A big part of digital marketing strategies is to use blogs to get your website listed and ranked higher in any Google keyword searches. Selecting blog categories is very important, especially if you’re already on 50 episodes, because it helps your audience when they are searching for a specific topic. The right blog category can help your ranking in Google search if a keyword phrase is configured to focus on that blog post. Another important aspect of podcast blogs are tags which are words that are identified to be relevant to the post. It’s similar to when you are posting a video on your YouTube channel, iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher. They use the same tag system when they index an episode out.
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Selecting Blog Categories For Visibility And Relevance
We’ve got a good subject related to digital marketing. Everybody from our audience most likely has a website and has a blog. Blogs are a big part of your digital marketing strategy. If they’re not, they should be. That’s the best way that you’re going to get your website to rank on all kinds of different organic keywords in Google Search. We’ve had other episodes that take a deeper dive into that subject in and of itself. That’s an earlier episode of Feed Your Brand. If you’re looking at that you can go to FeedYourBrand.co and check that out. Categories for blogs and tags for blogs. Alexandra, what are they?
Whenever you have any WordPress or any other type of website that you’re creating a blog on, you create posts in a blog. Those posts can be categorized. Your default will always be uncategorized until you change that in your settings and until you start adding other categories. Normally the default is uncategorized, which looks bad to Google and not so great to your reader either. It looks like you aren’t really sure what topic it should go in. It’s important to make sure you always have those categories selected and created.
Let’s say that all of my blogs are related to business, forming corporations or different things related to business structure. There’s a lot of business and entrepreneurial podcasts. That’s my business. It’s all just business related so why do I need to have different categories?
That way, once you get to the point where you have 200 episodes and you have that many blogs, or you just have those blogs without podcast episodes, your reader can search for a specific topic. It also is helping with your keywords because those topics that you’re categorizing under should be some keyword that you touch on often. A lot of people will do forming a corporation as a category because they’ll do all different episodes on forming a corporation. They’ll do a bunch of different episodes on how to pitch to get investors or how to source your real estate deals. Those are all categories within bigger ones, like real estate and business or investing as general higher categories that you would say your entire website would cover.
Let’s say you are doing book reviews. Book reviews could be a category. Self-help could be a category or resources. You should choose categories that are relevant to what the subject is. You can have multiple categories that a blog post is associated with.
Some of our most highly ranked websites use at least five or more categories when they’re creating blog posts. These are websites that have hundreds of posts within their website. You can have more categories because you have more blogs to categorize.
Not everybody’s website blog, I’ve learned and seen over time, has a search function enabled to search through their blogs. It’s something that at least WordPress site can add. The more blogs you have, the more important it is to allow your site visitors to be able to search on a subject area. You can also have it so that there could be a drop list of categories and they could just filter the blog results. Probably the most recent blogs would be at the top but you could filter the ones within a certain category.
That’s what I’ve seen the most effective for people with 500 plus blog posts on their website. It’s to create under their blog heading on their menu bar. If they have dropdown menu where they have all of the sub-categories listed that they think are most important to the people visiting their site. They might not have every blog category that’s on their website in that dropdown menu. Some people have over twenty different categories. That’d be a long dropdown menu. They pick the top four most important and then they make sure that people can search. I’m looking for how to file a patent. I know I want to get it on your website, but I don’t know where that blog post is because that blog post is six months old, so it’s down at the bottom of the list. It’s important to have a search function on your website for your blog posts.
The other thing that is really important to understand about blog categories is that they can be helpful in getting your posts ranked on Google Search as well. It is recommended, and certainly we always do this, to configure each blog post for a focus key word phrase. Google will associate that focus keyword phrase with all sorts of other keyword phrases it finds with the blog post, but it will also associate it in rank and in relation to the categories that the blog post is configured for. That’s a little understood aspect that can be beneficial and helpful in getting your posts to rank higher. If you don’t categorize it at all and it’s uncategorized, you’re like, “They’re all my blogs. They’re just blogs. Put them in the blog. What do I care?” That doesn’t help you. Google may ding you and rank that post lower because there is no category associated with it.
Let’s talk about tags for a minute. Tags are not used as much today as they used to be. Tags in the past, in the early days of Google and other search engines, similar to blog categories, but little differently. Tags are just words that you identify as relevant to whatever the post is. The tags were often used to help Google or help the search engine categorize and rank your post. In internet 2.0, the modern internet we have today, very few search engines use those tags today. I’m talking the big search engines like Google and Yahoo. Bing is the one exception. As I understood it a couple of months ago and I don’t think it’s changed yet, is one of the few search engines that still uses tags significantly. How many people use Bing? It’s 1% or 2% of the market. We do still tag blog posts with keywords when we create our blog posts, but it’s not as important as it used to be.
