Do WordPress Tags Help With SEO? 3 Experts Weigh in.

Initially yes, but in the long run, no. These are the immediate answers to the question on whether or not WordPress tags help with SEO.

And in this article, I’ll give you my expert thoughts on this as it’s something I’ve thought about for years and have experience with, as well as cite other, even bigger experts who say the same thing.

So here you will get 3 expert opinions on this subject and they all basically say the same thing. But just so we’re all clear…

What are WordPress tags?

When you have a WP website, and create new pages or posts of content, you have the option to add tags to these things with every new article you create. Specifically these are “keyword tags”.

Here is an example:

do wordpress tags help with seo

Why is this even considered important for SEO?

The implication is that by filling these tags in with keywords for which you wish Google to rank you for, that it will actually do that and as a result you can just write up a plethora of keywords you wish to get rankings for, and it’ll be done.

There is this belief that once you publish a new page or post with content on WP, that when Google comes in, it not only looks at your content, your title and the keyword in it, but the keyword tags you included in the above image and based on what keywords you added there, it will rank you it.

This a nice thing to believe…

But is this really true? Let me explain why the answer is not really…

Allow me to be the 1st of the 3 SEO experts to explain why I personally don’t even use these things on my websites and yet I get high rankings with my targeted keywords most of the time. Now while you can USE them, do not overrate their importance, because in the end, they really aren’t that big of a deal to use.

Let me give you proof by showcasing one of my websites where the keywords it targets are listed in the title of the article and there is a lot of content for the said article, but there are NO tags associated with it, and yet it still does fine with the organic search results (SEO):

how to rank high on google

And if you think I’m lying about me not using any tags for the said keywords, let me show you screenshots of the actual area inside the WordPress site in question, the articles associated with the image above, and the fact that none of them use these:

seo tags

If the rule about tags and SEO would apply, why are these articles I wrote getting such high rankings regardless? Clearly something is amiss…

Now one could argue that if I used tags with the said posts, that I’d get more traffic, but the truth is that in the end, you cannot tell Google, through THIS method at least, what to rank you for, it decides. All you can do is list the keyword in your title, try to write the best content possible and then hope for the best with them, that’s really the MAIN point here…

Now I know this doesn’t exactly sound like something an SEO expert would say and that there’s got to be a way to rank #1, all the time for any keyword you want, that’s the hope people have, but it’s not the right mindset. The SEO game does not work like this.

There’s one main reason for this:

Google’s ranking algorithm is far more advanced than you think.

It determines the BEST results (keyword searches) to rank your site for BASED on the title and CONTENT of the article (the most important metadata), and since the topic of this article is regarding tags, they really have very little to NOTHING to do in this whole ranking process.

If they did, people would just be writing the most competitive, highly searched keywords they could think about in the tags section and getting rankings for that, but you don’t determine that, Google does and it bases it on other parameters (content and keywords in the title mainly).

It’s like telling Google you “deserve” to get ranked for certain keywords, but then Google checks out your material (content) and determines you’re not worthy of that. If you are, you will need to show them that through your content and the keyword you’re targeting in the title.

Understand this and your SEO game will elevate…

Getting feedback from expert #2 on the subject:

There was a period when I used to think about this very same subject and be paranoid about it, so I reached out to an expert in this field, very recently actually, who happens to be one of the guys who taught me much of what I am sharing with you in this article today (and this website).

His name is Kyle and he has made millions from doing SEO.

Here was his response:

Now even though I consider myself an expert, I am very fortunate to have people like this, who know more than I do, steer me in the right path.

His answer pretty much solidified theory I had about this subject.

Now you may note that he said he still uses them on his site, but admits they mean very little so this goes back to the first answer I gave when I started this article, on how all this stuff has little to no effect on SEO, but you’re still welcome to use it.

Let’s see how the last expert (#3) sees this subject:

The last expert in this article who I am using to add credibility to my position is also VERY successful at the game of SEO. He does local marketing projects for clients.

In fact, I have used his techniques to help my clients as well. Here is a local case study I literally just wrote on a few days ago.

In addition he also works with Kyle (expert #2) in the same organization that ALL of us are a part of and in that organization, he provides lessons on SEO to the community. I have learned much from this guy too, his name is Jay Niell. 

But now that we got his resume out of the way, let me explain a few things about him and this subject:

Now I have to say that I’ve never actually seen Jay’s specific position and statement on tags being used in WordPress sites, BUT I have gone through several of his SEO tutorials and seen his site personally and the clues in those areas show me what his position on this subject is:

First of all, Jay runs a website which I look at sometimes and I have never seen him use those things in his articles. This is clue #1.

Clue #2 is that in the SEO tutorials Jay provides, especially the ones where he provides a list of things necessary to rank high in Google, tags are NEVER mentioned (here is a good list that both he and I use on our sites). 

It is because of these 2 things that I believe Jay’s position on this subject is at the very least like mine and/or like Kyle’s and being that we all come from the same SEO training background, this is also another reason to assume what we do. But if he comes to this site and comments on it himself, that will really solidify that 🙂

Conclusions:

I am absolutely certain that you are going to find SEO people who will claim that our positions are wrong and that we should be doing the opposite in this case.

But considering that all 3 of us make good money from SEO, we probably are doing something right and the last thing we’d want to do in this case is leave money on the table, so if there was a truly good reason to use tags on your WordPress site, believe me, we would be doing it.

  • But I’ve personally shown you my results from NOT using them.
  • I’ve explained Kyle’s position who earns millions from his SEO work.
  • And I’ve also shown you the results and training tutorials of another SEO expert I talk to.

We all say the same thing basically. But even in spite of all of this, you are still paranoid about not using these things, just do it, they will not negatively impact your SEO results anyway, just don’t prioritize them, focus on the main SEO parameters I listed.

4 thoughts on “Do WordPress Tags Help With SEO? 3 Experts Weigh in.”

  1. Hi Vitaliy,

    I personally use low hanging fruit keywords in tags, just out of habit (and just like what Kyle mentioned in his reply to you). Although I don’t really give priority in putting tags, I have several articles that rank position 1 in Google, just because of the tag. The positions will sometimes Google dance to and from from position 1 to 2, but the good rankings are never gone.

    I know that quality content is of course the top criteria for ranking, but it doesn’t hurt my site either even if all my articles have tags in them.

    I am just “scared” to remove some of the tags, just to experiment about the ranking, especially that I worked so hard writing my content and keeping my high rankings exactly were they are.

    Thanks for sharing this. I learned a lot. I might have the guts to experiment on not using tags anymore, but probably just in a brand new site. 

    Regards,

    Pitin

    Reply
    • Hi Pitin, keep your current tags on the published pages and posts. As for new ones, I am sure you can risk not using the tags and you will still get the same ranking. The ones you mentioned that are ranking high are not due to the tags but the title and meta description more so.

      Reply
  2. Hello again Vitaliy,

    Good read. I originally used Tags way back in the first few months of my first site and I did get to the point where I was ranking under certain tags. A few months later I decided to get rid of all my tags on my site because one of the WA experts recommended it. 

    I really didn’t know why but I went ahead and got rid of all them. And nothing bad happened. Now I see them as a double up to categories and am starting to get confident I made the right choice. 

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Remy, the truth is, whether or not you left those tags up or took them down, it would not change how Google would view your site and what it would rank the pages in question for. In spite of what you said about your site ranking for the same tags you listed, I’d bet that even if you didn’t have them up, they’d still rank for the same terms, including additional LSI keywords which you would be able to view from places like Google Webmaster Tools.

      Reply

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