Tag cloud (© canjoena / Fotolia.com)
Tag cloud (© canjoena / Fotolia.com)

The tag cloud is a term and technique that has been around for a while. In fact, a few years ago, the tag cloud was immensely more popular than it is today. But that doesn’t mean that it is any less effective now. In fact, the tag cloud hasn’t really fallen out of fashion at all – it is just not being discussed as often as it used to. In this article, we’ll cover the tag cloud and why it is important.

 

What is the Tag Cloud?

The tag cloud is a visual representation of the tags that are associated with the content on a website. One of the most common ways that this is used is in the blogging world – particularly with the platform WordPress. Basically, the way it works is that by tagging your posts your tag cloud will grow as more and more tags are added. Another feature of the tag cloud is that the tags that are used most often are the largest ones. The size is proportional to the amount of times that the tag has been used throughout your entire blog. Usually, the tag cloud is located on the sidebar, or in some other prominent location in each tag is clickable, which means that if a user sees a tag that they want to read about, they can click on it within the tag cloud and be taken to the posts that contain those tags.

The Purpose of a Tag Cloud

The purpose of the tag cloud is to improve the user experience and to show visually what sort of tags make up the blog that you are reading. The tag cloud doesn’t actually serve a purpose when it comes to search engine optimization. In fact, many experts do not recommend the use of a tag cloud because tags can sometimes lead to duplicate content listings which Google frowns upon, as well as add to a poor user experience and lots of bounces because the articles that come up that are tagged with those keywords are not the ones that they had hoped for. But you can usually combat this by making sure that your tags are very specific and reflective of the content you are posting.

Expert Tips: How to Create an Effective Tag Cloud

Here are some tips on how to create an effective tag cloud and use it to make your blog or website better.

  • Make sure that you're taking into account which articles or subpages the keywords in your tag cloud are used.
  • Do not allow your tag cloud to grow to massive proportions. Do not use general keywords either, but just limit the size of your tag cloud so that it is sensible.
  • Make sure that whatever plug-in you're using to generate the tag cloud is weighing the respective keywords properly.
  • Make sure that the tag cloud fits in with the overall design of your website and does not detract from the more important parts. Do not try to shoehorn in a tag cloud when none is needed.
  • Make sure that there are navigational alternatives to using a tag cloud.

Summary

The tag cloud can definitely be a useful tool when it comes to building a website or blog. But the important thing to remember is that a tag cloud is mostly for aesthetic purposes rather than for search engine optimization. In some cases, tag clouds may be useful for readers to get to the topic they wish to explore, but the site owner must carefully use tags in that case to ensure a low bounce rate.


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