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Do Article Tags Matter?

Anyone who has ever spent time inside a CMS has been given the option to “tag” their articles. Tagging, traditionally associated with search engine optimization (SEO), allows authors to add metadata keywords to articles to help search engines understand the content of the article better.

Somewhere between the discovery of keyword stuffing and many Google algorithm updates, tagging now serves less of a purpose for SEO. Today, tags are most frequently used as a secondary navigational structure within publishing sites.

But are sites using this data? In our latest Authority Report, the Parse.ly team wanted to know how tags are being used by digital publishers, and if there are any global trends.

Our Findings: High Adoption, but for What Purpose?

70 Percent of Publishers Use Tags

Among other findings, Parse.ly discovered that seven out of 10 publishers in our network are using tags — though not in every post. When we looked for correlations — in traffic size, traffic per post, post length, etc. — the most interesting finding was that there wasn’t any! We did not find any correlation with the amount of tags a site used and its visitors. Further, we did not find any significant correlation between the length or popularity of a post and the number of tags used.

See the full results of our study by subscribing to the Authority Report here.

If tags aren’t correlated with any major audience metric, then what are digital publishers hoping to gain by using tags?

Finding Out More About How Publishers Use Tags

We’re continuing to peruse our data for additional trends, but the Parse.ly team also wanted to go straight to the source: people using tags everyday.

For this effort, we need your help. The two-minute poll below will help us to discover more about tags, and help us to understand our data better. We’ll be sharing the findings with the community once they’re completed!

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