Mastering Categories and Tags in WordPress: The Ultimate Guide

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Categories and tags in WordPress websites are like genres in a library. Without tagging the genres of the books, everything will be kept together, confusing the readers. How does that translate to the website, you ask? Well, the users would spend hours going through the pages searching for their desired one.

That’s why WordPress developers recommend adding categories and tags to the website. That makes it easier for the users to navigate to different sections and find what they are looking for. So they’ll stay on your website longer, potentially giving you some sales conversions.

But sometimes, people are confused between the categories and tags in a WordPress website and don’t know how to use them. That’s what the experts at our WordPress development company aim to clear up with this blog. It highlights what categories and tags are, along with their differences, optimization techniques, and more.

What are Categories?

In WordPress, categories help organize and group your website’s content into different topics or subjects. WordPress offers this taxonomy feature to help you classify and sort your posts into specific sections.

Categories can be created based on the nature of your website and the type of content you publish. For example, if you have a photography website, your categories could include “Landscape,” “Portraits,” “Wildlife,” and “Street Photography.”

By assigning a category to every post, you can ensure the visitors navigate and find the relevant content more easily. When users click on a category link, WordPress displays a page that lists all the posts assigned to that category. That helps them discover related articles (or products and services) or explore specific topics of interest.

Categories can also be hierarchical, allowing you to create subcategories within broader categories. For instance, under the “Recipes” category, you might have subcategories like “Breakfast,” “Lunch,” and “Dinner.”

In addition to enhancing user experience, categories can also improve WordPress SEO. Categories help the search engines to understand the structure of your website. So it can index your posts more effectively.

With WordPress, you’ll have the necessary tools to manage categories. So you can create, edit, or delete them as needed. Moreover, you can assign categories to posts at the time of creating or editing them. Plus, you can display category lists or menus in your website’s navigation or sidebar areas for easy access.

Overall, categories can help you organize and structure your WordPress website. That improves user navigation and enhances search engine visibility.

What are Tags in WordPress?

Tags in WordPress are a feature that allows you to label your website’s content. With tags, you can provide your products, services, and content with descriptive keywords or phrases representing their main topics. Unlike categories, tags don’t have a hierarchical structure. That ensures more flexibility in classification. Think of tags as the specific details of content or a product.

Tags also make it easier for users to discover their desired content. When visitors click on a tag, they are directed to a page displaying all posts associated with that specific tag. That helps users navigate your site and explore topics of interest more efficiently.

Tags also facilitate cross-connection between related posts. When multiple posts share a common tag, WordPress can automatically display related posts at the end of an article. That encourages users to engage further with your content and discover related articles. That improves the session time (or the time a user spends on your website).

From an SEO perspective, tags can be beneficial as well. By choosing relevant and specific tags, you can incorporate keywords aligning with your content and target audience. That helps the search engines understand the focus of your posts. So they will have better visibility in search results.

Managing tags in WordPress is straightforward. You can create, edit, and delete tags as needed when creating or editing a particular content or post. You can also display tag clouds or lists on your website, providing users with an alternative way to explore content based on specific tags.

Overall, tags in WordPress offer flexibility in organizing and labeling your content. That enhances user navigation and content discovery. They also contribute to your website’s SEO efforts by incorporating relevant keywords and facilitating recommendations for related posts.

Now, you know the categories and tags on a WordPress website are meant to ensure that users can easily navigate your website. So let’s see how they differ from each other.

Difference Between Categories and Tags in WordPress

Both categories and tags in WordPress are meant to classify, organize, and label the content of your website. But there are some distinct differences between the two, with respect to some specific parameters:

categories vs posts

Purpose and Scope

Categories represent broad groupings or topics that you assign to your posts. They are hierarchical, meaning you can create subcategories within categories. For example, if you have a blog about food, you might have categories such as “Breakfast,” “Lunch,” and “Dinner.”

Categories create a structure for your content, so the users can easily navigate and browse through related posts. They provide a way to organize your content into meaningful sections. 

On the other hand, Tags are more flexible descriptors to highlight the main themes, keywords, or attributes of individual posts. With Tags, you can specify additional details about the content, allowing for a more granular classification. 

Tags also help create connections between posts that share similar topics or characteristics, regardless of their category.

