Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Content Tagging: What Are Tags And Why They Are So Important For Web Publishers

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Don't know what content tags are? Tagging content has become over the last few years an important component of the online publishing process as it allows editors to extend the reference labels, associations and search keywords by which any type of content can be found.


In the early days of the web, a similar content classification variable was available to all webmasters: The Keyword Meta Tag. This was a content information variable that was placed inside the Head code component of your HTML code, and inside which you could specify (for any one web page) a set of specific keywords that the web page was relevant for. Due to widespread misuse of this function, whereby webmasters and unscrupulous webmasters literally stuffed their meta tag keyword with popular keywords not relevant to their content in order to attract a greater number of visitors, this HTML variable was gradually dismissed until all major search engines stopped reading its contents (about 2000-2001).

But in 2005, with the advent of Technorati, the blog search engine, a new form of keyword classification was made available for all web publishers allowing them again to provide reference classification terms for any digital content they published online.

Articles, news stories, podcasts, audio recordings, photos, presentations, video clips can all be tagged easily no matter what type of blog or content management system you use. The benefit is a wider distribution of your content and more opportunities for those seeking it to find it.

Tags associated to content are usually referred to as rel="tag", and the hyperlinks they generate are intended to be visible links on pages and posts.

"This is in stark contrast to meta keywords which were invisible and typically never revealed to readers.

"As a matter of fact, "making tag hyperlinks visible has the additional benefit of making it more obvious to readers if a page is abusing tag links, and thus providing more peer pressure for better behavior. It also makes it more obvious to authors, who may not always be aware what invisible metadata is being generated on their behalf."

Source: (Microformats - Rel tag specification)

If you have never used or learned about content tagging before, I have recorded a very short video of myself explaining in very simple words what tags are and why they are very important to use in your online professional publishing workflow.


Tags and tagging: what is it all about? Robin Good explain why tags are so important for online publishers

My definition for tags: Tags are short keywords that define what your online digital content is all about.

Official tag definition:

"A tag is a relevant keyword or term associated with or assigned to a piece of information (a picture, a geographic map, a blog entry, a video clip etc.), thus describing the item and enabling keyword-based classification and search of information.

Tags are usually chosen informally and personally by item author/creator or by its consumer/ viewers/ community.

Tags are typically used for resources such as computer files, web pages, digital images, and internet bookmarks (both in social bookmarking services, and in the current generation of web browsers - see Flock). For this reason, "tagging" has become associated with the Web 2.0 buzz.

Typically, anyone digital content item will have one or more tags associated with it."

(Source: Wikipedia)

So, if you want to increase your exposure and visibility while making it easier for others to find your online content tagging your content is definitely something you may want to start doing sooner rather than later.

By tagging your content you not only help others find more easily what they are looking for but you also allow your content to be classified, indexed and accessed by many more individuals, search engines and content aggregators that may never otherwise become aware of your valuable writings.

But be careful. As a rule of thumb select your keywords by choosing only truly relevant and not too generic keywords for your content. The formula to test whether you are wasting your time is to ask yourself: "if I searched for this keyword in a tag-aware search engine like Technorati and found my own article, would my content be truly relevant to the query the reader made?"

"Tagging represents a new way to filter and categorize the web even further than we already can. But it also represents a new level of viral socialization. has implemented a new tagging service which makes use of Flickr and

Tags allow bloggers to increase the value of individual posts within a blog by driving greater value into a topic at at large. An example could be if I write a post about "rc cars" on my remote controlled toys blog and I tag that post specifically with "rc cars". That post has just become much more searchable within my niche and adds another way for my content to be located and used by contributing to a specific information cluster about rc cars that is gathering beyond my blog discussion...

As the use of tags grows, new information clusters will form within the greater blogosphere via Technorati and tags will be a way of adding your content to these clusters. The idea of tags is to socialize and aggregate interests across blog posts and add a virtual layer (if you will) that kind of abstracts an additional layer of relevancy from the blogosphere that is searchable based on these named clusters of information called tags."

Source: (How to Blog for Fun and Profit)

How To Tag Your Content?

Some of the popular blog and content management systems integrate a tag box in which to include your tag list. You can also add rel tags manually or by publishing your content via a social media sharing site as they all support tags (Flickr, Youtube, Scribd, etc.)

To use multiple tags/keywords a "separator" character must be used. A popular one is the space character although a comma is preferable as it enables the use of phrases or multiple words to describe a concept.

For more information on tagging, here is the original 2005 Technorati rel tag specification.

Rel Tag FAQ

Rel Tag Issues

Video English Text Transcription

"Hi guys, here is Robin Good for MasterNewMedia.

Topic today? Tagging.

Tagging? What's tagging?

Tagging is placing tags on your post, pictures, videos, everywhere you post content online, you should be putting some tags, and you don't know what they are?

Tags are just keywords, basically keywords or short key phrases, that define what your digital object is all about.

They are just like labels. Well here my trump tree doesn't have any...yeah there is some love label here, it says "vita ti amo", that is "life I love you".

And so, you can label your stuff so that it can be found in more and different ways than normally people search for it. I mean if this was a digital artifact, a digital object, I may want to find it not just by asking tree, because maybe I need to picture something beautiful about life and nature and living and so, maybe by saying life or love, I could get also some of these pictures and it could be relevant to what I'm searching for.

Now I'm stretching this a little bit more than needed, but basically every digital object, whether that is an article or a picture, obviously can be seen and interpreted by many view points.

What is for me just a green in front me, for others could be a field to play or a park or a garden, even the words that define can be very many. So the more labels that could be relevant, that we can associate to some object online, the easier we make it for other people to find that stuff.

That's right!

We make it easier for other people to find that stuff by placing proper tags next to our content.

So how do you place these tags?

When you're publishing pictures online on your favorite photo sharing service, lets say Flickr, you have a space not only to put a title and a description, but also some tags next to it.

When you publish your posts through your favorite publishing platform, if you don't have them by default, certainly there are some pug-ins or some easy ways to add tags to your own posts, to your own news, to your own videos on YouTube.

And all these tags are going to help classify better your content, help other people find it, and if more people find your content, more people will come to your site or to read your content wherever that is available.

That's why it is important and useful to tag your content.

Ciao from Robin."

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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, April 1 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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