Ina couple of places it is still really important. Tags are still used significantly for YouTube videos. You’ll notice when you upload a video and you create it, there is a tags section. That is one exception. On YouTube, tags are significant help and you definitely want to add a lot of tags to any videos you upload to YouTube. The same thing goes for podcasts on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, any of the different distribution channels for podcasts. When you’re publishing the audio, the MP3 file as a podcast post, the only things that are in a podcast post are the title of the podcast, the subtitle, the description, and then tags. All those things are used by the search function on iTunes, the search function on Stitcher, the search function on Google Play. When people go to iTunes, for example, and they’re going, “I want to find a podcast on exercise or exercise techniques or the best ab exercises, or the best aerobic exercise routines.” You can see how this gets into searching on things. If you tag your podcast with different relevant tags, it’s going to help it come up in those search results.
It’s almost as if tags are the keyword searches of Google, but for podcast directories like iTunes and Stitcher. It’s very important. We always tag it with the podcast name, the host’s name, the guest’s name, and then the topic. We normally do the topic in a couple different ways. You may phrase it if you were to search it. If you were talking about a new fitness technique, you definitely knew the name of that fitness technique and then you do, “How to make my arm stronger,” or “Faster weight loss.” That isn’t exactly whatever the keyword was for that topic, but maybe something else someone would search for and they’d want to hear this podcast for that term as well.
That gets to be a difficult exercise in the very beginning. Trying to put your head in place of a potential listener and what things might they be searching on that you would want your podcast to show up for. That’s the mental exercise you go through. There are tools you can use to search on Google and find out what people are searching for every month or in the last 30 days. What the volume of searches are for different keywords, you can go a little crazy with it and hyper load tags into these things. It’s very much worth doing because it’s an important aspect of how the search tools in those different podcast channels work. If you’re entering in tags, they go, “It’s really not that important.”Realize that the only thing that the search bar in iTunes is going to be able to go on is the title, subtitle and the description for your podcast, which now can be quite long. They’ve made those 4,000 characters.
They updated that were. iTunes allows now up to 4,000 characters. I would definitely separate it into separate paragraphs because I’m not positive that’s the same for Stitcher, Google Play, or all of the other places. They may still be shorter, so it’s always good to have it in two separate paragraphs. That way, if for whatever reason Stitcher or Google Play only allows the first half of it, you’re still showing up a full description, but more detail in the second paragraph to fill out iTunes, which you want to do because that’s how people are going to find you.
Thank you for mentioning that. Categories and tags. How important are they? Quite important. You do want to pay attention to them. Here’s the good news though. If you haven’t been doing this, it’s never too late. We had an interview with Sean Kavanaugh. He is the Content Manager for Income Store. By content, I mean blog content. This guy, it’s his profession and he knows his stuff. Sean shared with us that Google is actually rewarding when you update old posts. I’m not just talking about with categories and tags. I still think you should do that if you don’t have any tags or any categories selected, go back and do it. Even updating a little copy in those old posts, like adding a paragraph that, “Here’s some recent news to add to this blog post or whatever.” If you update a blog post, that actually can do a lot to help get that post higher ranking. I think the same thing is true and I actually know it is with iTunes and all the different podcast distribution channels or aggregators, they’re all checking your podcast RSS feed every single day for new content. If you were to go into all your existing podcast episode posts that are syndicated to all those channels, because they don’t have tags today and you enter tags in them all tomorrow when iTunes goes and scrapes your feed for new content, not only going to scrape it for new content, it will update all those episodes with all the new tags and any changes to your description, subtitle, anything that you have in that post. It is absolutely worth going back and updating those things if you haven’t been doing this all along.
It’s important to make sure that you’re doing it at the end of the day. If you haven’t been doing it, I would go back and start selecting those blog categories and selecting those tags.
You can make the categories be whatever you want on your website. You can create as many categories as you need to. There is no limit to it and no right or wrong answers as to what they should be. Make sure it makes logical sense to you at least. Have one or two other people look out and see if it makes sense to them.
Categories are a way to section off your blog posts into smaller categories for people that may be more relevant to them. Get other people’s opinions on whether or not they feel like these categories are something they would search for as well or categorize as.
You can also model what other people are doing on other sites. You can check other similar subject matter sites. Not that you need to copy theirs by any means, but you can get a good idea of the different kinds of categories that are out there and what you might do for yourself. We felt that this is a really underserved subject. Sometimes a forgotten and underutilized technique in helping to make your content on your website and your podcasts the best that they can be and help them be found so you can be heard. That’s the most important thing we want here is when people are looking for what you have to offer that they can find you.
This is the best practice we use every day and we want to make sure you knew about it and were using it too.
You can go to the blog post at FeedYourBrand.co to find relevant images to this. We’ll have some example images up there of some different categories. Some screenshots from WordPress where you can see some of these things and also some of the tags for your podcast and things like that. You can go see how that looks and know what to look for if you’re going to do it on your site. Some of the different resources we talked about, there will always be links and information on the blog posts. Make sure you go check that out. If you haven’t already followed us on Facebook, you can find us anywhere there at Feed Your Brand.
For this episode, this has been Tom and Alexandra on Feed Your Brand.