Too Many Tags (May) Spoil the Post!

May 1, 2009 in Blogging by pacejmiller

I learned another thing about blogging today (during a study break, of course).  I am still retarded when it comes to all this technical blog stuff, but at least I’m improving.

When I first started this blog, I was under the impression that tags were crucial to increasing the readership of posts.  As I understood it, the more tags (with key words) that you have, the more likely someone is to find your blog in a search.  And so I bombarded any post I did with as many tags as I could possibly come up with. Sometimes for a single, decent-sized post I could have up to 30 tags!

On the other hand, I understood categories to be no more than just an internal method of sorting your posts into specific groups for ease of searching and browsing.

However, I found out today about WordPress.com’s ‘global tags’.  Here’s a post explaining what they are. In short, the global tag system enables readers to see all the recent posts which have been marked with a particular tag or have been put in a particular category.  For example, if you read a post of mine that’s been tagged with ‘Writing’ (or put into the ‘Writing’ category)  and you click on that tag or category at the top of the post, you’ll be transported to a page listing all the recent posts that have been tagged with ‘Writing’ or put in the ‘Writing’ category of their blog.

Readers can even browse WordPress’s tag page (located here) which lists the posts from the last 48 hours according to tag or category.

I kind of already knew that, but what I didn’t know was that in order for your post to be included in the global tag system, you cannot have more than a total of 12 tags or categories for any single post.  In other words, if I had 10 tags and 3 categories for a particular post in the ‘Writing’ category (ie total of 13), that post would not make it to the global tag system when someone looks for recent posts on ‘Writing’.

Maybe everyone already knew this, but I was shocked!  I had no idea what my incessant tagging may have produced the opposite effect of what I had intended.

On the other hand, perhaps not.  Some of my most popular posts as of late (eg the one summarising my European Adventure) had heaps of tags, and certainly a lot more than 12 in total.  Nevertheless, I’ve spent the last few hours trying to cut down on the number of tags and categories of my earlier posts, so I guess we’ll see whether having more tags or less is the way to go.