Many People confuse Tags for Categories or a Subject but they are not. There are few things that keep them different from Categories and they make them more useful for SEO purposes than Categories, especially in WordPress. The most important thing related to SEO that makes the real difference is that Tags provide meta-information, Categories need not. Tags content some meta information as well as can be used as a label to filter certain kind of or type of messages or blog posts and put them under one ‘meta keyword’. Categories in WordPress can not do that atleast for the time being there are limitations.
Though there are few advantages related to categories that we can’t enjoy with Tags. Categories organize, hierarchically and Tags can’t. This is not very important for most of the bloggers who don’t need categories below the depth of one level (Most of us don’t in the real world blogging). So Tags are more important from the SEO point of view than Categories in WordPress, but that is may be not true for all other blogging platforms or CMSes that we need to optimize for Search Engines.
There are few good wordpress articles that can help you to understand the Tags better, few of them are listed below:
Tags and Categories at WordPress.com
Categories v/s Tags at WordPress.com Support
The Problems with Tags and Tagging
Tags have many advantages over categories, as they can describe your blog post in more detailed manner than a category ever could. You can have more number of Tags so more ‘keywords’ and the number is not limited so you can have as many Tags as you want. Tag clouds can give a visitor of your blog a visual idea about what is discussed the most in the blog or the blog is about what topic or topics and hence can generate more traffic for you.
SEO for WordPress is a good website that provides information about self hosted wordpress blogs. WordPress has evolved a lot in recent years and no more a simple blogging component for your nanny any more. It is a strong tool that web-masters can use for many purposes including small websites, corporate portals, personal blogs, photo and video galleries, online community forums and many more. And this is more true for the self hosted version of the WordPress blog rather than the free one offered by WordPress.com
There are certain advantages of WordPress self hosted blog like greater control over your permalink structure and hence better quality SEF – Search Engine Friendly URLs compared to the wordpress.com hosted one. And it is not very difficult to manage a small wordpress blog with a .com or .net domain name, a top level .tld, and a small shared hosting account that offers few GB or storage at very cheap rates.
You may also use the upgrade options available with the wordpress.com blogs. Here you can have a custom domain name for just $5 a year and very cheap hosting too. You may also enable custom CSS for the theme you are using to have a nice visual effects. Though it may not affect your Search Engine Ranking a lot but they certainly attract more visitors and probably tempt a random surfer to stay for a minute or two on your blog.
There are few things, like submitting your blog to popular search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing, are very important to any small website owner or webmaster as this is the first step towards making your presence felt to the outer world. Make sure that your Blog, if created through wordpress or any other means, is visible to major search engines. Submitting blog to major search eninges are enough and don’t waste your time on submitting them to small or foreign language search engines unless you are offering proper translated version of your blog.