I think that the difference between categories and tags is almost as confusing as the difference between pages and posts for new bloggers.
Categories are the main sub-divisions of your posts such as on a food blog: breakfast recipes, lunch recipes, and dinner ideas.
The tags would be: Vegetarian, Vegan, Low Calorie, High Cholesterol, Diet, Low Carb etc.
Does this make sense?
So for good SEO, you want to try to minimize the variety of Tags that you use so that your Tag Cloud widget serves a useful purpose in grouping related posts together.
Too many bloggers (and article authors) have insane numbers of tag keywords in my opinion, but if they understood the purpose of tags better, they may do things differently. Hopefully you are one of the enlightened ones?
That is an excellent explanation, thank you!
Life is meant to be experienced, not observed. ~ Me
I don't think that using tags would be a negative unless you go overboard, and many of the tags are only used one time, so you might have many tag pages with only one link to a post. I wouldn't expect tags to add any weight to ranking unless they are regarded as keywords.
If you are going to build a site with 100's of posts, then it makes sense to group the posts by tag as well as category, and archives IMO. This should help the visitor find the posts of most interest to them. Or they could use the search function.
Some people believe that tags add weight to a keyword because all of the post excerpts on a tag page should cover the same topic. The flip side is that tag pages may create more duplicate content issues. The excepts are the same as those found on category pages, but each tag page contains a different mix.
I do not use tags because I did not find them to have any positive effect. Tag pages do occasionally show up in search results, but that is pretty rare. I do flag category pages with a robots noindex meta tag. Most SEO plugins give you the option of flagging tag pages in the same manner to avoid potential duplicate content issues.
Personally, I think the tag concept as implemented in WordPress is sloppy and ill-conceived. It should have been set up like the category feature.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin
Nice explanation. Unfortunately started my personal blog before knowing this stuff and never have gone back and tried o clean it up. Really oughta do that.
-- Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup. --