Categories vs Tags in Wordpress - Seeking help in Laymans Terms and specific instructions on how to do what I need

I'm doing some SEO work on my own Wordpress website to improve my chances of it popping up in search results and recently posted a question here where I got some very useful tips and information.

Per the information I've been given, I'm currently looking at Categories vs Tags as suggested by an expert in my other question.

I suggest you change this in WP to use /tag/page or /category/page https://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/categories-vs-tags/ 

My problem is that I don't fully understand the help article that I've been pointed to.

Can anyone explain the differences between the two to me in layman's terms, as well as perhaps include a screenshot or two of what I'm supposed to be changing and where, in Wordpress?

My wordpress skills are fairly basic so please don't assume too much knowledge - what I'm after is specific directions as to what to change and in what areas of Wordpress I'm supposed to be making those changes.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Regards, Andrew
LVL 28
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

KimputerIT ManagerCommented:
In Wordpress, categories, you usually setup beforehand (in the admin panel) , and maybe put them in a hierarchy like

category a
 - category a.1
 - category a.2
category b

It can also be easily listed if anyone is interested in your categories.

Tags, you usually do on the fly, short words describing what the post is about:
cooking, travel, etc etc

Both can be found using links or search. In the end, if you consistently use both responsibly, anyone interesting in one of your subjects (be it a category or a tag), they should be easy to find all post regarding this topic.
Chinmay PatelChief Technology NinjaCommented:
Hi Andrew,

I would take a chance here with example of EE. You can post a question in a topic area, the topic areas are Categories. Now, if we wanted to provided additional contexts to only this particular question, we would use Tags(Unfortunately EE does not have that feature). Central idea is Categories are well defined, generic and limited while tags are casual, very specific (To the post OR question) and are not restricted in terms of numbers.

Categories you will define at the Blog level via your dashboard

WP Categories
And tags you will define on each post, Assuming you are using Web interface of Wordpress to author these posts:

WP Tags
Regards,
Chinmay.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
Thank you Chinmay, that was exactly the type of explanation I needed.

Now I understand what the help article I looked at is talking about :)

Regards, Andrew
Scott FellDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
What I was referring to in the other question really was the taxonomy/url structure.  Wordpress gives you options to use categories and/or tags with page names.  

CATEGORIES:
consulting
security
servers
networking
Windows

TAGS:
virus
spyware
domains
backup
training
software

If you chose to set up WP for sitename/category/tag/pagename

example.com  - home page
example.com/security - main security page that will contain posts for everything with the category of  'security'.
example.com/security/virus - main page for all posts that contain the category 'security' and the tag, 'virus'
example.com/security/virus/wanna-cry  - detail page about wanna cry which contains the category security and tag virus.

You will want to get this all planned out to allow everything to line up correctly. There is no rule to go by except to be consistent. If you don't have enough information to use /category/tag/pagename, then just use categories.

If you do end up changing your taxonomy, then either use a plug in or update your htaccess/web.config to manage 301 redirects from the old to the new.
Andrew LeniartFreelance JournalistAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the additional information, Scott.

I plan to go over all my posts once I tidy up the categories - I recall setting them up yonks ago without really knowing what I was doing and the web guys I've hired to re-do the site for me professionally obviously just followed my lead and didn't change anything, despite telling me that SEO work was included in the (rather high) cost of redesigning the site. That horse has long since bolted so too late to do anything about it now.

I'm thinking of reducing the categories and inserting appropriate Tags by revisiting all of my previous posts. This will take a bit of work, but I'm hoping the effort will prove worth it.

Thanks also for the link to your answer in the other question on EE. Useful info there that I'll take on board.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Web Development

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.