For journalists, editors, and other media professionals creating content, tagging and using specific tags—e.g., single words or phrases like “analytics,” “case study,” and “AI-assisted”—is an essential aspect of organizing and categorizing articles, blog posts, and website pages.
Done well, tagging allows content creators to report on content performance, create personalized content experiences, optimize campaign performance and search engine rankings, and increase user engagement.
How content tagging works
Most, if not all, content management systems (CMSes) such as WordPress VIP have features that allow users to add tags to the content they produce, e.g., “case study” for a profile blog about a customer who uses an organization’s products.
With tags in place, content authors can use content analytics programs like Parse.ly (integrated with the WordPress VIP platform), Google Analytics, and others to analyze the performance of various content topics, types, and formats.
By tracking metrics associated with specific tags, content creators can identify which content resonates best with their audience and improve their content strategy accordingly, including providing personalized content to readers, based on their interests.
How an organization structures its tags is referred to as a tagging taxonomy, a hierarchical categorization system ensuring consistency and facilitating efficient retrieval of data.
Types of content tags
Content tags are the labels—for example, “content analytics,” “AI-assisted,” “CMS,” “editor: abutler,” and “technical buyer”—that are assigned to website pages or blog posts to categorize and organize them.
Different types of content tags serve different purposes. Here are four popular ones writers and authors might typically use:
Subject matter and topic tags
Subject matter and topic tags help categorize content by its main theme or topic. For instance, an article about content analytics might include tags like “engaged time,” “pageviews,” “recirculation rate,” and a more general “metrics.”
Parse.ly’s Smart Tags do subject matter tagging for you. Using machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), this feature scans pages and posts to determine relevant topics and assigns tags automatically, saving editorial teams time. Smart Tags can supplement existing tags or do the work for you if you’re not tagging your content already.
Author and editor tags
Author and editor tags help track and categorize writers, such as staffers or freelancers, using parent/child category naming conventions, e.g., “editor: gogarrio” or “author: abutler.” This assists in evaluating writer performance, identifying content trends, and informing topic decisions.
Structural and format tags
Structural tags describe the type of content, such as “feature stories,” “infographics,” “videos,” “ebooks,” and “case studies” that an audience might want to reference.
Other tag types
- Audience tags: These tags define the target audience or demographic for the content. Tags like “beginners,” “experts,” “parents,” or “marketers” can help personalize the content experience for different user segments.
- Geographic tags: These tags specify the geographical location or relevance of the content. For instance, a travel blog may use tags like “Europe,” “Asia,” or “beach destinations” to indicate the location-related aspects of their articles.
- Campaign tags: These tags track content associated with specific marketing campaigns or promotions, e.g., “Marketing Brew sponsorship.” They help analyze the effectiveness of different initiatives by grouping content under campaign-specific tags.
- Persona tags: Similar to audience tags, these tags relate to specific user personas or customer segments. They help align content with the interests and needs of different target audiences, such as “technical buyers,” “C-Suite,” or “content marketers.”
A note on tagging and SEO
While tags were once considered essential for search engine optimization (SEO), their importance has diminished over time. Tags are now primarily beneficial for internal content reporting and content management rather than SEO purposes.
Instead, search engines now focus more on the overall quality and relevance of the content.
Tag groups: how tags work together
Tag groups are groups of related tags bundled under a broader umbrella label. They give publishers an even clearer way to see what content contributes to a tag’s traffic, what tags get used widely, and which tags frequently appear together, providing insight into narratives and themes that might otherwise be missed.
By analyzing the performance of tag groups, publishers can also gain insights into audience preferences, engagement levels, and content effectiveness.
Here’s an example of a tag group related to content analytics:
Tag Group: Content Analytics
- Engaged time
- Historical trend analysis
- Recirculation rate
In this example, the tag group “Content Analytics” contains related tags that represent individual metrics associated with the overall topic. Each individual tag can be associated with specific metrics, allowing users to filter and find metrics based on their preferences.
Four tips for effective content tagging
1. Be consistent: Consistency in tagging is crucial for an efficient content organization. Stick to a specific naming convention and tag structure to ensure content is easily discoverable and searchable.
2. Use descriptive tags: Choose tags that accurately describe the content and its key themes. Descriptive tags help search engines and users find your content more easily.
3. Limit tag use: Avoid using too many tags, as this can dilute the effectiveness of your tagging strategy. Focus on selecting the most relevant tags for each piece of content.
4. Monitor and analyze tag performance: Regularly review your tag usage and performance to determine their effectiveness. Adjust your tagging strategy based on this analysis to optimize your editorial or content marketing efforts.