Categories and tags are descriptive terms that help relate content. By creating excellent categories and tags, you can improve the searchability of your website. You can also help site visitors find what they are looking for and even what they didn't know they were looking for. This tutorial will explain characteristics of good category and tag terms and steps for how to create new terms.
Introduction to Category Terms
Category terms are broad classifications that identify "what you do." For example, if you are a researcher, your categories should be the scientific terms which describe your field(s) of study. At least one category term will be selected for each piece of content you add to your website; which means that your category terms should be over-arching.
There are two mistakes to avoid when creating category terms: redundancy and being acutely specific. Creating a "Project" category term, for example, would be redundant as there is probably already a "Project" view in the main menu. You also want to avoid creating category terms that are too specific. If you were creating a page about entomology, you would not want to create a category term for scarab beetles because there would probably only be one or two pages in that category. It is better to have broad categories with many pages than a lot of very specific categories that only have one or two pages. The user can use filters to fine-tune the content they view within each category.
Adding Category Terms
To add category terms, go to Structure->Taxonomy->Category->Add Term.
You should come to a page with a series of fields. Fill them out with information. The first field is the category name. I'm creating a category for contributing to Luggage development:
Next, if you want, you can add a relationship between categories in this menu. I'm going to make "Development" the child of "Contributing." Click on the "Relations" link located below the description text box. The box should expand with these options:
If you want to make your term a child of another term, click on the term that you want to link your new term to, as shown above. Making your category term the child of another term allows for the user to see the pages in your child category when they look at both the child and the parent categories. It also establishes a relationship between the two categories.
Next, you'll want to save your category. The "Save" button is located at the very bottom of the "Add Term" page. After you've done that, click on the "List" tab at the top of the menu. You should be taken to a page like this:
You can see the category term I added, nested below the "Contributing" term. You can move around category terms in this menu, too. Move the terms by clicking and dragging the arrows next to the term name:
You can create relationships in this menu, as well. If you drag the terms horizontally, they will be nested within the term above like how two terms are nested with the "Contributing" term. After you move your terms around, be sure to click on the "Save" button at the bottom of the page. If you would prefer the terms to be in alphabetical order, you can click the "Reset to alphabetical" button. If you want to add more category terms, click on the "Add Term" link at the top of the page.
Introduction to Tags
Tags are essentially commonly understood words to describe your categories. For example, if you had a category of "Entomology", a few tags could be bugs, insects, and critters. Tags are the words that one would type into a Google search to end up on this piece of content.
Tags, like categories, should not be redundant. If you have a group of pages that have some content about the same thing, use the same tag in each page. Check to make sure that the word form that you are using as a tag is the same form used on another page (e.g., flower vs. flowers). The tagging system will not connect two pages if they use slightly different tags. Try not to use multiple forms of the same word in your tags, either. This merely creates a confusing mass of redundant tags. Also, try not to use tags that are already words in the title. The search engine will pick up on title words, so tagging with those words is not needed.
This page is a good example of how to use tags. You can click on the "pubcookie" tag and view release notes for Luggage that relate to pubcookie software.
Checking for Tag Redundancy on Your Site
You can check for tag redundancy on your website by viewing the entire list of tags listed on your website. To find this list, go to Structure->Taxonomy and click on the Tags menu item:
You should come to a page like this:
If you find redundant tags in this list, you can click on the tag name to be taken to the pages using the tag. You can then edit your pages to either remove the redundant tag or change it to another tag that is used by more pages.
That is everything you need to know about categories and tags. Hopefully this tutorial taught you how to create an effective list of category terms to use to organize your site. Happy categorizing!
If you have problems with creating category terms and tags or have more questions about how to do any of the above, please contact Ann Greazel for help.