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Taxonomy is the branch of science involved with classification, and blog taxonomy is the study of organizing your blog for both search engines and human beings.
Titles and descriptions play a part, along with the extent of how popular the article is through backlinks (also called inbound links) and comments. Every time someone searches for a keyword in Google or Bing, for instance, and views pages of results, those results are ranked according to numerous variables including backlinks. Articles become popular, or viral, through multiple backlinks and multiple comments — and accurate taxonomies.
Dissecting the blog taxonomy
If you want to view every article on this blog that is about Google, you will see a section of popular topics (a user-friendly synonym for tags) off in the right sidebar. Clicking Google will show you every article manually tagged with that description.
Have you ever visited a bookstore or a music store? Subject areas like Fiction or Rock are blog categories while individual authors or performers are blog tags. Using this analogy, this blog article is the book or the album that the categories and tags helped you find. Whether you are a human being with a need for information or a search engine ruled by algorithms, blog taxonomies help govern the structure.
I try not to employ more than one category per article, but I frequently attach numerous tags as appropriate. It’s best to think of categories as broad and tags as specific. Kirsten Wright shares how she uses blog categories to plan her weekly calendar of what to write, for instance. (And if you scroll to the bottom of her article linked in the last sentence, you will likely see a backlink from this site to her site.)
Once you create a taxonomy, you’re not obligated to maintain that structure forever. It is natural to change things (and WordPress plugins exist) whether you want to bulk edit articles and tags, or convert a tag to a category, or merge categories.
The goal of any taxonomy, in the blog world or in biology, is to make it easy to view the relationship between the things being classified. Make sense?