Using Tags in Digital Content

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With the continued expansion of digital publishing, it is of the utmost importance to be proactive with online content.

Tags are used as a navigation tool to locate and specify content on a website. For example, a specific word such as “kayak” can be used to shortcut or direct a person’s web search toward a focused group of websites. To optimize a website’s visibility and enable traffic growth on a larger scale, its best to use SEO (search engine optimization)  tags. Using the example, “kayak”, the SEO tag would return to a website where the content surrounds watercraft and outdoor activities.

According to (Links to an external site.), “digital publishing revenue grew to nearly 18 billion U.S. dollars in the United States in 2018.” Could the use of tags have played a part behind this exponential growth?

Digital publishing continues to expand across many platforms. Implementing the use of tags helps to compact and organize information on a more manageable level.

Creating Tags

Google Tag Manager  (GTM) is a tool that enables users to manage and create personalized marketing tags for their websites. Digital publishers can use this tool to customize the analytic data they are producing and gain more traffic for their website. Depending on how many tags are used, websites will also load faster and track scrolling from the audience.

One of the major benefits of GTM is that it frees users of the complications of setting up the technical sides of their websites. Its user-friendly interface can be attributed for this. Digital publishers using GTM can create marketing content through tagging without having to get involved with the source code of their websites.

These tags are crucial for companies using digital publishing because they help search engines identify content specific to the companies’ web pages. Keeping tags short and relevant will also distinguish them among repetitive titles. Identifying and creating the right tags will increase the probability for people searching for a topic to be directed to the tagged and targeted article.

Categories vs. Tags

Categories group content and are primarily used in blog posts. They enable authors to neatly organize their posts while maintaining a professional look for their websites. Pete McPherson at Do You Even Blog explains the importance that SEO categories play in site structure and suggests that users, “[o]ptimize the category titles and descriptions” in order that their sites efficiently show up in search engines.

However, McPherson warns against using duplicate tags in individual posts, saying , “Under no circumstances should you have duplicate category names, OR have the same category and tag names for any piece of content.” These duplications confuse search engines on which tags need to be prioritized, thus minimizing the meaning of website’s intended information.

One of the biggest differences between categories and tags is how they are used. Categories are used as a generalization of the information provided, while tags are used to indicate the individual subject matter of a post.

Food bloggers may have categories relating to meal prep and recipes. The author would then use tags to specify food resources and ingredients. Using these distinct tags creates pertinent information that sets this data apart from other digital media.

Content Relevancy

Keeping tags relevant to the content will strengthen articles. However, overusing tags can diminish their value. With so much information being uploaded regularly, tags create relevant searches and alert these search engines to provide concise and valuable recommendations to readers.

The New York Times  uses tags to provide related content for their news readers. The Times’ Open Team  works to collect data on a more efficient level and build digital products for the company. Their goal is to promote website growth from an organic reach across multiple online platforms. Tags serve as the building blocks behind many of the teams’ digital inventions.

According to the Times’ Open Team :

“We built our own tag management system because we needed to have easy access to our back-end data — data regarding website visitors and data from our content management system — and there weren’t any commercially available systems that provided that level of access.”

In 2015, The Times’ Research & Development group created the prototype called Editor , which would automatically tag relevant content in future news articles. The R&D group describes Editor as an “editing interface that explores how collaboration between machine learning systems and journalists could afford fine-grained annotation and tagging of news articles.” By using tags, this prototype allowed the Times to publish and communicate online content across multiple.

Audience Engagement

Distinguishing content from the plethora of internet data proves to be a difficult task for readers and content creators alike. Thus, taking one step further to categorize digital media using tags ensures individuality and guaranteed website tracking. Tagging is not only beneficial to news platforms and online blogs, but also to social media users. These users have integrated the use of hashtags to better market their content.

Lauren Aston  encouraged her readers to “[t]hink outside of the box and do your research to find the best and more appropriate tags for your posts.” Putting more thought and research into tags will ensure a user’s posts are seen and more likely to reach their intended audiences. By using these tactics, these tags will also bring higher engagement levels.

However, content creators must avoid haphazardly using tags. On Instagram, there is a rumored shadow ban  for those who overuse hashtags. Their posts are removed from search engines and hidden from fellow users to weed out spam profiles.

Stronger Strategy

While adding new tags with every post may be tempting, using existing tags will eliminate excessive variations and links and will organize content in a more productive way. This method essentially groups content together, making it easier to find and evaluate. The more traffic these existing tags bring to a website, the more they will increase the relevance of the published content.

The Yoast  blog says the following:

Structuring your website is crucial for both its usability and findability. Many sites lack a sound structure to guide visitors to the information they’re looking for. Having a clear site structure also leads to a better understanding of your site by Google, so it’s incredibly important for your SEO.

Tags are keywords that tidy up websites and make content easier to find. They make up the taxonomy of most web pages and boost users ahead of competitors, while adding value to their digital media. Tags cut across various categories and keep audiences engaged and on the websites longer.

Using tags consistently will enhance website performance. It displays publisher’s content at a higher rank within search engines, optimizing the opportunity for revenues from digital platforms