Blogs are fun to write. They’re a great way to help people and Google understand your site and get to know your business a little more. Blogging is great for SEO because Google likes to see new content coming from your site. You may have heard the term “keyword” before, and you may know that keywords will help your blog, but how? There’s no “keyword” section on the post composer on the backend of WordPress. You may see categories and tags. Are these the same things as keywords?

The SEO team at NEXTFLY breaks down what keywords are, how best to use them when blogging, and how they are different from tags, categories, and hashtags.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are words search engines use to match your blog with what people have searched for. There is no special place for them on your WordPress blog, they’re just written in the text. You’ll want to use your keywords more than once within the text of your blog, and they should also appear in headings to really get Google’s attention.

Let’s say I write a Phoenix Food Blog, and I want my blog to be about this new brunch place I went to. My blog would have a keyword (or a group of keywords called a “keyphrase”) that would be “Brunch in Phoenix.” People searching on Google for “Brunch in Phoenix” should see my blog pop up in the search results if I use my keywords correctly.

The tag section in the WordPress post composerWhat are Tags?

Let’s get one thing straight right away: tags and keywords are not the same time. You can’t substitute tags for keywords or keywords for tags. Tags are best used for organization among blogs or other post types. Let’s say you write a blog about restaurants you’ve tried in Phoenix. Your tags are more like subcategories. If you have reviewed a variety of Mexican restaurants, you might add tags like “tacos,” “margaritas,” “queso.” It’s a good idea to reuse these tags again and again. We’ll explain why in a second.

What Are Categories?

You’ve probably seen a box for categories on your blog composer too. Categories are exactly as you think, they’re for categorizing your blogs. So If I’m writing my food blog, and I just went to an Italian restaurant, my category for my post would be “Italian Food,” and my tags might be “pasta”, “meatballs”, “breadsticks”, “tiramisu.” Usually, you only want a dozen categories or so.

Why Should I Use Tags and Categories?

The Category section in WordPress Using categories and tags might not help your SEO as keywords do, but they can help your visitors find what they are looking for easier on your site.

When you build your website and blog page, you can have a table of contents style archive where visitors can filter your categories and tags. If someone visits my Phoenix food blog, they’re only interested in seeing my Mexican food reviews, they can click on my “Mexican” category and see just the blogs I’ve written about Mexican restaurants. You can also do the same with the tags. If visitors just want to see my review about tacos, we can do the same thing with tags. But if you don’t want to have categories or tags displayed on your website, then don’t use them. It’s as simple as that.

Do Categories and Tags Help My SEO?

Honestly, not really. Categories and tags are more useful as an organizational tools. You can also use tags to generate posts. I could write a blog about “My Favorite Tacos in Phoenix” and with some handy website magic, I can make a post that pulls in all my previous posts about tacos. That blog that is a collection of taco posts, would boost my SEO more than tags alone. It’s all about using your categories and tags effectively.

Do Hashtags Help SEO?

#hashtags that you see on social media also function like tags – they’re more of an organizational tool than an SEO booster. When I write a blog and post it on Twitter with #phoenixfoodies you can see other posts where people used the same hashtag. You may start following other Phoenix food blogs because you clicked on a hashtag. Or, you might see the other posts that I labeled with the same hashtag.

So if you have that friend who posts 50 unique hashtags that aren’t consistent with any posts, you can tell them to stop. Hashtags are great for movements, events, and reoccurring themes, not for comments or getting more likes on your post.

Want to Write Better Blogs? NEXTFLY Can Help

Are you writing a blog, but aren’t getting the attention you expected? NEXTFLY can help you with keyword research, blog editing, or on-site optimization. You’ll have more eyes on your blog and appear higher in the search results. Call NEXTFLY today for a free quote.