Mistakes with Categories and Tags

Logistically, categories and tags have all kinds of SEO science behind them. It’s really easy to make mistakes with categories and tags. But I’d like to leave the website organization and SEO mistakes for another blog post. In this one, let’s talk about user experience.

I bring this up after having visited Gizmodo.com today and thinking to myself how interesting that site was. I actually wondered to why I didn’t read it more often. And that entire string of thought came after seeing their sidebar.

Typically blog sidebars are pretty much the same from site to site. There’s some ads, a tag cloud of some sort and an index to the categories, pages or tags of the site.  But after seeing Gizmodo – that doesn’t make sense at all.

Categories are useful for SEO for sure. They are great for organization, but are they compelling enough to interest the web surfers to peruse another page or two on your site?  Which would you rather click:

1. Multimillionaire Software Exec Arrested in LEGO-Thieving Bar-Code Scam
2. Category: Lego News

See what I mean? Most categories and tags read like the phone book: cats, dog food, March 2011, Me and Betty, Internet Marketing, Podcasts and my favorite “About Us”. What’s compelling about any of that?

Nothing. Useful, but not compelling.

So this week I’m going to work on marrying the categories and tags organization with article title user experience. I assure you I’m guilty of this on this site right here – but I understand it now and am moving forward with a new thought process.

Don’t sacrifice compelling in all areas though. Some things shouldn’t change because conformity does have its advantages. For instance “About Us”  is something people expect to find. If you instead called it “The time I found a mouse in LaJoya and started this site”, people might not know it is the “about us” page.

Assignment: I want you to look at your own site and see if it screams “read me”. If it doesn’t, I expect to see you at the drawing board as well.