WordPress Categories vs Tags – SEO Best Practices for Sorting your Content

Organizing the content of your website is very important and understanding which WordPress categories vs tags to use is even more so. Best practices for sorting categories / content on a WordPress website can be important knowledge to have in your arsenal.

They are used not just for SEO, but also to ensure easy tracking and navigation when someone visits your site.

Categories and tags are the most commonly used things to organize and WordPress website. Basically, categories and tags help to keep track of the uploaded content on your site and sort them accordingly.

But which one is better? WordPress categories vs tags? We’re here to explore the answer to that.

As a WordPress website developer or owner, your and most people’s prime concern is the SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimization basically ranks your website based on its optimization and content efficiency.

The more organized a website, the better chance it has to show up on the front page of a google search. That in turn means more traffic and better revenue for the site.

But how do you organize a site? Which one do you use between WordPress categories vs tags?

Even though we’re here to find the distinction between them and determine which is the better one, truth be told, they’re kind of similar to each other.

WordPress Categories vs Tags
WordPress categories vs tags

WordPress categories vs tags

Categories are in a sense broad aspect of grouping on any website. Categories generally outline the basic concept of any content in a broad sense. Since it is neither direct nor specific, categories also have subcategories that are more specific and content niche-oriented.

Compared to categories, tags are more personalized. Tags are designed to outline certain key aspects of any post or content. In a sense, tags are like micro categorizing the posts of your website.

Unlike category, tags aren’t visible within the post or in the website itself. So what’s the point of having a tag? It just helps with the overall navigation within your website.

The WordPress platform is built in such a way that you need to have categories even though you may not need tags. This is done in order to better sort the content of the website. This is not true in the case of tags as you do not have to have tags.

Even if you opt not to use tags, WordPress will automatically assign a category for your post. It’s ironic thinking that the category assigned to is called “Uncategorized’. You can rename the uncategorized category to anything of your choice.

Adding Tags and Categories

Before going into detail as to which one is better between categories vs tags in WordPress, you first need to know how to add categories and tags to your website.

The process is fairly simple, all you have to do is select the “edit post” option in your post and from there you can choose a category to add a new category or you can choose tags to add tags to your post.

What is the Ideal Number of Categories in a Website (Type of Category)?

So now that we have understood the basic difference (or similarity) between categories and tags. We now need to know how many categories should be there on a WordPress site.

And this is honestly a personal choice. You get to decide how many categories do you want on your website. It also depends on the type of content you post on your website. Sometimes the topics may be diverse or you may be running a site on a specific niche. Whatever the type be, you’ll need to have categories.

We would personally recommend you to go with three to four categories to start off. As time goes by, you can build on them as well as introduce subcategories.

Is it Compulsory to Have a Subcategory?

Not at all. Whether to have a subcategory or not is completely your choice and depends upon the need of the website. Say if you’re running a blog with a diverse content range, you might want to consider having subcategories under categories to make it more organized and tidy up.

Or else if you’re focusing on a single niche, it’s completely fine to stick with categories rather than going with subcategories as well.

Putting a Single post in Multiple Category

Many people think it is wise to assign a single post or content to multiple categories. This is not right. A single post should not be included in multiple categories as it messes with the SEO.

As we have mentioned before, your main target is to make your website content more SEO friendly. That is to make them more accessible to the readers and optimized for the search engines.

Keeping that in mind, duplication of the post in multiple categories might simply make your post lose its value and uniqueness that is very important for SEO.

We recommend sticking to one category while indexing your post on content, you may have multiple subcategories, but it is best practice to stick to a single category.

Categories are meant to give you an overview of the content that you might find under it. So we suggest you stick with the above-mentioned guidelines while using categories on your website.

Since using categories is a must for every WordPress site, we would recommend that you choose categories that best overall summarises your website and its contents. If your categories are unrelated to your post or content, it will do worse than good ultimately making the categories vs tags WordPress debate pointless.

SEO is a highly sophisticated tool that takes into consideration a lot of things before assigning a rank to your site and content. There should a sense of unison throughout the message you’re trying to communicate through your site.

To ensure that unison, we suggest you make sure that the categories that you select are completely in line with the content as well as the SEO of the website.

Even as you grow your website, there is no need to overwhelm your site with categories. You might be focusing on diverse issues rather than a single niche, it’s completely fine. But it doesn’t mean you’ll have to overwhelm the landing page with categories.

