WordPress 2.3 Meta & Keyword Tagging

WordPress 2.3 Tagging

I’m the last person that should be trying to explain tagging in WordPress. I’ve spent the better part of two days trying to duplicate the way I had tagging set up in the earlier version of WordPress. It took a great deal of searching but I think I finally have a system that gets me back close to what I had before.

First I need to explain what I had set up for tagging and how it worked.

I used Ultimate Tag Warrior in combination with Tags in the Head to set up a combination of meta tags and technorati tags.

I’ve discovered in the process the word “tag” has so many different meanings in context it isn’t any wonder so many people are confused. Therefore we have to have a common ground of discussion in order to understand what it is I’ve spent two days trying to accomplish and how I finally got there, I think.

Meta Tags

Meta Tags are placed in the header section of the page or post and provide information for the search engines. The Meta Tags most commonly used are:

  • meta name=”keywords” content=”real estate blog lab, real estate bloggers”
  • meta name= “description” content=”A real estate blog lab for real estate bloggers”

The tags above are examples and not the actual tags. You can see keywords are a list of keywords. Each post would have a set of keywords associated with the post and they would appear in the keywords tag. Each post would have a description tag which I set as the first 100 characters of the post.

Tags in the Head put these in the Header of the page or post. There would be a special description created for the Home Page, Archive Pages, Category Pages, which are special. The Options page provided a place to enter the description for each of these types.

The example above would be keyword and description tags set for the home page. These too were configured in the Tags option setup page of Tags in the Head.

There as never been integrated support in WordPress for these tags and there still isn’t.

Article or Post Tags

Ultimate Tag Warrior was great at providing a place in the visual editor for adding tags to individual posts. It also had a way to get keyword suggestions from Yahoo. These tags “keywords” were configured in the UTW options page. Here you could select from a wide variety of formatting options tailoring how and where the tags would be displayed.

I always had my post tags appear at the end of the post and I optioned to use Technorati Tags instead of internal Tags. What’s the difference? I knew you were going to ask.

Technorati Tags

Technorati Tags mean when you click in the tag it functions as a search at Technorati on the term of the keyword. If you clicked on a tag “Real Estate Blogging” It opens Technorati and performs a search for “Real Estate Blogging” bringing up sites or posts that match from their index. It means these tags were associated with Technorati.

Internal Tags

Internal Tags are tags specific to your blog. When clicked on they function like an instant search of your blog for all posts that have that tag associated with them. Click on an internal tag and a page will open with an excerpt of all post with this tag.

Internal Tags are what were added to WordPress in the 2.3 release version. At the bottom of the Visual Editor is a place to type a list of comma separated keywords for the post which are “tags” Because this functions the same way as clicking on a Category Name the Categories are sometimes referred to as Tags. CATEGORIES ARE NOT TAGS! They have a similar function and display when clicked on if displayed in the sidebar, but the primary function of Categories are two fold:

  • File drawers where posts filed under that Category can be retrieved easily
  • When used with a custom permalink structure the Categories become URL Keywords.

The second function is the mission critical function which goes beyond the scope of this post but I throw it in here because Categories are being lumped in as Tags by some. Again, CATEGORIES ARE NOT TAGS

Modifying Your WordPress Theme

Unlike the plugins that when activated and options are set the tags appeared; not so in this implementation, in order to use these tags you have to modify your theme in two places. The Main Index Template and the Single Post.

The code you need to insert is:

  • <?php the_tags(‘before’, ’separator’, ‘after’); ?>
  • <?php the_tags('Post Tags:', ',', ''); ?>

The first is the syntax positioning the second an example which would display tags in this manner:

  • “Post Tags: Real Estate Blogging, SEO, WordPress 2.3 Upgrade”

Before = “Post Tags:” Separator = “,” After = ” nothing

This is how I have tagging set up right now as you can see at the end of this post.

Where are All My Old Tags?

Tada, when you read about upgrading to 2.3 it says the UTW tags or other tagging system tags are automatically imported and available in the new native tagging system. GREAT, I love it. Only one Problem, IT WASN’T TRUE! At least not in my upgrade. So how do you get those tags imported into the new system?

