Here is a long note I wrote about proper tagging in the website. I hope to expand on this and/or make it prettier and easier to follow.


Tags vs. Relevanssi

Tags are meant as a cross-referencing scheme. Their goal is to connect related posts. While they may play a part in searches, that is not their primary purpose. If you add too many tags, the long list in the metadata looks bad and makes cross-referencing more confusing.

If, instead, your goal is to add more terms for searching to accommodate the many different ways people might think about or name a topic, it is much better to use the Relevanssi fields. Those terms do not appear on the page. They are directly referenced in the search function and there’s no such thing as “too many” relevanssi terms. You should always add your tags to the Relevanssi field at the very least. And feel free to keep adding terms after that. There is also an “ignore” field in Relevanssi. Use that if you worry that some term you use might pick up a “false positive.” Also, I advise against checking the “pin to all posts” checkbox unless what you are posting is going to be the definitive page for a topic.

Existing duplicates

If you find that two similar tags already exist in the website, just choose one of the tags, it doesn’t matter very much which one. We can fix the issue later when we go through and de-duplicate. But one tag is better than two.

Choosing the best tag

Really, the best choice of tag is the tag that already links more posts. The way you find this is to open a separate window and go to the WordPress dashboard. Then, hover your mouse over Posts so the sub-menu appears. One of the sub-menu items is Tags. If you choose that, you will get to the website’s listing of all existing tags. The farthest right column of the tags listing is the number of posts linked by that tag.

Note: This listing is searchable and the order in which tags appear can be changed by clicking the column header. Also note that the list is “paginated,” so use the numbered links at top right to skip to another part of the listing.

Fix existing tags

If you see a tag that doesn’t conform to the guidelines (e.g. it is not capitalized) use Quick Edit to fix the tag’s name. Probably leave the slug alone (slugs must be all lowercase, anyway), since that’s what WordPress uses to link the posts and I don’t know if it will relink all the posts when you change it. But the tag name is fair game.

De-duplicate tags

While you’re at it, you can do your own combining. If you click on the number of posts for a tag (right column), it will take you to a listing of all the posts tagged with that particular tag. Do that for the “competing” tag with fewer posts linked (lower number). Go through that list of posts and change the tags to only have the one that will remain. When finished with the process, that list (if you refresh) should say 0 at the number of linked posts. You can then safely delete the tag.

Please note, if you don’t have Admin permissions, “your mileage may vary” as far as the appearance of the tags and your permission to make changes. But give it a try and see what you can do. I can’t remember which of you is listed as an Admin and which as an Editor with slightly fewer permissions (and significantly less risk of making drastic changes to the site). It’s quite possible that people with either permission set can edit the tags, anyway.