Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Technorati Tags, much ado about nothing?

Technorati Tags have been confusing me, hence the reason for this post...

Firstly, let’s try to make a distinction between Labels, Categories and Tags.
I have been using Blogger and this blogging platform uses “Labels”, while Wordpress uses “Categories”. Remark: Wordpress also started using Tags as an extra method of indexing content, which we could describe as being micro-categories. Technorati however only talks about "Tags".

Wordpress and Blogger (I will soon investigate TypePad) allow for your Blog feeds to automatically ping Technorati (and others) so your content gets indexed and your Posts become available through these Blog Search Engines.
For your content to contribute to the Technorati Tags pages however you need to use the category system in Wordpress or the labels system in Blogger. But, does it really matter? What good are the Technorati Tags doing to your Blog? 
You do not need to use Tags for your content to be indexed by Technorati (or Google Blogs)!

How would you search for content using a Blog Search Engine? Would you just search for Tags? I know I am not, I’d rather use the advanced search function on Technorati.

Also, why would I put loads of Technorati “tag” links at the end of a Post, summarising the tags I used? This would mean I am leading the traffic away from my own Blog. I would be ok with this, if Technorati’s Tag pages would send much traffic back. But it doesn’t for me. Maybe it does for you? Please let me know if you experience a different story.

Are all Technorati links at the end/bottom of a post to be avoided?
No, of course not! But simply linking back to a quite generic tag such as “Thailand” (mea culpa … been there done that) won’t do you any good. You could however link back to Technorati content that is directly related to your own post. Just check how Seth Godin uses “Technorati Links” at the end of his Posts. This still leads traffic away from his own Blog, but at least it shows the organic network of links towards his original post.

So, does this mean that we should completely forget about tagging/labeling/categorising our post’s content? Absolutely not! This is something you do for your readers in order to provide them with an easily accessible “Table of Contents” and eventually even sub-categorisation. (Wordpress uses this concept of sub-categorisation)

Add a “categories cloud”on your Wordpress Blog or a Labels page element on your Blogger Blog and readers will instantly be able to evaluate if the content will be of interest to them.
Your cloud, or list of labels, can be considered as a “Weighted Table of Contents”.
This obviously implies that you should be careful when using categories for “labeling” content.

To summarise:

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