OMG, I’ve been doing SEO all wrong!

Talking about bloggingI’ve been very busy lately doing lots of research for my next Lunchtime Learning video all about search engine optimisation (SEO) so I can give you top-notch information on that subject. Such a fascinating subject, especially since it has changed so drastically since last year.

But lo and behold, I’ve just found out I’ve been doing it all wrong over these past years! Why – what have I done?

I’ve always been a good girl and have been adding lots of my tags to my posts, carefully selecting them from the content so that they are relevant. I thought I was doing a good thing regarding SEO as surely the search engines would pick on on at least some of these tags to index my post.

But – overstuffing yourself with good things (like chocolate cake) will only make you sick. The old adage “Too many cooks spoil the broth” comes to mind, as putting all the herbs and spices from your kitchen into your soup will probably make it taste revolting and nobody will want to eat it.

Just like the over-saturation of keywords in blog posts pre-2013, which made them totally unreadable and frankly ridiculous, over-saturation of tags will do the same thing. The poor old spiders, when confronted with all these tags, get totally confused and their response would be to not index anything at all because they don’t know which one is the most important.

Would you like to know how many tags I have collected in this blog since I started it? 1,467! Yes, that many! No wonder the poor spiders were running away as fast as their virtual legs would take them.

This requires some serious measures to rectify the situation. There is a lot of tags to go through, but I need to sort out which ones are the most relevant to what I write about, and then use them more frequently. The more I use them, the more they become attractive to search engines to ultimately optimise my blog posts.

So, the answer is, once you’ve worked out the best keyword for your post, select up to four sub-keywords which will become the post’s tags. If they have been already used in previous posts, so much the better. They will need to be added to your post in the tag menu purely to supplement and lend weight to the primary keyword, and also in whatever SEO plugin you have chosen.

You don’t need to choose the same five for every post, but a healthy select few that are totally relevant will be helpful. That’s why it’s worth pre-planning your posts beforehand, or at least being clear on the subject matter or the readership you’re aiming at.


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Alice Elliott has been explaining blogging to beginner bloggers for almost two decades, specialising in using ordinary, everyday language to make the process as simple as possible so that anybody can understand.
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  • Sarah Arrow says:

    I’ve always hated tags with a passion. There’s nothing worse than tag-surfing in my opinion, or a 500 word post with 150 tags after it. But some bloggers love them. I decided recently to use them more, but after a week I gave up again; I still hate them.

    • Alice says:

      Hi Sarah, as soon as I found out exactly what tags were I have been using them with a vengeance, hence why I’ve ended up in this mess!

  • Well, I may have inadvertently done myself a favour there as I’ve always used tags quite minimally (and felt bad about it). Now I can hold my head up high and act like I knew all along (ha, ha)! Thanks for yet another great tip.

  • Hi Alice! I have nominated you for “The Very Inspiring Blog Award”! Read this post for more information about what you have to do to accept it! http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award-links-to-sites-for-freelancers-writers-and-poets/

  • I have had a blog for over a year and SEO is probably the toughest thing I have been trying to figure out. Thanks so much for the article. It really gives me something to think about.

  • Are WordPress ‘tags’ the same as Blogger ‘labels’? Or something else entirely different?

    • Alice says:

      Hi Vanessa, yes, WordPress tags are the same as Blogger labels, except that labels also encompass WordPress categories as well. Tags translate as keywords and categories as subjects or topics, suitable for archiving your posts. I’m not sure how by combining the two together as Blogger does will be as affective.

  • Thank you for sharing about SEO. One of my weekly blog goals is to learn a bit more about SEO. I’ve usually included a tag or two for each post and often are the same from post to post. Glad to know this is actually been a positive.

    • Alice says:

      It seems your sensible attitude towards tags has held you in good stead anyway, or perhaps the search engines have finally made this so.

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