What are Tags in WordPress and How to Use them

Beginners are often confused by tags in WordPress and how to use them. WordPress tags are a frequently misunderstood and misused feature.

In this guide, we will explain tags in WordPress. We will also explain how to create, add, edit, and delete them. Moreover, we will provide some best practice tips for using tags as intended.

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What are tags in WordPress, and how to use them?

Tags in WordPress are one of the two default WordPress taxonomies, with the other being categories. A taxonomy is a system of classification that allows for the grouping of items by their characteristics through the use of terms.

WordPress tags provide additional topic-specific grouping between posts where WordPress categories fall short.

WordPress categories allow you to group and sort a broad range of related topics into different sections.

To learn more about categories and tags in WordPress we recommend: WordPress Categories vs Tags: What’s the Difference?

WordPress tags provide you with additional grouping and relationship opportunities by allowing keywords to be attached to posts. WordPress posts can have multiple tags that act as keywords for cross-referencing similar content. They help with describing more specific details about the content in a post.

Unlike categories, tags have no hierarchy, meaning they have no parent-child relationships. Tags are also optional and not required, unlike WordPress categories.

WordPress tags also help users find topics of interest easier. When a user clicks on a WordPress tag, an archive page is displayed. The tag archive page shows all posts containing the tag clicked.

Tags are typically displayed at the bottom of a WordPress post and can also be displayed in a sidebar or widget area using a WordPress widget.

Now that you know what tags in WordPress are and how to use them. Let’s take a look at how to create them.

How to Create Tags in WordPress

In this section, you will learn how to create tags in WordPress from the Posts Tags Screen and how to create tags in WordPress from within a post.

Create Tags in WordPress using the Posts Tags Screen

This option is best for creating your website’s tags before you start publishing posts.

Step 1. Navigate to the Posts > Tags Screen

On the left side of the WordPress admin area, hover over Posts, then click on Tags. Alternatively, you can click on Posts, then click on Tags.

WordPress Posts Tags Menu

Doing so will open the tag administration page.

WordPress Posts Tags Screen

Step 2. Complete each Field under Add New Tag

Complete each of the following fields.

  • Name: Provide a unique and descriptive tag name.
  • Slug: This is the URL of the tag. You can leave this blank and let WordPress create one or enter your own. The slug should always be lowercase with dashes to separate words. In the example below, monster-books is the slug. Example: https://demo.com/tag/monster-books/
  • Description: Enter a meaningful description for your tag or leave it blank.
WordPress add new tag form

Step 3. Click the Add New Tag button

Once you have filled in each field, simply click the Add New Tag buttonDoing so will create and add the tag to your site, making it available within posts, menus, and the tag could widget.

WordPress new tag added

That’s it! You now know how to add tags in WordPress from the Posts Tags Screen.

Create Tags in WordPress from within a Post

This option is for when you want to create a tag while writing a post.

Step 1. Navigate to the Posts Admin area.

On the left side of the WordPress admin area, click on Posts.

Doing so will open the Posts administration page that contains all your drafts and published posts.

WordPress Posts Admin Screen

Now find the post you want to create a tag for and click the Edit link.

Edit a WordPress post

Step 2. Click the Tags Dropdown

On the right side of the post, look for the tags dropdown and click on it. Doing so will reveal the tags that you already have attached to the post, along with an option to add a new tag.

WordPress Post Add New Tag

Step 3. Enter a Tag Name and Hit Enter on your Keyboard

Now enter the tag name you want to be attached to the post and hit the enter button on your keyboard.

WordPress Post Tag Created

That’s it! You now know how to create a tag from within a post.

How to Add Tags in WordPress to a Post

So just like the previous section, you will need to navigate to the Posts admin area, then click edit on the post you want to add a tag.

Now click the tags dropdown.

In the Add New Tag field, type in the tag you want to add.

If the tag exists, it will be displayed. Once you see the tag show up, click on it.

WordPress Post Add Tag

If the tag does not exist, a new tag will be created.

Unfortunately, the tags section does not show all the available tags like the Categories menu. If you can’t remember what tags you’ve created, navigate to the Posts > Tags admin area to review them.

How to Edit Tags in WordPress

First, navigate to the Posts > Tags admin area.

Then, locate the tag you want to edit and hover over it with your mouse.

Doing so will reveal a few different links.

Click on the Edit link.

WordPress Tags Edit Tag link

This will take you to the Edit Tag screen.

Now make your desired changes.

Finally, when your changes are complete, click on the Update button.

