Why do WordPress site owners add so many Categories and Tags, it’s such a bad SEO idea!

Going through about 30 domains I bought recently all running WordPress and some have more categories and tags than posts!!!

It’s ridiculous, I must have deleted over 150 categories from those domains because of over use of archiving.

WordPress Categories SEO

Best way to use WordPress is minimal categories/tags, majority of posts go in only one category (I don’t use tags because there’s no difference between a WordPress Tag and a WordPress Category).

Don’t do “this post can go in these 36 categories and 58 tags because more is great SEO”!!! More isn’t always better SEO, below is a screenshot of the WordPress Dashboard “Posts” >> “All Posts” screen for the WordPress SEO Tutorial categories posts only, you can see none of the posts have categories and are only added to one category (that’s all a post needs on archiving terms).

WordPress Categories SEO

For those who believe silo SEO is important adding your WordPress posts to only one category makes link siloing so much easier, especially when using the Stallion SEO Package which includes silo SEO support.

There’s over 200 WordPress posts on this site (and a few static Pages), not one is in two or more categories and there are ZERO tags. Googlebot (Google’s search engine spider) has no problem at all fully spidering and indexing this website and ranking it for relevant search phrases. One WordPress category for each post is more than enough as long as a category doesn’t paginate too deep.

Paginated Categories SEO

To keep the link juice flowing smoothly on relatively small sites try to keep the number of posts in a category to 10 or less so you don’t get Category/Tag page 2, page 3 etc… (this assumes you have kept the number of posts per category to the default 10) because it means the posts archived on category page 2/3 etc… are barely getting any link benefit.

For larger websites try to keep to under 20 posts per category, all depends on the number of posts on the entire site and the number of WordPress categories, larger a site more posts you might need to add to a category OR consider more categories with tighter niches (basically as a site grows add more categories to further niche the archives). Adding tighter niches is another way to silo SEO your website.

If you stick to these loose WordPress SEO rules there’s very little wasted link benefit and most posts get a fair amount of link benefit and are easily found by Google and your visitors. Try to avoid sites with categories with 3 posts in and other categories with 30 in, the category with 30 in are not getting their fair share of SEO link benefit! Many webmasters believe only backlinks from external domain have SEO value, this isn’t true, webpages can be ranked high in Google only from internal backlinks, but generally speaking easier it is to get to a webpage from the home page (fewest clicks away from home) more internal link benefit that page will receive.

Remember every page on a site that’s linked uses link benefit, if a site has 30 posts and 30 categories/tags because the way WordPress links webpages together (priority goes to categories/tags) most of your link benefit never finds it’s way to your articles.

WordPress Category SEO Damage

Take a look at selection of your WordPress sites webpages (look at a Post, a category/tag, home page etc…) most will have all the categories linked, all tags linked and if you use monthly archives (PLEASE DON’T, MONTHLY ARCHIVES TOTAL WASTE OF SEO LINK BENEFIT) the latest 12 months linked as well.

What you won’t find is a complete list of all your posts (unless it’s a small site), you might have the 10 recent articles, 10 popular articles, 10 recent comments. If you have a site with 300 posts and 50 categories/tags (you haven’t followed my earlier SEO advice on limiting categorizes) you might only have the recent 10 posts linked from the home page, but you will have all 50 categories/tags and the monthly archives (62 archive links sitewide).

This will allow search engine spiders multiple routes to your content, but at an SEO cost, the archive sections of your site will gain more link benefit than the actual posts! Before your important content (posts) get their link benefit your over use of categories and tags has wasted over half of it!

How to mitigate the SEO damage.

By following my earlier advice and cut categories/tags back to minimum, delete the monthly archives widget completely (calendar widget is even worse, ditch it) you could reduce the categories/tags to 20 to 25 archives so we only have 20-25 category links sitewide rather than 62. Still 25 sitewide category links is a lot of links and not only does this cost a lot of link benefit, it’s damaging any Silo SEO linking Structure you might be working on.

By using the Stallion Responsive WordPress SEO Package you can further limit the amount of link benefit your categories consume. If you look on this sites home page just above the footer you will find a categories widget with less than 20 categories. Look at the same footer area on this post you are on now, no categories widget!

Stallion Responsive includes a display widget feature you can use to set which parts of a website a widget should be shown on. For this site I have the categories set to display on the home page, all categories (all archive sections of the site) and search results, but not on Posts or Static Pages (or Stallion SEO Super Comments Pages: another Stallion feature that generates pages from comments).

This means the category widgets links are only loaded on around 30 pages of the site. Individual categories are still linked from within Posts (see where the article date is: this is a good silo SEO link, it’s related to the content), so categories are still well linked, but no where near as much as if I didn’t use the display widget feature. For example if a category has 12 posts within it, the category will have a further 12 links from those 12 posts, so the category would have around 42 internal links. More posts within a category, more internal links it will have.

WordPress Blog SEO Comments

Since this site is well commented and I use the Stallion SEO Super Comments feature and the SEO Super Comments link back to the post the comment is on, you will find the posts with a lot of comments have significantly more internal links than the category the post is in.

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave : Experienced WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of the Best SEO Package Stallion Responsive WP SEO Theme (tested to WordPress 4.1 December 18th 2014) and Nice Guy :-)

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