How To Use Categories and Tags on Your Psychotherapy Blog

Categories and Tags On Psychotherapy Blog

Categories and tags help both website visitors and search engines understand your content.

When used correctly, categories and tags help visitors browse your blog easier, quickly getting a sense of who you help and how you help.

Usually blogs are set to show the most recent post first, displaying in reverse chronological order. This is great because every time someone returns to your blog, they’ll see the freshest content first.

But this reverse chronological ordering also means that some of your most awesome and helpful content may be buried in past posts. Categories and tags allow a visitor to browse content in a different way, guided by what they’re seeking.

You want your website visitors to engage with your content. You want them to discover such valuable content on your blog that they’d like to stick around a while. This behavior is called engagement – and it’s very very good.

In addition to all the benefits to human website visitors, categories and tags also help with your website’s search engine optimization by giving search engines internal links to follow, making it possible for search engine crawlers to find the topics covered in your website content.

Categories and tags are good for humans and search engines too. If you’re not already using them, or are not using them well, it’s worth the time to strategize your categories and tags. Read on to find out how.

Categories and Tags Overview

Categories and tags are the taxonomy system used to group blog posts in traditional blogging on the web.

Categories are broad, tags are specific. Categories group your posts by topic while tags describe your post content.

Every post will need to belong to at least one category and can have multiple tags. A good starting point is to use one category per post and 0-5 tags. Not every post needs a tag, so if none of your regularly used tags describe your post’s content, it’s better to leave that post untagged.

For every category and tag used, there will be its corresponding archive page. This means that when a visitor clicks on a category or tag link, they will be taken to the archive of all of the posts on your blog that are categorized or tagged with that category or tag so it’s vital that each post be categorized or tagged appropriately.

How Not To Use Categories and Tags

Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is by recognizing upfront what not to do. Most bloggers struggle with using categories and tags appropriately. Here are some of the ways not to use categories and tags on your psychotherapy blog:

  • Never use “miscellaneous” or “other” as a category or tag. These types of terms are the blogging taxonomy equivalent to a junk drawer. No one wants to look through there.
  • Randomly selecting words from your text does not make for good category and tagging strategy. Decide on strategic categories and tags beforehand and then assign your posts to these categories or tags.
  • Neither categories nor tags should be too specific. You know if it is too specific if it will only apply to one post. In both the case of categories and tags, you’re looking for shared topics and descriptive words that can apply to multiple posts over time.
  • Both categories and tags should have clear, descriptive names avoiding things that are too flowery, cryptic, or clever.
    Throwing a bunch of tags and categories into place and then backpedaling to try to delete them later will mess with your website’s structure (permalinks). It’s best to start small.
  • Don’t use more than one category per post (Ok, maybe sometimes two). You can tag a post multiple times but the category should be just one.
  • Using too many categories and tags waters down their strength. Website visitors need to see differences between content that are categorized and tagged with certain categories and tags. So if every single category applies to every single post, it’s too broad to be a category.
  • Using a category like “Popular posts” is bad practice as it does nothing to tell a visitor about the topic of the post. There are better ways to show all of your most popular posts on a page if that is what you’re trying to do.

Category and Tag Strategy: Step by Step

Step 1:  Write a Blog Description

If you haven’t already, start with writing a 1-3 sentence description of what your blog is about. You may already have written a meta description that could be the basis for this description or you could write it fresh.

Let’s use an example of a Marriage Counsellor:

My Blog Description: Our blog helps strengthen marriages facing challenges, making them stronger, more connected, and more committed.

This blog description can help guide you through the following steps of brainstorming and mapping out your categories and tags.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Brainstorm around the topics you will be including in your blog. A good brainstorming prompt is asking, “what speaks to my ideal client’s needs?” and, “what categories will help them find the help they need?”

Drawing on your insights into what your ideal clients are struggling with will help inform this step and ensure your categories and tags are client-focused.

If you’ve already been blogging for a while or have already written some posts, you may use your existing content for inspiration. What broad topics are you covering in your blog? How does your existing content help people? How would you describe (tag) each post?

Step 3: Category and Tag Mapping

Next, try to map out your most central categories and tags and how they will be primarily related.

TIP: Remember that it’s better to start with fewer categories and tags and add more down the road then to start with many and try to delete them later.

Here’s an example from our Marriage Counsellor:

  • Category: Intimacy
    • tag: attraction
    • tag: sex
    • tag: sexual issues
  • Category: Marriage Challenges
    • tag: infidelity
    • tag: communication
    • tag: financial issues
    • tag: conflict resolution
    • tag: divorce
  • Category: Abuse
    • tag: emotional abuse
    • tag: physical abuse
  • Category: Family
    • tag: parenting
    • family conflict
    • values

Step 4: Test Some Blog Post Headlines

Find or write 5-6 blog post headlines and see how well they can be labeled by your categories and tags. Using one category per post and 0-5 tags per post is a good starting off point.

Here’s an example from our Marriage Counsellor:

  • 5 Ways New Parents Can Reignite Passion in the Bedroom
    • Category: Intimacy
    • Tags: attraction, sex
  • The One Secret Key to Resolving Conflicts in Your Relationships
    • Category: Relationships
    • Tags: communication, conflict resolution
  • Recognizing Controlling Behavior as Emotional Abuse
    • Category: Abuse
    • Tags: emotional abuse, family conflict
  • How to Deal When One Of You Is Stressed at Work
    • Category: Relationships
    • Tags: communication, sexual issues
  • Tips for Parenting When You Have Difficult In-Laws
    • Category: Family
    • Tags: parenting, family conflict, values

Step 5: Evaluate and Proceed

Take a break! Come back to your category and tag map later. When you read your blog’s description, category and tag map, and your blog post headlines with their corresponding category and tags, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do my categories group my posts together by their broad topics?
  • Do my tags get a little more specific, describing the post?
  • Are my categories and tags relevant to what my ideal clients are searching for in their healing?
  • Is it clear what types of pains I help with? And what types of gains are to be made with engaging with my content?

If your categories and tags are both logical and relevant to your ideal client’s search for answers, you are on target and ready to apply your category and tag structure to your blog. If not, adjust your map until you get there.

And when you’ve arrived, categorize and tag happily ever after. Proceed to being awesome with your well-organized, search engine friendly, human engagement motivating, categorized and tagged blog.

Categories and Tags Rock!

Using categories and tags correctly can lead to so much good. Website visitors will be able to browse and engage with your blog content allowing them to get help and get to know you.

On the other hand, using categories and tags incorrectly can lead to user frustration, bad SEO, and poor blog navigation. It is also difficult to undo poor categories and tags in the future.

So when you are setting up or trying to work on improving your blog, take the time to strategize. Starting with a description and then moving to client-focused inquiry of how you can help them and what they are searching for.

Then mapping everything out and testing with actual blog content headlines, can help give you a real feel for how well your blogging categories and tags are thought out.

What do you think? Were you making any of the category and tagging mistakes? Would you like to know further tips and tricks around using categories and tags like how to set-up related posts etc?

I would love to hear from you. Drop me a note on my contact page or tweet me anytime. Let me know what you think!

Kat Love

Hi, I'm Kat! Therapists helped me heal from childhood sexual abuse, so I helped them with websites and marketing for around 5 years. You can still write your therapist website in the easiest way possible with my easy, fast, and affordable solution called Empathycopy. Or stick around here on the Empathysites blog to get your fill of helpful website and digital marketing insights for therapists. Happy to help. Pronouns: they/them/their