Before I go on, I love Kristen Lamb‘s advice on blogging to build a brand. She’s excellent, and has really helped me make a better blog.
Doesn’t change that there’s one issue I disagree on: Tags.
She suggests using all the tags we want associated with us on the posts we write. Were this ten years ago, I’d agree, since the ‘meta tag’ was one of the more important elements on a website. Today, however, their importance is diminishing, and may have a number of serious drawbacks!
Tags duplicate information
In general, if you’re blogging with a focus, the information in your tags is duplicated in the body of your post! For example, I talk about blogging on a regular basis. If you’ll notice, I mention the words ‘your blog’ quite often in my blogging related posts. Google, and most other search engines, are good about reading your content and picking keywords out of the body of text.
Here’s a video from Google:
There might be better navigation tools
Modern tags are also used to help readers navigate a blog. Click on a tag and see a list of posts using that tag. This is a cool feature, up until you have dozens of tags on a wide variety of topics. Now your reader needs to find the right tag to find the posts they’re looking for! This comes back to making it easy on the reader.
If you look to the left, I’ve got a menu called ‘Categories.’ Each of those headings offers a series of posts under the chosen Category, which allows you to easily navigate my blog for like content. In each category, I make my titles descriptive in some way to make sure you can find content that interests you.
They might look like ‘Keyword Stuffing’
Here’s where they really might hurt you. Google uses ‘Page rank’ to determine how high in Google you rate. One of the things they look for to knock you down is called keyword stuffing, which is the practice of putting as many unrelated keywords as possible into a single page to draw traffic from search engines. Anyone who used to surf during the nineties will remember this practice, getting to a website that had nothing to do with what you were searching for, even though the Google preview mentioned your keywords.
Okay, so I’ve given you a bunch of reasons why not, but I hate critiques without some sort of answer offered, so how do I suggest you get those keywords that really make your brand into your website? You know ‘Patrick Thunstrom, Fantasy Author.’ Simple: Make an ‘about me’ section, either in your posts or in your sidebar. This is a great place for your ‘short bio’ Kristen Lamb suggests in her book We Are Not Alone.
Doing this puts your keywords in a prominent position in a way that relates to the content of your page, and avoids all the disadvantages of tags!