By Jesse Petersen
One of the things that makes blogs and sites created on blog platforms so powerful is the ability to get your content and products indexed by search engines very quickly, and often highly ranking. Few things will help your business or site more than getting repeat traffic from people using search engines to look for exactly what you offer.
But the old way of adding a bunch of hidden (or not) keywords all over (or in a big body at the end) of your pages to get the highest ranking from a search engine no longer works. In fact, that can blow any chance of your page or site getting ranked at all.
Search engines like Google are constantly improving their algorithms to ignore and demote blatant attempts to overshadow other sites. And as a result, a new breed of search engine optimization (SEO) has been born: tags.
Tags are essentially keywords for each page/article you create. Tags are intended to be words or very short two or three word phrases. Adding tags that accurately represent a post or page will increase the chance that it will get its due traffic.
Tags are purposefully sought out and indexed by search engines and other Web 2.0 sites, such as Technorati.com, who gather these terms and often sort them by date rather than popularity. Google, however, concentrates on sorting relevance and popularity.
With tags, it is possible to get instant traffic for a blog or blog-based site for an empty niche on the Internet or by creating new content for a popular topics, so it’s important to use them appropriately and effectively.
If you recognize a void of a particular piece or set of information, you could become #1 in the search engines by publishing a post with carefully-selected tags. And if you already have an established site, implementing tags on your most unique or powerful articles will enhance your site’s visibility.
Harnessing the power of tags
I have two proofs of the success of harnessing the power of tags to improve site traffic:
First up is from my personal blog, which I purposefully targeted the most popular Google trend of the hour one morning. I wrote a post, linked a video, and used appropriate keywords for my subject.
That day, my traffic was triple that of the day before and the hit trail continues today. Keep in mind, this was THE most popular topic of the day on July 8th, but it managed to get an immense amount of traffic despite the competition:
To this day, my two most popular posts happen to be the first ones on the subject that Google mapped and I’ve used this technique to successfully build a string of “flagship” content on various sites, including untapped topics.
The second proof of the effectiveness of tags is based on my brand new site.
Despite the whole Internet being stacked against a new site, using tags has the ability to “level the playing field,” so to say. We had essentially zero traffic because we only had 35 articles on a very narrow subject.
With only a few days of being indexed by Google, these searches were already getting ranked high enough to get traffic. As clearly indicated by the landing page, this was because of the tag associated with the search query:
To be sure your site is indexed to begin with, be sure you don’t miss the best Google tool available: Google XML Generator.
Tags and WordPress
Thankfully, WordPress 2.4 began incorporating full tag support as a much-anticipated built-in feature. Because of this update, it is no longer necessary to use plugins to achieve better search engine results.
Keep in mind it doesn’t hurt to double up and use the All in One SEO Pack plugin because it updates your titles, too. I use it along with filling in the tags field with every article I write. There are also plugins and widgets that display tags in either cloud form or pull-down lists; however, those will likely become overwhelmingly long before long, especially if your site covers a wide array of interests.
As you would expect, iThemes’ premium themes are optimized for harnessing tags, categories, and page titles for the absolute best search engine results.
Check out more site tweaks and tips found here: 7 STEPS TO OPTIMIZING WORDPRESS.