The MethodShop tutorial on How to Hack Tag Descriptions inspired me to make some changes to my websites. However, I would like to take this idea one step further. On one website I had over 12,000 tags, about 75% of those tags were used only once or were mistakes in tagging (forgot a comma between two terms, misspelled a tag, etc). There were even tags that had 0 posts to them.
What was even more discouraging – My top tags were not what the site was about. For example, I do podcasts on my site. So after publishing over 1,000 podcasts, I should see on my top ten list “Podcast.” Yet, it was nowhere on the first page. I only had 120 posts with that tag. 5 posts with podcast show and about 100 other podcast derivatives.
So it was time to clean up these anomalies and check the “merge WordPress tags” item off my to-do list. After all, one term used 250 times is better than 250 terms used only once. Don’t get me wrong – there are some terms that if you have one post on, then so be it. By doing this, it does make you think about how you tag. For instance, I’ll put in the Post tags “tag” instead of pluralizing the word.
To show you how it helps, I decided to clean up my tag “iPhone“. It had good examples without taking over the page (believe me, there were some terms with tons of variables). iPhone had 323 instances, with 7 instances of iPhones, 1 iPhone apps, and 1 instance of Apple iPhone and free iPhone. I want to keep iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 since they are viable tags.
My WordPress tags were a hot mess. But now they are all fixed. Let’s fix up your website too! Here’s how to merge WordPress tags and boost your blog SEO.
- A WordPress website
- Administrative privileges
- 10-60 minutes of free time (depending on how many tags you have)
01) Install WordPress Plugin “Term Management Tools”
Term Management Tools is a plugin that will not only merge tags together but also set a taxonomy (arrangement) for them. In this tutorial, we will only be merging the tags.01) Adding a Plugin to WordPress – Term Management Tools
02) Find A Tag To Clean Up
Like I said earlier, we’ll use the iPhone for this example. Type in your term in the search window.
03) Select & Merge WordPress Tags
Once you select your terms, choose the option “merge” from the dropdown menu. The text box “into:” will appear. That is where you will type the term you want to merge everything to. Choose “Apply” and let the program do the work.
WARNING: If you have a term with a description setup, you might want to copy the description information first. The merge will not erase the description. If a mistake is made, then you might lose the target tag, hence the description as well.
04) Check Your Tags Counts
In this case, the iPhone only added 7 more instances. This was because the other tags most likely had the term iPhone in with them. When I merged the derivatives of “Microsoft“, I went from 200 posts to 600. When I merged “IBM“, I gained 100 posts to the term.
It also helped me realize that I didn’t have certain tags in posts that I wanted people to see. Because of this, I hope to have the term Podcast in over 1,000 posts that are podcasts.
05) Using the Taxonomy Feature
If you choose to use the Taxonomy feature, it won’t merge the links, but when you look up a tag (like iPhone), it will bundle the other tags into that one. Whether it works well on an SEO standpoint is yet to be determined.
06) Sit Back, Watch Your Work!
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