WordPress Categories vs. Tags on laptop on bed with matcha drink.

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WordPress Categories vs. Tags – What’s the Difference?

You all know I am a huge cheerleader for creating quality website content to drive organic traffic to your site! 

But navigating the world of WordPress means more than just crafting engaging content. It’s about smart organization, too! 

Over time, your content library will grow into an amazing resource for site visitors and potential clients. But after a while, all those posts can get unwieldy without a little housekeeping. 

Enter WordPress categories and tags. They help you organize your content – but it’s about more than keeping things tidy! It’s about creating a binge-worthy experience for your audience and an easy-to-follow content system for SEO. 

Pull up a chair and grab a warm drink – in this post, we’re spilling the tea on how to use WordPress categories vs. tags for an SEO-boost and user-friendly site.


What’s the difference between blog categories vs tags?


Ultimately, categories and tags are both part of something called WordPress taxonomies. Taxonomies are used to group your posts so users and search engines can find their way around your site more easily. However, they work a little differently.

Just like the chapters of a book can help you understand its structure, WordPress categories organize your content into broad topics. Basically, they’re your blog’s table of contents! With just one click, people can get to a whole stack of posts you’ve written on the same topic.

On the flip side, tags are more like the detailed index at the back of the book. They highlight more specific and niche topics covered in each post. 


How WordPress categories work


Categories are big themes or topics that your blogs might fall under. If you’ve ever heard of sorting your content into “buckets,” it’s the same idea! 

Categories should encompass a handful of main content topics that are covered in your blog. Five categories is a great number to start with. That gives you a solid foundation for building content, with plenty of room to grow as you develop your content to meet site visitors’ needs over time.

Categories are usually displayed at the top of your blog homepage, like this. 


Image Of Interior Design Blog With Wordpress Categories.


Here’s how to make categories work for you:

  • Choose category titles of one to two words
  • Assign each post to ONE category
  • Always give a post a category


Pro Tip! If a blog doesn’t fit into a category, then you have two options. If it’s the first post on a new topic that you’re planning to cover in-depth, create a new category. If it’s not, reconsider posting it. Remember, categories represent the types of topics you’ve targeted as useful for your audience! If what you’ve written doesn’t fit into a category, it might not be valuable to your audience.


How WordPress tags work


While categories sort your blogs into major themes, tags dive deeper into the details. They give a granular look into the specific content within each post. And – bonus! – they connect related content in a way that’s meaningful and searchable.


 Tips for tagging:

  • Keep it short, sweet, and keyword-focused
  • Highlight recurring themes or concepts
  • Use 10 or fewer per post 


Pro Tip! Tags used to be displayed on your website, usually underneath a blog post. These days, you might not see them on websites as often…but Google sees them, and it can help boost your SEO.


Examples of categories vs tags in WordPress

To help you visualize how it works, let’s talk about a few examples of categories and tags.


Post title: “10 Must-Visit Destinations in Italy”

Category: Travel Guides

Tags: Italy, Europe, Destinations, Tuscany, Rome


Post title: “The Ultimate Guide to Minimalist Living Rooms”

Category: Home Decor

Tags: Minimalism, living room, design tips


Post title: “5 Packing Tips for Disney World in Winter”

Category: Disney World

Tags: packing tips, winter, family travel


Adding categories and tags in WordPress

You can add categories and tags directly in the post editor in WordPress when you’re creating or editing new posts.

If you’ve already created content for your blog and haven’t been using categories and tags, you can always go back and add them now!

Within the post editor, look for the “Categories” and “Tags” sections on the right-hand side under “Post Settings.”

Pro Tip! Can’t find it? You can also find it by navigating to Posts → Categories or Posts → Tags in your WordPress dashboard to edit or add new categories and tags.

That’s the difference between WordPress categories vs. tags!

Making the most of both – and using them correctly – is like giving website visitors a roadmap and compass to lead them to more of the content they want to read. By understanding the difference between categories vs. tags in WordPress, you’ll create a user-friendly, SEO-optimized blog that both search engines and readers will love. It’s a win-win 🥂


Want to elevate your website’s SEO?

Work with us on an SEO audit to optimize your site for success. We’ll cover all the bases on WordPress categories vs. tags – plus help you check ALL the SEO boxes that will set you up for searchable success.


Book a call now!


Steph O'Keefe, SEO strategist and WordPress designer sitting at desk wearing a white shirt in Raleigh, NC.

I'm Steph!

I'm the Founder and creative Director behind Southern Creative, a.k.a. your SEO strategist and web designer.

My passion is crafting websites rooted in strategy so you can put your focus where your heart is while we launch your dream website that shows up online.