REVIEW: How to Clean Up Your Topic Pages

The arrival of the new year means it’s clean-up time–for your house, your garden, and for your topic pages! With legislative sessions around the corner in most of our states,  we want our tag buildouts and topic pages ready and clear so that our audience can find your content easily.

StateImpact Pennsylvania

So let’s review what our founding parents said about topic pages, or tag buildouts:

1. New tag buildouts/topic pages

To get started, read Elise’s post “What, Why and How on Tag Buildouts“. The post includes a video that tells you how to build a new topic page.

2. Managing your tags

Use Matt Thompson’s post “How to classify your posts & manage your tags” as a reference to manage your tags. Here’re some highlights.

The best tags are the dis­crete enti­ties (i.e. spe­cific indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions) named in your posts. In gen­eral, it’s best to use full names rather than abbre­vi­a­tions. Instead of tag­ging posts with “Obama,” use “Barack Obama.” It’ll look bet­ter as the title to a topic page, and it will aid search engine optimization.

It helps to start off by cre­at­ing a set of tags you know will be salient to your beat, and think­ing through which types of posts each tag would apply to. For every site, we’ve asked the edi­tors to do this work in advance, so you should have a good list to start from.

In addition, try to avoid overlap or redundancy in your tags. If you’re pro­duc­ing a site about orga­nized labor, you want to avoid hav­ing a tag for “bar­gain­ing” and another for “nego­ti­a­tions.” Hav­ing two over­lap­ping tags dilutes your search engine opti­miza­tion and increases the like­li­hood that nei­ther topic page will rep­re­sent an author­i­ta­tive view of the topic in question.

In order to avoid overlaps in your tags, use Word­Press’ “auto-suggest” and “most used tags” features. After you start to type a few let­ters into the “Add New Tags” input box, Word­Press will sug­gest options from your exist­ing tags that match what you’ve typed.

Most impor­tantly, be con­sis­tent and dis­ci­plined in your tag­ging.

3. Merge and delete tags

If you found your tags don’t fit Matt Thompson’s rules on tags, or if you’ve discovered that you have overlapping tags (gasp!), it’s time to do some cleaning. To that end, here’s a quick tutorial on merging and deleting tags.

There. Now doesn’t that feel good to get that done?

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