usage, there are no restrictions, and you can have as many categories as you want. However, categories in WordPress are like broader sections of a website while tags are like keywords. Sometimes you may want to change your categories into tags or tags into categories. To do that,

  • Go to Tools » Import and click on Categories and Tags Converter.
category and tag converter

Converter

  • A pop-up window will open asking you to install the importer, Click on the Install Now button.
  • Once the importer is installed click on Activate Plugin & Run Importer.

Can I Assign One Post To Multiple Categories?

You might read on other Websites that assigning posts to multiple categories can hurt your SEO. Some say that you can get penalized for duplicate content because of that. I believe that statement is not entirely true.

First of all, don’t get lost with SEO. Remember the purpose of sorting your content efficiently is to help users find it. For example:- If your blog has three categories “Advertising, Marketing, and SEO”. Your posts often tend to fall into multiple categories. Perhaps you need an umbrella category for all three? Maybe they should all fall under Business? Or you can have one category called Advertising & Marketing. Then have SEO as a sub-category for those.

There are no SEO benefits to adding the post into multiple categories. If you think it helps your users, then you are more than welcome to add one post into multiple categories.

However, if you see this becoming a regular issue, then you should consider restructuring your categories. Maybe some of your categories need to be tagged. Or maybe they should be subcategories of one major category. It is mainly about making the user experience better.

Note :- Sometimes category creates a duplicate content issue and moves your website towards the google penalty. Remove category from search engine to reduce the risk of google penalty is important. 40 out of 100 website penalize due to duplicate content. You can also use “Noindex but Dofollow tag” for the category to reduce the risk of penalty.

How To SEO Optimize Category And Tag

Optimization of the category is very important for SEO point of view. Maximum time blogger does not do anything with the category that is a bad practice. I already explain why we need to remove the category and Tag from the search engine. But here is an again little introduction who are not familiar with the Optimization of the category.

Sometimes category creates a duplicate content due to a sub-page of the category. For example, The main category is  like “CategoryA” and the sub-page of the category is like

categoryA1
categoryA2
categoryA3

1,2,3 at the end of the page create a duplicate content, like copy1, copy2, copy3 and Google don’t know which URLs is original so google randomly select one and rank it. Too many duplicate contents mean low authorizes website. Here is a process that you have to follow to optimize your category and tag

  • Click on SEO and then click on XML Sitemap in yoast SEO plugin.
  • Now click on Taxonomies  and do the setting as shown in the below screenshot.
Taxonomies setting in yoast plugin

Taxonomies setting

  • Now Go to Setting SEO>> Title and meta >> Taxonomies and Noindex to the category and tags in Yoast Plugin
title and meta setting in yoast plugin

Taxonomies For Tittle and Meta

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Conclusion

A good category structure is flexible and designed to handle any content you’ll publish in the future. When visitors want a way to explore your content that doesn’t fit within your existing categories, it’s time to start adding tags. Over time, you’ll build a content-rich site that is easy and fun for your visitors to use.

I hope that this article helps clear any and all confusion when it comes to the topic of WordPress categories vs tags. We would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. How do you sort your content? what best practices do you follow?

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If you have any suggestion or problem about WordPress categories vs tags please feel free to comment below.

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Harvinder Singh Sharry

owner at Hitechwork
I'm Professional Blogger, SEO, and Digital marketing expert. I started my blog in 2016 with the aim to share my knowledge and experiences for the people associated with my field as well as for the general public.
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Jack Anderson

I'm Professional Blogger, SEO, and Digital marketing expert. I started my blog in 2016 with the aim to share my knowledge and experiences for the people associated with my field as well as for the general public.

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