WordPress Edit Tag Screen

That’s all there is to it. You now know how to edit tags in WordPress.

How to Delete Tags in WordPress

First, navigate to the Posts > Tags admin area.

Then, locate the tag you want to delete and hover over it with your mouse.

Doing so will reveal a few different links. Click on the red Delete link.

WordPress Tags Delete Tag link

You will then see a confirmation prompt asking you to confirm the deletion.

WordPress Tags Delete Tag Confirmation Prompt

Finally, click on OK to continue the deletion process. You will then see the tag flash red and disappear.

Easy peasy! You now know how to delete a WordPress tag.

How to Add WordPress Tags to a Sidebar

For this part of the guide, we will be adding the WordPress Tag Cloud widget to the sidebar from the Appearance Widgets screen.

So navigate to Appearance > Widgets in your WordPress admin area. Then click the arrow located to the right of the sidebar widget to expand the widget area.

WordPress widget area sidebar expanded

Now click the Add block icon (the plus sign), which will show the block editor menu.

WordPress add widget block icon

From here, you can either search for the Tag Cloud Widget by name using the search box. Or, you can click the Browse all button, which will reveal all available widgets and blocks that you can add to your widget area, then locate the tag cloud widget.

Alternatively, you can simply click the Add block icon next to Widgets in the upper left corner.

WordPress Widgets Add block icon

Once you locate the Tag Cloud widget, click on it. Doing so will add it to the sidebar. It is also possible to drag and drop widgets into position.

WordPress Tag Cloud Widget

To move the widget to a different location within the widget area, use the arrow icons on the toolbar.

Use toolbar arrows to move WordPress widgets

Once you have the Tag Cloud widget in your desired location, you can use the block settings to the right to customize it.

WordPress Tag Cloud Widget Settings

If you don’t see the block settings click the gear icon towards the top right. Once you have finished, click the Update button.

WordPress Widget Update and Settings

Then head over to the front of your website and see how it looks.

That’s it! You now know how to add WordPress Tags to a sidebar using the WordPress Tag Cloud widget.

For further reading, we recommend: How to Add Widgets in WordPress

Tips for using Tags in WordPress

Here are some best practice tips for using tags in WordPress to help you make the most out of them.

Be Careful with Tag Naming

Be mindful of your tag naming. It’s easy to get carried away with naming tags, but you will need to be extra careful not to create duplicate content.

For example, let us say that you have created a tag named Yellow cars. Then, later on, you create another tag named Yellow Cars. And another tag named yellow cars.

The problem with the above example is that WordPress sees Yellow Cars, Yellow cars, and yellow cars as the same. WordPress will create three different archive pages for each of the tags.

Additionally, you will need to watch out for plural and singular names.

For example, Yellow Cars and Yellow Car?

So be aware of this problem and select either based on your needs.

Do your best to use clear and descriptive tag names. Tags should be short and no more than three words.

Avoid Over and Underused Tags

Tags can be overused and underused. If a tag is used only a handful of times throughout the life of your site, then it’s not worth having. However, using a tag on every single post is a mistake. A tag like this is too general and offers no real value to your site.

Avoid Duplicating Tags

Avoid duplicating your categories and tags. Remember that categories are for a broad range of topics. Tags are for more topic-specific targeting. Don’t create categories and tags that both share the same name, which will confuse readers.

How many Tags Should you Use?

You may find yourself asking how many tags should I use on WordPress posts. We recommend anywhere between 1 and 10 as long as they are relevant to the post content and represent important details.

Tag SEO Best Practices

Although tags in WordPress are beneficial to your users, they are not necessarily good for SEO (search engine optimization). WordPress creates an archive page for each tag used that lists all posts using that tag. This causes a duplication issue in search engines, which will hurt your organic traffic. To fix this issue, your archive pages will need to use the noindex meta tag to request that search engines avoid indexing.

So if you are using a WordPress SEO plugin, you will want to turn indexing off for tags.

Wrapping it Up!

Using tags on your site is completely optional. But if you choose to use them, it’s worth taking some time to develop a plan to use them as intended.

Properly used WordPress tags can be beneficial to your site by helping readers navigate and find the content they are looking for on your website. They can also help you build authority on topics you discuss.

Tags used incorrectly can have a negative effect on your website by impeding navigation ease and user engagement.

We hope this guide has helped you understand what tags are in WordPress are and how to use them.

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Editorial Team

The Editorial Team at TarttWeb is a group of passionate people that love to help others, led by Jeff Tartt.

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