UTW – Tagging SEO Tricks (pt 2)

This is not a technical trick, but something that many people who confuse categories and tagging really need to get a grasp of.
It is also my belief that this is very much a white-hat strategy, but as with all forms of search engine marketing, it can be abused.

Categories are for storing your documents into nice managable chucks on related topics.

Tagging can and should go far beyond categories in relating content to specific keywords.

Here is a good example:-

WordPress Training
Wordpress Tutorials
Wordpress Tuition

I would suggest you wouldn’t want to have all 3 phrases as a category in your sidebar. You could however be quite justified in tagging a related article with all 3 phrases, if they were appropriate.

There are several reasons for this:-

1. Tag searches do not use LSI. They do however quite often display related tags. The more data you provide related to your article, the more accurately it can be classified, and later found. In many ways your tags should be very tightly related LSI keywords.

2. MYSQL Search – lets face it, it isn’t highly effective. If someone is searching your site, the chances of them finding what they are looking for are remote unless you provide a lot of keywords on a page.

3. Folksonomy provides a better way to search when you use tag clouds to provide visual suggestions for what a reader may be looking for. In my example above, “training”, “tuition” and “tutorials” actually provide different stimulai

4. Better references to related content

Lets say you have a niche blog on dogs.

You might have categories on dog training, dog health, dog accessories etc

You might use tags to interrelate articles on dog training at feeding time, dog food, and dog bowl.

5. Making your website wider – making a better mouse-trap

Does Google really give penalties for duplicate content, or duplicate content that doesn’t have a specific purpose?

It is my belief that Google doesn’t give duplicate content penalties for content that has a specific purpose, that they can easily identify.

Technorati is all duplicate content, but it has a purpose, helping people find what they are looking for. I noted recently that at WordPress.com which are also full of duplicate content, give great backlinks for the blogs hosted there.

Google Likes Tag Pages

I think Google in some way within their algorithms are allowing duplicate content if it is on a page that is clearly a tag page, whether on an authority site, or on individual websites.

It is easy for people to spot such a page, they normally use tag or tags in the URL. If they wanted to algorithmically wipe out all that duplicate content they could with a wave of their hand.

But they haven’t… in fact pages that Google identifies as a tag page, it might be argued, are sometimes given a boost in search engine results.

I am sure you want some proof

I can’t give you total proof.

This is based upon my observations on multiple domains I own or monitor closely. I am not going to openly reveal all my niche sites (people try all kinds of ways to search for them every day, and they find old sites that have been allowed to be found).

I will give you one example though, which I noticed today.

This example is based upon the following:-

This is quite a new domain, but I do have an existing domain andybeard.name redirecting here with a global 301. I also have an existing blog on blogspot redirecting here with a meta refresh.
I have a few “exposed” niche sites linking back to this site.

That being said, Google doesn’t seem to be showing any backlinks (there are quite a few of them), though other search engines are.
It has been reported recently that Google are giving enhanced results to blog search within their main listings, especially in Europe which is a frequent test location. This isn’t related, because those results were appearing at the bottom of the Google listings.

I am located in Poland, and my IP address is Polish. Someone located in the US might see something different, using the same search URLs.

Here is a screenshot of a search result I noticed today. This one is on Google.com, but I have also tried Google.co.uk, Google.at, Google.pl, Google.de and a few more.
The results were similar. On the foreign language sites I generally held the position for the first English language result.


Google Search for WordPress Training
Google Search for WordPress Training

It isn’t a highly competitive keyword, and the results for “WordPress Tutorials” which is more competitive are different.

Now I do have to admit the tag page that is gaining the result is fairly junky looking. It is a result of the way my content is laid out, and I do need to get it fixed.
I include tags at the start of my content, and those tags appear at the start of any excerpt. This is true for excerpts, whether created by WordPress or by Ultimate Tag Warrior.
As standard there isn’t an easy way to adjust excerpt length unless you create a custom excerpt for every post.