More number categories will only work to confuse your readers which in turn will ultimately drive down the traffic to your site.

What are website tags?

Compared to categories, the tag option is a bit diverse. There are multifarious ways and places of using a tag within a post. Even though tags aren’t visible, it’s a very important and intricate part of optimizing any content.

Tags make the overall optimization smoother and easier for the search engine to accurately portray your content on the search page.

By accurately, we mean it’ll be able to put your site and content based on the relevance of the content at the top of the search list.

As we have mentioned earlier, whereas categories are more like a general classification of content, tags offer a more personal insight into the content. Unlike categories, there can be multiple tags within a single post. Tags help to make your post visible with a relevant post of the same niche.

Let’s say if your post covers the automotive industries, including tags like car, speed, motor show will help to promote and visualize your post in these niches of search terms. When people search for something on the web, the tags help to compare and suggest content that it feels are relevant to the search queries.

However, one thing should be kept in mind. Even though we are saying that tags are a bit more personalized than categories, they’re not and should not be too personalized.

What we mean is that tags shouldn’t be such that it only applies to one pot on the content of the website. If your tags are too unique, it will fail to show up in the search queries because of their lack of SEO.

Tags should be such keywords that also applies to a number of a similar post on your site. This will help to better streamline the content of your blog and make the site more relevant to search engines.

So even though we’re saying that tags are more personalized, its application still should be done keeping the broader aspect in mind.

What is the Limit of Tags in a Post?

Limitless. That is all we’ve to say when it comes to tags. You can use as many tags as you want in your post and there is no hard and fast rule that demarcates tag usage.

However, that is not recommended at all. You should not be adding as many tags as you can. Tags, as we’ve said time and again are an indexing tool. Just like indexing in books, tags are simply used to locate relevant posts.

Since site plugins and search engines also get influenced by tags, we suggest you stick to using not more than 10 tags per post.

Content Relating

Have you ever browsed any blog and saw related content at the of scrolling the blog? This is also true for various product niches as well as blog posts where it is often categorized as ‘you may also like’

The key for any website is two things – to attract traffic, to keep the traffic engaged. Tags work for both scenarios, relevant tagging will make sure your content gets priority in the search list as well as engaging the incoming traffic.

When a viewer is done reading or interacting on one of your posts, they can move onto another similar content from the ‘you may also like’ list. This offers a personalized curation of the content available on your site and increasing the overall interaction and engagement to your posts.

What are the Don’ts of Using Tags?

As we’ve mentioned before, there is no hard and fast rule for using tags. However, some best practices require you to be careful about the categories use case scenario.

While using tags, make sure the tag that you’re using is not a duplicate of the category that has been used prior hand. Using the same tag as category name is not only useless but it’s also confusing.

Another important thing to consider while using a tag is not to use similar words in the same post. Like there is no point in using ‘awards’ and ‘accolades’ as tags of a single post.

Do not use a plural version of any tag that is already in existence. This just messes up the SEO.

Which One is Better for SEO? WordPress categories vs tags

There is no definitive answer to this question. Categories or tags alone don’t make much of a difference in SEO. As a content developer, you should know that these are just mere additional aspects of content to make it better presentable. What determines the SEO is the content itself.

However, the proper combination of WordPress categories vs tags makes it far easier for SEO and guarantees better engagement and traffic on your site.

Categories and tags both serve unique and different purposes. They are like compliments to each other that works together to better the overall SEO. Tags are optional but as we’ve mentioned countless times by now, it enhances the overall responsiveness and relevance of content to search engines.

See also:
1- All in One SEO vs Yoast: Which One’s Better? (5 Key Differences)
2- Best Way To Add Meta Picture in WordPress
3- How to Changing WordPress URL?


Categories and tags are still the most universally used WordPress site sorting tools. You can sort the contents to better divide them according to their topic and niches. It also becomes easier for the traffic to navigate your website and make the surfing experience a breeze.

In this article, we tried to analyze in-depth categories and tags. We tried to explore how they individually affect the SEO and overall site experience.

We believe this article will be comprehensive enough to provide you with sufficient knowledge regarding categories and tags. In addition to that, we hope you also now understand the SEO best practices of each of the categories and tags to maximize their impact to increase the reach and engagement of your site.

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