If you consider the purpose and scope of categories and tags in WordPress website, it is more about superior user experience and navigation.


Categories are hierarchical, allowing you to create parent categories and subcategories. That enables the creation of a structured taxonomy for your content, with broader categories encompassing more specific subcategories. So the content of your WordPress website will have a more logical and nested organization.

However, tags are not hierarchical and exist as standalone labels. So there is no parent-child relationship between any of them. For instance, you can have tags like “gluten-free,” “vegetarian,” or “quick and easy.” These tags provide additional descriptive information about the content of the post. But they do not have a structured taxonomy like categories. However, categories and tags in WordPress websites can play a crucial role in terms of user experience.


How you plan categories and tags in WordPress website can have a vital impact on user experience. A post is typically assigned to one or a few categories, reflecting its primary topic or section. When creating or editing a WordPress post, you can select one or more categories from the predefined category list. That helps organize your posts into different sections or topics on your website.

Assigning a post to a category ensures that it appears within the suitable archive page. So the users can easily browse through related content.

Tags, however, are assigned to posts to highlight specific keywords or topics relevant to the content. You can assign multiple WordPress tags to a single post to provide additional details about the content. 

Unlike categories, there is typically no predefined list of tags in WordPress. Tags offer more flexibility and allow for multiple classifications per post. Incorporating the right categories and tags in WordPress posts can help you guide users through your content effectively.


Categories play a significant role in organizing and structuring your content for navigation purposes. They help create sections or menus on your website to provide a navigational structure for users to browse content based on broad topics. Clicking on a category link displays all posts assigned to that particular category.

Through this hierarchical file structure, users can easily explore and locate content according to what they are looking for. That improves the user experience of the website.

But tags, while not typically used for navigation, ease content discovery by creating relationships between posts. Clicking on a tag displays a page showing all posts associated with that specific tag, allowing users to explore related content. 

With tags, users can navigate through related content that shares similar tags, regardless of the categories they are assigned to. The way you manage categories and tags in WordPress posts can impact user navigation critically.

Keyword Specificity

If we discuss categories and tags in WordPress websites, categories serve as high-level classifications for your content. They are generally broader in scope and encompass a wider range of topics or subjects. When assigning a post to a category, you typically choose from a predefined list of categories you have set up for your website. Categories help organize your content into major sections or topics.

Tags, on the other hand, provide more specific keywords or labels that are relevant to the content of a post. They allow you to highlight particular details or topics within a post. Unlike categories, there is typically no predefined list of tags in WordPress. Instead, you can freely create tags based on the specific keywords or topics you want to associate with a post. Tags provide a more granular classification system that helps in identifying and grouping related content. 

Other than the above-mentioned points, we have SEO. Although neither categories nor tags can directly impact SEO, they can help create a structured hierarchy and organization of your content. Assigning relevant categories makes it easier for search engines to understand the website’s themes and structure. 

Plus, having a clear and organized category structure can improve the UX, making it easier for visitors to navigate your site. Search engines also appreciate well-organized websites and may reward them with higher rankings in search results.

Tags have an even more limited impact on SEO compared to categories. Tags can provide additional context and keywords for your posts. But they are not as influential in search engine rankings as categories or other on-page optimization factors. 

So to summarize, categories focus on broader topics and provide a hierarchical structure. But tags offer more specific descriptors for the subject or product. Plus, they ensure more flexibility in classification. 

Categories are assigned to one or a few posts, creating sections or menus for navigation. But tags can be assigned to multiple posts and facilitate content discovery. Both categories and tags play distinct roles in organizing and optimizing content in WordPress.

Now, the question is, “How to Add Categories and Tags in WordPress?”. Well, let’s find out.

How to Add WordPress Categories and Tags?

Now that you know what categories and tags in WordPress are and how they differ from each other let’s see how you can add them to your WordPress website. 

Needless to say. First, you’ll need to install WordPress. Then you can move forward to adding categories and tags in WordPress. Let’s start with the process of adding categories to a WordPress post. 

Step 1: Log into the WordPress dashboard.

Step 2: Click on Posts, and you’ll see all the posts on your website displayed on the screen.

