The Difference Between Keywords, TAGS, and Categories
This is probably one of the biggest questions I get. These three types of SEO terms can get confusing and many don't know the difference much less the point of them.
- A keyword is what you want a page or post known for. This is the word or phrase you research on the Google keyword tool AND the search bar to determine what people are actually looking for and how high is your competition. (See - how to optimize a post for more on that). Once you have 1-3 keywords or phrases that you want to focus on, you naturally add them into your content. You want to have this phrase or word about 1-3% of the content text itself AND include it in the title of the post AND description if you have a space for that. This is typically allowed on WordPress or other website meta data. The keywords on the meta data doesn't really mean much anymore but make sure your phrase or word is in the description AND the title of the page or post. This is what your post is now known for. Google will then solidify this page with those keywords or phrases and rank it accordingly.
Tags are used primarily in blog settings but some non-blogging platform sites may offer them as well. A TAG is a word or phrase that will categorize your post into clumps of posts all carrying that same tag. For instance: If you wrote a post or page about foreclosures in Wenatchee Washington, your tags would probably be: "foreclosures" - "wenatchee" - "real estate" - "wenatchee washington" TAGS are case sensitive so once you choose a tag, use it the same way every time. Wenatchee and wenatchee can be seen as two separate tags. It's best to keep everything lower case for TAGS.
Now the next time you write a post or page, maybe this one is on Events in Wenatchee Washington, you will use the tags "wenatchee" and "wenatchee washington" (you may choose to add more such as "wenatchee events") NOW you have two pages using the same two tags. The more you use the same tags for different posts or pages the more important that tag becomes thus anchoring your site with that topic more and more. PLUS if you or anyone else clicks on that tag - either at the bottom of the post, page or if you have a TAG CLOUD showing all your TAGS on the side bar, they will be brought to a page with every post or page listed that included that tag. So you have basically categorized your posts in TAG format AND you have solidified your entire site with whatever TAGS you use most often. TAGS and keywords can be the same but TAGS tend to be shorter phrases or one word.
A category is just that. Most blogging platforms and especially WordPress use categories to clump together the posts into a more user friendly way. Unlike TAGS, categories are more for the reader than the search engines. Take our example above: We would probably have a category for Wenatchee Buyers, Wenatchee Sellers, Wenatchee Foreclosures, Wenatchee Information etc... Then anytime a reader clicks on that category, every post you put in that category will show up in list format. If a buyer only wants information on buying Wenatchee real estate, they can click on the category and see a list of all the buyers information written on that site. Same with sellers or whatever category you have chosen to make.
Categories are more for human readers, TAGS are more for search engines, and keywords are for both.
Remember to use your keywords in your title, description and content, TAG your post appropriately with 3 or 4 basic subjects and put your post in the right category for readers to organize what they want to read.