Tags are a great way to encourage your visitors to explore the content of a website. They allow them to focus on topics of interest and therefore as they move from subject to subject, they should be more engaged and therefore likely to stay longer.
If you aiming to convert those visitors into customers or hoping for revenue from clicks on adverts or sales via an affiliate program, then this increases the chance of this happening. For those not looking for revenue, but instead using the site for self-promotion, then it is also a win as your areas of expertise are being reinforced.
How do Tags Help Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engines like sites with lots of content and they like it when there are clues to help classify each page. By tagging content, you will then have links to pages that will list those tags, and hence you will have a lot more content that is more easily classified.
What is it and How do Tags Reduce it? The Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors to your site that look at one page and then leave without clicking a link to another page on your site. Tags help prevent this, by pointing to something else that is related and may also be of interest. This is particularly useful for reviews, as a visitor may have come from a search engine and after reading the review want to find other related places in the area.
Adding Tags to Your Pages
How to Make Them Effective
Tags are very easy to add to a page, just create a link to the page that lists pages with that tag. To tell the search engines that the link is a tag ensure that it has the rel=”tag” attribute:
<a href=”/us/newyork/french” rel=”tag”>French</a>,
<a href=”/us/newyork/restaurant” rel=”tag”>Restaurant</a>
What Should the Tags Point to?
You need to decide if the tag index that you link to will list all the pages from the entire site tagged with that tag, or just those that are particularly relevant. In the Restaurant example above you can see that the tag is for Restaurants in New York (USA), as opposed to Restaurants in Bristol (UK):
<a href=”/uk/bristol/restaurant” rel=”tag”>Restaurant</a>,
<a href=”/uk/bristol/takeaway” rel=”tag”>Takeaway</a>,
<a href=”/uk/bristol/indian” rel=”tag”>Indian</a>
Tag Index Pages
Create Pages That People Will Want to Link to
It is worth putting in the effort to create interesting and well-presented tag index pages. Doing this has two benefits:
1. A visitor is more likely to make use of it and explore the site further.
2. It increases the chance that someone will link to one of your tag index pages. So here you have the chance for a search engine to see a link to a page on your site that it can fairly easily classify, this is believed to be a great way to increase the Page Rank(PR) of that page.
The Future of Tagging
The main search engines are now using Microdata from the HTML 5 standard in the guise of schema.org to add a semantic mark-up to content. As part of this, there will be more opportunities to mark pages, or even individual sections of a page with keywords, which are effectively tags. This will be a huge opportunity to give the search engines more information and hence hopefully increase your page rank.
Watch this space for updates in the Hacks category on Running Wolf’s Rant.