It would seem that tagging at websites is less and less popular. Tags are frequently blocked in search engines prior to indexing or even completely deleted. A thought-through content development strategy combined with a well-designed information architecture that takes into consideration tag pages may increase organic traffic on a website. So how to properly unlock the potential of tagging?
What are tags?
Tags are nothing more than names of resource-classifying categories, here: on websites. Such names are most often keywords which, presented as so-called tag clouds, allow users to easily find what they are looking for. Therefore, every tag should have its own page accumulating website content at a given URL.
When you have chosen categories…
Tagging is almost the same as categorizing, but it would be best when tags complemented or extended categories (e.g. in substantive terms). In addition, they can be interrelated by subject and sometimes they will not be associated with categories at all. It all depends on a website information architecture.
I frequently hear that tagging on a website is a bad choice. However, tagging is usually done wrong (unknowingly, of course). Generating multiple tags with a different URL each leads to cannibalization of keywords and to duplication of content. With every new article, the editor – instead of assigning articles to already existing tags – keeps adding new tags (often in a modified form), e.g. using singulars and plurals, Polish diacritics or not, etc.
Tags are predominantly used on blogs, grouping articles by specific (additional) keywords. The same mechanism applies to online stores. Categories (and sub-categories) are those most significant ‘sections’ of the store, but if you want to expand a list of keywords associated with a given group of products, you will be running out of categories. What I have in mind is a situation where even if stock is not so large, there appear such keywords that not necessarily can be categories, but are perfect for being tags.
Categorizing products in an online store
Let’s imagine a situation where a clothing store is divided as follows:
- Women’s pants
- Men’s pants
You can sub-divide it further:
- Cargo pants
The following pages are generated in a natural way:
It is obviously one way to divide stock into categories. Another possibility entails creating categories of “women’s clothing” and “men’s clothing” and only then, at a lower level, sub-categories of “pants” and e.g. “jeans”. A slash (‘/’) can be replaced with a dash (‘-’) to technically maintain subsequent sub-categories at the same level.
Note! Do not nest too many sub-categories; it is good to keep three levels – according to the rule of three clicks – for the user to reach a website resource they are looking for.
And where to put product tags in there?
Once you optimally divided products into categories and sub-categories, you should think of what you can squeeze of it ????.
Senuto Keyword Database comes to the rescue. The search engine for new keywords with a possibility to browse Google helped find such keywords as:
- High waist jeans
- Ripped jeans
and much less popular phrases that can be implemented later, for example:
- Skinny jeans
- Trashed jeans
It is noteworthy that the store will probably have categories of manufacturers/ product brands:
therefore, you do not create “jeans [manufacturer]” tags anymore.
More friendly tag URLs
Another important issue is optimization of slugs (that is URL syntax-friendly names that follow the main domain, e.g. /tag-name/). Generally, pages which are tags look as follows:
You can exploit the potential of this place in a URL by changing the ‘tag’ to some relevant key word. However, do not forget that such a change is global, so making it e.g. ‘pants’ is rather not a good idea – you will limit the number of tags and taggable products. In this case, for a clothing store, perhaps it is better to write ‘fashionable’. Then, all the tag URLs will be as follows:
In the last stage of designing a website structure, you will certainly find a better word than ‘tag’. It needs to be as universal as possible and you should come up with it before letting tag pages out for search engine indexing. It is obviously a suggestion, you might as well use ‘/t/’ and distribute keywords at the end of the slug.
How to tag?
Indexable tag pages (treated as categories) are to be naturally included in internal links. In general, links to tags can be on individual product pages, but from time to time it is worth adding them (at least those most relevant) in the main menu. You may also create a so-called tag cloud in a user-friendly form.
Tag pages are generally optimized the same way as category and sub-category pages – it is also worth describing them, adding eye-catching graphic elements; in the end, this is what the user will see. I encourage you to read the article “Pagination – a crucial element of search engine indexing” in whichthere are presented various examples of pagination page optimization. A list of articles/products will appear on tag pages, hence surely pagination as well. Indexable pages go also to an XML sitemap or a website map for users. We treat them equally with other category/sub-category pages.
Tangible benefits – additional traffic
Generating tags might be a way to regularly attract more and more visitors. However, a priority is to deal with and arrange blog tags and product tags (providing there is a considerable amount of them) and to consider which ones of them can be consolidated and which deleted. It requires a lot of effort though, particularly on large websites. It is a process which, when tagging is implemented properly, should generate additional traffic from search engines with the course of time.