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Category vs tag (or label) – Everything you need to know

Do you have a website with a content management system or e-commerce system? You should know the difference between category and tag (or label) when to use a category, when to use a tag, whether to use the sub-category, which is better for promoting your website in the search engine, what is better for the users of your site and more.

What is the difference between the category and tag?

Category – a broad grouping of posts (articles) or products (e-commerce store). Ie, Category is a broad topic in which you group all your information. Categories explain what your site is talking about and what you offer. To facilitate your browsing on the site even further, placing the categories in the menu bar. In addition, categories can be arranged hierarchically, ie add a sub-category.

Tag or label – similar to the category, even here there is a grouping of posts or products but tags are better to describe your content and more specific. With a tag, you explain to your users what the post or the product is talking about. To make it easier for users placing the tags in “cloud” so they can find content that interests them. Tags unlike categories speak for themselves, and therefore can not be arranged hierarchically.

How to know if this is a category or a tag?

To distinguish what is a category and what is a tag, you should see its link structure if the structure is customized.

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  • Category link is like this: http://www.example.com/category/sport/.
  • Tag link is like this: http://www.example.com/tag/sport/.
  • Sub-category link is like this: http://www.example.com/category/sport/football/.

Example of Category and Tag

For example, if you have a news site, you can use this:

  • Category: News, politics, economy, sports, etc.
  • Sub categories you may use for example: If the category is sports, then sub-category can be football, basketball and so on.
  • For tags, you can use the names of players, league football and so on. Of course, this is just an example and you are not required to do so, may your categories and tags will be different.

Another example is e-commerce store brand clothes.

  • Category: Men, women, children.
  • Sub-categories: shirts, trousers, winter clothing, shoes and more.
  • Tags (optional): You may want to use any brand or size measurement and more.

Must use category or tag?

If you use WordPress system, you must use at least one category. Also, there are other systems of electronic commerce, for example, when you are committed to it. On the other hand, there is no obligation to use the tags in the article, if the category is sufficient for you, you can use it and don’t use the tags. In addition, you do not need to use this sub-category, category enough.

What better SEO, tag or category?

According to Google, there are over 200 algorithms to rank websites. There is no known connection between selecting a category or tag and its effect on your site. You must select categories and tags that match the structure of your site and the structure of these type sites and taking into account the fact that it should have enough sense for your target audience. Your audience should understand what your site is talking about, and if you offer them information or products – they need to understand well if your site fits their needs.

When should the tag be a category and when the category should be a tag?

This is a very good question and so we’ll try to answer the best answer. Because a category this is a broad topic, it should contain a lot of posts or products. So when category includes some posts and the post can be associated with another category, possible to consider making it as a tag. Of course, it also reversed, if your tag contains a lot of posts, and is also a broad topic, consider making it a category.

Is it better to use multiple categories or multiple tags? If yes then how?

For use in several categories for the post, is not advisable to select a few categories. The reason that the content will double and that violates the guidelines of the search engines, so be sure to use the most appropriate category for the post or product. If you choose two categories nevertheless, it creates two links to the same content, you must create a link Canonical to the address you wish that it will be the beginning.

For use in several tags for the same post, use the most relevant tags. There is no mandatory minimum or maximum, but be sure to choose the most appropriate tags. Once your user is trying to find information, it will get it.

Are tags are keywords?

No! This is a mistake to think so. Keywords are important words in which you indicate to search engines what this is about a post or a product. Google does not use keywords at all and it does not affect whether you use them or not. Bing is still using keywords but also if you use no keywords, the search engine understands what this is about. Tags are designed to better organize and order of the posts are used more for your users, so they are not keywords.

In conclusion

Categories designed to organize and group your posts or your products into one broad topic. Tags are designed to group them into more specific topics. In e-commerce sites or blogs, the menu is usually the site’s categories. Tags they are some topics that characterize the product or the post. It is recommended to use a single category best suited for the post and future similar posts, use some of the most appropriate tags for that post.

Our example in this article: the category is: content. The tags are category and tag.