Step 3: Locate the website post you want to add the category to, and press Edit. That will open the post in the block editor. 

Step 4: Now, on the right side, you’ll see a block section. Scrolling down, you’ll see the Categories. Under there will be different categories and subcategories specified earlier. 

Step 5: Select a category and subcategories (if any) by ticking the checkbox. You can select multiple categories if necessary. If your content doesn’t fit in any specific category, you can select “Uncategorized”. 

Step 6: Below the Categories, you’ll see a dedicated section for Tags. 

category and tags in wordpress post

Unlike categories, there are no fixed tags. You’ll need to manually enter the tags, like keywords. Multiple tags can be included in a single post. 

Step 7: Last but not least, after adding the categories and tags in a post, click on Update, and you’ll be done. 

But what if you don’t have the necessary categories in the list? Then, you’ll need to “Add New Category”. So now, let’s check out the process for that. 

Step 1: Click on Add New Category under the Categories Section. That will open a page with the heading “Add New Category.”

add new category in wordpress

Step 2: Fill out the details like Name (Name of the new category) and Slug (how the category name will appear within the post URL).

Step 3: Select the Parent Category (if you’re creating a new subcategory). But if you’re creating a new main category, you can leave the Parent Category as “None”. 

Step 4: After that, write the description for the category. 

Finally, click on the button “Add New Category”, and your new category will be ready for use. As for the tags, you can add any specific one as per the post topic and details. 

Now, after you have added the categories and tags to the WordPress post, the question is, “Will the categories and tags help gain better traffic on the website?”. Well, let’s counter this question with another question. Did you know you can improve WordPress SEO with categories and tags? 

But for that, you’ll need to check out how to optimize the categories and tags in WordPress for SEO.

Optimizing Categories and Tags in WordPress CMS for SEO

SEO helps ensure the website ranks well on the search engine result pages and attracts a higher number of target audiences. One of the most significant digital marketing and SEO tactics for WordPress website posts is to categorize them according to the topics and other criteria. That way, the users and search engines can navigate through the content more efficiently. 

So now, we’ll see the best practices for optimizing the categories and tags in WordPress for SEO.

Best Practices for SEO-optimizing WordPress Categories

Here are a few of the best practices for SEO-optimizing the categories on WordPress:

  • Plan the category structure carefully. Carefully plan out the categories for the post you are uploading on your website. After writing the content, consider the main topics or sections of your content. Then create the best parent and child category options aligning with them. A well-thought-out category structure helps both users and search engines navigate your website.
  • Add only a few categories. It’s recommended to keep the number of categories limited. Having too many categories in the post archive can confuse users and dilute the SEO value of each category. Instead, focus on creating a manageable number of broad categories that encompass the main topics of your website.
  • Use one category for every post. Assign at least one relevant category to each post. That ensures that every post is organized within a specific category, making it easier for users to find related content. It also helps Google, Yahoo, and other search engines understand the context and theme of your posts.
  • Use subcategories. If your content covers a wide range of topics within a main category, consider using subcategories. That creates a hierarchical structure that enhances organization and improves user experience. But use subcategories for every post sparingly and only when they add substantial value to the overall structure of your website.
  • Don’t add categories to the permalinks. Avoid including category names in your post permalinks, as it can make the URLs longer and less user-friendly. It’s better to keep the URLs concise and focused on the specific post title or keywords.
permalink settings for new posts and pages

By following these SEO optimization practices for categories, you can create a well-structured and user-friendly website. That will be easily navigable and understood by both visitors and search engines.

Best Practices for SEO-optimizing WordPress Tags

Here are a few of the best practices for SEO-optimizing the tags on WordPress:

  • Plan tags carefully. Like categories, plan your tags carefully to ensure they accurately represent the topics and keywords related to your content. Choose tags relevant to the specific post and provide additional context or information.
  • Perform proper keyword research. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant and popular keywords related to your content. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or other keyword research tools to find keywords that have a good search volume. Then, incorporate these keywords as tags when appropriate.
  • Use ample tags. While it’s important to be selective with categories, tags offer more flexibility. You can use multiple tags for each post. That allows you to include different keywords or their variations relevant to the content. It helps the search engines understand the specific topics covered in your post. So the search visibility can be improved.
  • Avoid overstuffing tags. Although you can use multiple tags, it’s essential to maintain relevance and avoid overstuffing. Choose the tags that are genuinely descriptive of the content. Avoid using excessive tags that may dilute their impact or confuse search engines.
  • Monitor tag popularity. Keep an eye on the popularity and usage of your tags. Some tags may become more popular over time, while others may become less relevant. Regularly review and update your tags to ensure they align with current trends and the interests of your audience.
  • Consider tag consistency. Maintain consistency in your tag usage across your website. It helps establish a clear and cohesive structure for your tags. So the search engines can easily understand the topics covered on your site.

