How do tags work?

This is perhaps the question we are most frequently asked. Tags might seem complicated or intimidating, but we assure you they are in fact very simple and easy to use!

What exactly are tags, anyway?

Tags are nothing more than keywords that describe the content of a blog post or set of images. Think of them like categories. They really are that simple!

For example, if you wrote a post about a winter wedding you shot in Central Park, your tags might be:

Note that you don’t need to include word variations (“photos, photography, photography”) or combinations (“winter wedding photography”). Using the root word (or a single variation of it) is sufficient.

What are tags used for?

Tags help visitors navigate your blog. When you tag posts with the same keyword (ex “winter”) you are indicating that those posts are somehow related. Visitors to your blog can use these tag connections to browse through all your posts relating to that keyword.

For example, if someone comes to your blog and is interested in your winter photography, they can easily browse all the posts you’ve tagged with “winter.”

Are tags important for SEO?

In short, no.

A common myth is that tags are important for SEO, but this isn’t really the case. Most search engines (including Google) completely ignore the “keywords” meta tag because it is so easy to abuse. Search engines are extremely sophisticated (and always improving) — so unfortunately tagging isn’t a magic bullet to improve SEO.

In fact over-using tags (“keyword stuffing”) is frowned upon by search engines, and can even get your site blocked. Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of using a large number of similar keywords within a piece of content, and is generally considered spammy (which is why search engines block people who do this).

An example of keyword stuffing might be: _”New York wedding photography, New York wedding photographer, New York wedding photos, wedding photographer in New York, wedding photos in New York” — you get the idea. Clearly, these are all just combinations of the same key ideas.

A better set of tags would be simply: “New York, weddings, photography” This is considered less spammy by search engines AND is easier for your visitors to use.

Again, the primary use of tags is to help visitors browse topics on your blog — you should keep this in mind when tagging your posts, rather than trying to manipulate search engines.

Tips for Tagging

Some good candidates for tags include: location (city, buildings, venues), style (retro, pinup, black & white), or photo category (landscape, weddings, sports, etc).

There are lots of other possible topics & tags, like “gear”, “lenses”, or “reviews” if you were writing a review of some new equipment. Or even “news” you were simply posting an update on your life or business.

Still have questions?

Send an email to hello@myfotojournal.com — we’ll be happy to help!


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