In my defense it is not deliberate keyword spamming, it is something I am aware of, and it will be fixed. I am not a programmer, I just tinker with PHP, and the tag pages and archive pages on this blog are currently “out-of-the-box” configurations.

Specific to Google

This weighting of tag pages seems to be specific to Google.

For instance for the same search on MSN my original content is ranked around 26th position, but they still have lots of tag pages showing, and it is obvious the search is not very LSI based, as lots of dog and horse training pages appear.
Yahoo has fairly similar results to MSN, I have a result in 23rd place, but it is a totally different page.

Folksonomy and LSI

Folksonomy is in many ways the same as LSI.

With folksonomy the relationship between keywords is created by humans.
LSI is meant to be based upon algorithms, but is a lot more complicated. It is however based on words, and it is much easier to start with a list of human word relationships and to then apply additional relationships.

It is my belief that Google is in some way using folksonomy as part of its LSI calculations. It is even possible that they have recently increased the relevance of that part of their calculation.

Going Forward

Tagging is important for folksonomy based search. Tag pages on your own domain seem to be gaining a lot of relevance in Google.

Over the coming weeks I am going to be working to improve the quality of my tag pages, so that they provide unique content, and enhanced value for my readers.

Using tags for all keyword links might add enhanced relevance.
If you were buying textlinks, paid posts etc, would the value of the textlinks be enhanced if they had rel=”tag” ?

I have heard bloggers argue that creating links with relevant keywords is keyword spamming. In my opinion it is actually “best practice” if you are linking to someone to use a relevant keyword to the content you are linking to. It isn’t Google bombing, it is helping the search engines relate different content. If you then include rel=”tag” in the link, you are also helping folksonomy search.

You should maybe think carefully about your tagging strategy for 2007

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Comments

  1. Andy Beard says

    I am currently using this one

    Dofollow Plugin

    There are plenty of others, with extra features such as a time delay before a link becomes followed

    Some sites also just remove nofollow from trackbacks, to encourage links and that maybe doesn’t encourage commenting.

    I decided if users are adding content to my site, they deserve the link.

    Also people who gain a benefit from commenting are much more likely to subscribe, thus growing my community.

    It should also be noted that with this plugin links in the comment body are not followed. Maybe that is something I will tweak in the future.

  2. Rose Water says

    I think google takes into account whole pages of text, not mere citations, especially when you use the tag or the [blockquote] tag.

  3. Search Engine Marketing says

    [removed link – manual spamming doesn’t work here either]
    Thank for all the info…

  4. Bong says

    VERY informative site. Now i understand why people use the no follow tag !

    Thanks, it was confusing me a little!

  5. says

    I was wondering how much traffic do You get from andybeard.eu/tag sites ? In my case (SprawnyMarketing.pl) it’s less than 2-3% of whole site traffic.

    On the other hand:
    tags are duplicate content,
    users dont use tags, (they don’t click on it)
    tags generate tons of news sites,
    and it means that less Link Juce and PageRank is provided to sites with content (i mean our articles).

    P.S.

    “I am located in Poland, and my IP address is Polish.”

    Are You from Poland ? ;)

Trackbacks

  1. […] Throughout the whole of this article, I have been very selective in the terms or keywords I am using to link through to other sites. Not only that, but I have also been placing rel=”tag” in every single one of the links. I have speculated about the power of tagging in the past, based upon my own testing and tracking. I believe that not only does it help with searches on sites such as Technorati , it is also used by Google in part of their LSI calculations. […]

  2. […] Google Hiccup Related tags:analytics search engine optimisation seo serps website traffic wordpress wordpress trademarks wordpress trainingFor a few days I have noticed a small hiccup in my SERPs on Google, especially relating to my theories on how Google treat tags. […]

  3. […] Just a simple example would be Technorati. They provide a useful tool for bloggers with a website full of 100% duplicate content. It is made unique by mixing the duplicate content up and niching it. You can do the same on your own blog by using extensive internal tagging and customising the different archives to look different (I still need to do the second part). WordPress.com take this a stage further and offer followable links from their tag indexes. […]