Through these best practices, you can optimize your WordPress tags for SEO. It improves the visibility of your content in search engine results. So the users can find your posts based on relevant keywords and topics.

How to Control Categories and Tags in the Search Results?

To control how WordPress categories and tags appear on SERPs, you can follow these methods:

  • Optimize meta tags. Ensure each category has a unique and descriptive meta title and meta description. Use relevant keywords and compelling language to entice users to click on your search listing. Rank Math or other SEO WordPress plugins can help you customize these meta tags for each category and tag. 
  • Utilize featured images. Assign featured images to individual posts, and ensure they are relevant and visually appealing. Some search engines may display these images in the search results. That increases the visibility and attractiveness of your posts.
  • Create engaging and descriptive content. Write high-quality, informative content for your individual posts within categories and tags. Craft compelling headlines and include relevant keywords in the content. That helps search engines like Google and Bing understand the relevance of your posts and can improve their visibility in SERPs.
  • Monitor click-through rates. Regularly analyze your CTRs in search results for individual posts within categories and tags. If certain posts have low CTRs, consider adjusting their titles, meta descriptions, or featured images. That makes them more appealing and enticing to users.
  • Encourage social sharing. Implement social sharing buttons on your posts, allowing users to easily share them on social media platforms. Increased social sharing can generate more visibility and potentially attract more organic traffic to your posts.

By implementing these strategies, you can control how WordPress categories and tags appear on SERPs. These strategies contribute to improving the visibility of your content. 

Alternatively, you can choose WordPress plugins like Rank Math and AIOSEO to edit the categories and tags of your page or site. Get in touch with the experts at WPWeb Infotech and find out how you use these plugins for optimizing and managing the categories and tags in WordPress.

FAQs Related to Categories and Tags in WordPress

Can I assign multiple categories and tags to a single post in WordPress?
Yes, WordPress allows you to assign multiple categories and tags to a single post. This flexibility enables you to categorize and tag your content accurately and precisely. When creating or editing a post, you can select the relevant categories and add tags to appropriately classify your content.
How can I display categories and tags on my WordPress website?
WordPress provides various methods to display categories and tags on your website. One common approach is to use widgets. You can navigate to the "Appearance" section in the WordPress dashboard, select "Widgets," and add the "Categories" or "Tag Cloud" widget to your desired widget area.
Can I rename or delete categories and tags in WordPress?
Yes, you can rename or delete categories and tags in WordPress. To rename a category or tag, go to the "Posts" or "Categories" section in your WordPress dashboard and edit the name of the category or tag you want to modify.
Can I add categories and tags to other content types in WordPress, such as pages or custom post types?
By default, WordPress allows categories and tags to be assigned to posts only. However, with the help of plugins or custom code, you can extend categories and tags to other content types like pages or custom post types.


People sometimes forget that initially, WordPress was developed and introduced as a blogging platform, and it still is the best one in the market. With that in mind, you have to understand that blogging websites have hundreds or even thousands of content from different categories. And every piece of content has some specific details that the users may be looking for. 

So to help the users, you can use categories and tags in WordPress websites. Categories will help broadly organize your website’s content into different topics or subjects, while tags will provide more specific details regarding the content or product. These two features enhance user navigation and content discovery and also ensure that search engines can index your content more effectively. For more information on how you can effectively use the categories and tags on your website, hire web developers from us today!

Nikita Shah is a technical content writer at WPWeb Infotech known for simplifying complex topics. With expertise in various technical fields, she crafts engaging articles that makes technology easy to understand. Her clear and concise writing style ensures that readers gain valuable insights while enjoying the content.

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