Book bloggers: it is time to learn how to use post tags correctly and stop treating your blog tags the same as you do on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
In the Age of Social Media, we all use tags and hashtags to group posts together with other similar content from other users on the platform. I’ve seen a growing number of blogs using the same methodology for blog posts, not realizing blog tags function differently and they may actually be hurting their SEO. So let’s talk about the purpose of blog tags and how to use them correctly!
What Are Post Tags, Really?
With new technology and social media expanding usage and shifting the public understanding of key terms, it is no surprise that many new bloggers assume that blog tags operate the same as on social media.
A blog post is not Instagram and blog tags are not meant to be used for content discovery. (It’s true that the WordPress Reader does have a tag search feature, but it’s rarely used and stuffing your tags can hurt your SEO.) Tags on blogs are meant to connect visitors to other similar content and keep them on your site.
The Anatomy of a Blog Post
Just like post headings are reading and SEO tools with very specific functions, Categories and Tags are organizational tools that group posts together.
- Categories are broad topics or sections that your posts fall into.
- Book Reviews, Memes, Discussions, Guides
- Tags are specific, smaller details that further groups under the larger category.
- genre, age range, Top Ten Tuesday, seo basics
Post tags do not improve SEO or index the post to show up in Google searches for that tag, but rather it does create a search results page on your blog for every post on your blog with that tag included.
The above screenshot is from an actual blog post I saw and the catalyst for this guide. Clicking on any of these tags will bring you to a page with all related content on that blog but there is only two tags that are useful to the visitor in finding other related posts of interest: fantasy and “yalit” (and maybe book review, but that depends on if they have a book review category or not).
It’s also worth mentioning that tags on blogs can be a couple of words! Unlike social media hashtags, your blog post tags can have spaces in them (“ya lit” versus “yalit”).
How to Make Best Use of Blog Tags
A good rule of thumb is to remember that clicking on a post tag delivers results for other similar posts on the same website. It’s a label that groups similar posts together and is a tool to help visitors find similar content on your blog.
Ironically the above tag screenshot highlights that I still need to cleanup my tags as I have a duplicative tag for book review so even I am not immune! 🤦 (Why? Because the Category for Book Review does the same function!)
The above example shows how you can structure your categories and tags differently in a way that isn’t duplicative like mine. Because Soph reviews other kinds of media, she has a “books” category and a “book review” tag, which is smart!
When creating tags for a blog post, it’s best to put yourself in the shoes of your visitor. Imagine they just found this amazing post of yours and would like to see similar content: think to yourself “how does this post relate to others I’ve created? if a visitor wants to see similar content, what keywords make sense?” and then make sure related posts on your blog have that tag, too!
Post tags are a completely different beast than on social media. You can click on “bookblogger” on IG or TikTok and be served all sorts of content on the platform from multiple creators, but on a blog those tags aid in the discoverability of similar content on your own site. You can use all those other tags when you share your posts across your socials!
I hope you found this guide helpful! It can be daunting to think about needing to update post tags and delete unnecessary ones, but remember that it can be done over time and will help readers find similar content they enjoy. It’s a win-win!