Categories, Tags, and How to Avoid Duplicate Content on WordPress

Categories, Tags, and How to Avoid Duplicate Content on WordPress

Smart content creators realize they publish for two audiences; search engines and web users.

Organizing your WordPress site in the right way will help you to avoid duplicate content penalties in the search engines, plus keep your readers interested and keep coming back for more.

Keep reading to find out how-to avoid a duplicate content disaster on your WordPress site…

avoid duplicatee content on WordPress
Avoid duplicate content penalties on your WordPress site by properly organizing blog content, categories, tags and links.

The default installation of WordPress offers 3 basic taxonomies for organizing your site’s posts: categories, tags and links. Unfortunately this setup may leave an unsuspecting blogger or novice webmaster into dangerous territory if not managed properly.


Categories allow you to group posts together by sorting information into relative subject matter.

For illustration, let’s say your WordPress site topic is “Colors of the Rainbow.” (I know, bear with me.)

There are 7 basic colors in a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Since your site’s content is going to be just about rainbows, and with only 7 colors in a rainbow, ideally you would need just one category for each color.

Site category example:

  • Colors of the Rainbow (site topic)
    • Red (category)
    • Orange
    • etc…


Tags are similar to categories, but more free-form and less general in nature.

For example if you place 3 posts under the category of “red” on your rainbow website, you could use a tag of “light, dark, or medium” to further describe the precise color you are referring to in that particular post.

Tags should only be used to filter your site’s content into more narrow sub-topics. If you find yourself wanting to tag a post with the same heading as your category, think again.

Proper tag example:

  • Colors of the Rainbow (site topic)
    • Red (category)
      • light (tag)
      • medium
      • dark


Links tend to be useful for sharing similar content on a site, and are usually not exposed on a default WordPress installation. Links are mostly used as a collection of entry points that direct readers and search engines to groups of similar relevant information.

You might notice links being most often displayed in sidebars. (Think blogroll.)

Too many links and your site can appear malicious to search engines. Not enough internal linking and you may leave your readers without a way to find your best content.

An effective link example includes using words or phrases that a potential web searcher would type into a search engine to find your site topic in search results.

Categories, tags, links and duplicate content

Check out what  Google says about understanding your content management system.

By default, WordPress creates a page for each category and tag, then organizes all post and content associated with them. This means that if your categories and tags are improperly organized then you might be found guilty of displaying the same information several times throughout your site on multiple pages.

That is the text book definition of duplicate content.

Below is a recent video from Matt Cutts, with the best way to avoid duplicate content via links on your site:

Good search engines aim to give web searchers the best possible experience by displaying the most relevant information, the goal of any decent webmaster should be to do the same.

To learn more about optimizing your WordPress blog or website, you may also be interested in reading: How-to SEO your WordPress website.

If you’ve got the basics down, and are ready to for a more advanced all-in-one SEO solution that will help you to rank higher in the search engines check out the ultimate WordPress SEO plugin.