Go to the manage Tab and click on Import. There you will find a list of application and plugins. Select the system you were using and import the tags into the new tagging system. Yes they are all there at least mine were.

There is another little download from UTW to manage tags under the new system. You can download and install that as well. I won’t go into it here, but one reason you might want to do this. If you typed in your own tags in the past using ex. Tucson Real Estate the tag would be Tucson-Real-Estate. If you used the Yahoo tag suggestion tool and got Tucson_Real_Estate, that is a different tag. So is Tucson-real-estate. Yes tags are case sensitive in the internal tagging system. You might want to clean these tags up consolidating them into a single tag. UTW Tag Manage Thing

Tagging Suggestions Plugin

Ultimate Tag Warrior as we have known it no longer exists. As of this writing there are three components which can be downloaded and activated separately. The first is:

Ultimate Tag Warrior – Tag Suggestion Thing

When activated it will put a Tag Suggestions window in the right hand navigation. It will be located at the bottom, but you can grab it move it up to the bottom of the editor window so the suggestions appear on screen close to the tagging window at the bottom of the editor. Personally, I find it is so basic in tag suggestions, I wouldn’t bother installing it.

WordPress has a nasty habit of putting a leading tag separator in you tag line window. This in effect creates an empty tag. Check for this, you may have to delete that leading , in your tag line several times if you are saving, previewing, editing more. Sometimes yes Sometimes No. Just look for it.

Technorati Tags

I haven’t used internal tagging in the past preferring to use Technorati Tags instead. However, WordPress 2.3 tagging does not support this. So I had to go looking for a plugin that would. Gromful has a plugin for 2.3 Technorati Tags It is easy to download and install and place the code <?php the_techtags();?> In both the Main Index Template and Single Post.php. I put it right after the internal tagging with a couple of break codes in between.
This will new take all the tags you have designated for the post and display them as Technorati Tags taking you to Technorati when clicked upon.

But How are you handling Meta Tags and Why do you use them?

This I will cover in a separate post hopefully yet today.

Finally, I know this post turned into a tome.   Please ask questions if there is something which isn’t clear.   I will have a post yet this weekend (I hope) on other issues with WordPress 2.3. Yes I got the spell checker to work. There does appear to be a bug in the RTE (Rich Text Editor) for adding Links and Images to a post. I’ve found a work around for that as well.

Some things have been moved around to new locations and I know there are things I haven’t found yet but probably will soon.   (Sorry No Pictures in this Post)


  1. Thanks Dave. That’s the code I was looking for. Let me ask you a question. What’s so great about technorati tagging?
    do readers actually use it? Do you see appreaciable traffic coming from technorati?

  2. Todd,

    Technorati of late has been so flaky I don’t know that it has effected traffic to the site.

    But I like having those tags and the relationship to the outside searches.

    The main reason I like tagging is the indexing of those tags by the search engines.

    I know there is a lot of SEO “wisdom” flying around about “duplicate content” and not having your tags indexed. However, like testing photo equipment in the lab, it isn’t a perfect world on the search engines and I’ve often found a post not in the index, while a tag on the post was. End result the post gets found. Without those tags being indexed it is as if the post doesn’t exist.

    I think there is a lot of old news SEO out there. Maybe in the old days these things were true. I have to believe Google is smart enough to know the difference between tag pages and duplicate content. After all it even returns “tag” in the results.

    Personally I don’t find internal tagging that great or useful. Tags for me come from the content and not Keywords I want to place for. This means I have lots of different tags not groups of tags used to organize internal site structures, but tags to be found by search engines for anyone searching on those tag terms in their queries.

  3. Dave,

    Tagging is difficult and my partner is better at this than I am. I the way you lay out the information is good. This is a hard subject to master let alone try to explain. I saw that you mentioned wordpress. Not to plug but today I was called by a new business that gave me one free press release to try it out. Finditt.com It is less expensive and does the same thing. I hope this helps your readers. I think it as least worth checking out. Because a free press release was worth it to me. I will write back next week and share my comparison/results of the two.