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Blog tags are a critical piece of your SEO and lead generation strategy. And the good news is: creating blog tags in HubSpot is incredibly easy. When you spend hours writing a new blog post, or have invested in someone else to write it for you, it may seem prudent to create new tags to align with the content of your post.

However, how and where tags are being used thoughout the blog is often overlooked. In fact, many of our clients are completely unaware of how many blog tags they have and how they are being used.

The purpose of this post is to help you understand the value of strategically tagging your posts and the implications of “over-tagging”.

How do you find your blog tags in HubSpot?

Navigate to the Blog tool in HubSpot. Then, in the left-menu, select “Tags”. From here, you’ll be able to view how many tags you have, as well as how many posts they’re associated with. Here's a resource with more detail on this.

HubSpot Blog Tags

How are tags organized on your blog's primary listing page?

In most blog designs, there is a sidebar dedicated to tag navigation. Typically, they are listed in order of the number of posts associated with that tag. Other times, they're listed alphabetically. Additionally, on the blog post itself, the tags with which it’s associated are usually listed as hyperlinks at the bottom of the post. Take a look at your own blog's primary listing page to find out how your tags are being used on the site.

What is the purpose of blog tags?

Blog tags are for more than categorizing posts, although that is how many people use them. Blog tags are the key to your SEO and pillar content strategy. Here’s why: if someone comes to your website looking to learn about a particular product, service, category, or industry, blog tags can serve up related content instantly. This not only increases the chance of engagement with your web content, boosting your SEO authority, but it facilitates a better user experience. Without any hassle, a lead can serve themselves all the content associated with the topic that most interests them.

Blog tags are also critical to aligning with your pillar content strategy – how your blogs link to other blogs can dramatically improve your SEO.

Why is having too many blog tags a risk?

Because tags are so easy to create from the blog editor, you can end up creating handfuls of related tags without realizing the implications. Each time you create a new blog tag, you automatically create a new blog listing page for that tag. For example, we use the tags: Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Inbound Marketing.

PMG Blog Tag Screenshot

Each of these tags appears as a clickable button on our blog sidebar. When you choose a tag from the menu, you go to a specific blog listing page that, very much like the blog's "home page", serves up every post that uses that tag. Pretty neat, right?

Those URLs are then automatically added to your blog sitemap with a unique URL like:

Remember, this happens each time you create a new blog tag. That means, if you have 500 blog tags active in HubSpot, you also have 500 unique blog listing page URLs live on your site. If those topics are related, or could be grouped into similar categories, you’re on your way to an SEO nightmare.

Google will crawl and index each of those URLs – the same as any other live URL on your site. So, if the content isn’t helpful, leads nowhere, or could be consolidated for a better user experience, you may be harming your SEO without even knowing it. Moreover, similar tags could be competing with each other for rank in Google. Imagine if you combined them together? Then, you’d have one, really solid, awesome hub for targeted content.

How many blog tags should you have?

The short answer is: As few as you need. In most cases we would recommend having 10-15 tags or less. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Typically, only 10 tags will appear on your blog sidebar. That means, the other tags won’t show up unless they are expanded. Usually, visitors will select options from what they can see, making the additional tags extraneous in this case.
  • If you have more than 20 tags, they can usually be grouped or consolidated to more effectively direct your visitor traffic.

There are some cases where more than 15 tags makes sense. For example, you may have 10 target industries that you write regular content for. In this case, creating a tag is a great way to serve up an industry-specific blog that lives at the listing URL we discussed earlier. That’s a valuable URL to send in targeted nurture campaigns.

What should I do if I think I have too many blog tags?

  1. Export all your blog tags into an Excel document.

  2. Identify trends in groups or tags that were created by accident.

  3. Determine which tags can be bundled and add those to their own columns.

  4. Use the Combine Tags tool in HubSpot to group your selected tags.

  5. Delete and redirect any blog tags that are no longer used or do not fit anywhere.

  6. Communicate with your team the importance of blog tagging, and discourage anyone from creating new tags without speaking with Marketing first.

You may also consider doing a bit of keyword research to ensure your tags are optimized for search. 

In extreme cases—where you've created more than 250+ tags and many of them are active—we may also recommend a complete tag audit, which entails a manual review of each post to ensure it's optimized for the correct tags. This can boost your SEO and help you start creating an ideal user experience with your content.

How many tags should each blog post have?

Again, the short answer is: only as much as you need. Usually we try to stick with 2-4 tags. If you’re using more, the topic is probably too broad or you have too many tags; something Google and your users may not appreciate.

Need some more help?

Please feel free to reach out! I'm happy to help you brainstorm the best tagging approach to your blog. That's what we're here for!

About the Author

Kate Moore | Content Strategy & SEO Director
Kate Moore, Content Strategy & SEO Director

Kate Moore is a Content Strategist by day, HubSpot expert by night. When she’s not getting distracted by her many fans (ahem – work emails and phone calls), she’s hunkered down, plugged into Spotify and writing about stuff that will make your work with HubSpot smooth and simple.

 Tags: Digital Marketing Best Practices

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