Many people are unsure how to use tags for WP, and some even wonder if it is worth the bother. If you use them correctly then yes, tags can be very effective, and you can optimize your WP site for SEO purposes without black hat techniques.
Remember that tags and keywords are not the same, and that too many tags will also not help. Keywords are usually found throughout the post, quite possibly in different spellings and form. For example, if you are writing about graphing designing, you could use keywords like graphic design, graphic designer, graphic design graphics, and so on. But using tags this way is not recommended at all. You will understand why I am saying this,when you read a little further.
Content management systems and social media sites make use of tags for quick identification of photos, music and videos. Organize your tag cloud well, and visitors will find what they are looking for in just one click.
You can also use tags to take visitors to archived posts (related to the current one) directly, rather than leaving them to scroll through the entire archives. If they have to do that, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will quickly leave. But of course, you need to really set it up properly.
Enable tag indexing and they can help build your site topic authority. It is also a good practice to choose from the tags that are most used rather than create new ones that are redundant. Also bear in mind that tags are case sensitive. For example, you write a post tagged 'loan defaults New Jersey'. After some days, you have something more to add, so you post new info and tag it 'New Jersey loan defaults'. That is a redundant tag. Topic authority is diluted and visitors will not be able to read all the related posts because of the different tags.
Using longer tags rather than single word tags are also more likely to drive traffic to your site. This is because users generally tend to write phrases when searching for info on something; therefore the search engines will also place more emphasis on finding posts with such tags.
You can make use of widgets and plugins to display your tags in a drop down list or as a tag cloud. One of the really neat tag clouds I have seen is in the app Status Shuffle, available on Facebook. Check it out when you next login to your FB account.
Clean up your tag cloud if you have a lot of redundant tags. It will take time and effort but your topic authority and the overall usability will be greatly enhanced.
Index either your tags or categories, but not both. Under Sitemap Content, you can decide what you will allow in your XML sitemap. If you blog more frequently, it would be better to index tags, but if you blog only say, once a month, then you need to index categories.
It makes more sense to use the excerpts rather than the entire content as this will ensure that duplicate content issues do not arise.
You can set WP for tags this way: In Genesis or similar updated WP framework, select 'Display Post Excerpts' under Theme Settings. For older versions, you need to alter your .php files for archives or utilize a plug-in.
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