Tag, You’re It!

So what is “tagging” and how did it evolve?  Tagging is a product of Web 2.0 evolution and can best be describe by assigning a keyword or term to a specific item such as an image file, video, bookmark, or other types of digital assets.  Tagging became most recognized through sites like Flickr.com where users tag content…not developers.  In a Web 2.0 environment where users can categorize and tag content, images and video, those groups of tags become what is known as a “folksonomy” (also referred to as social tagging).

Tagging digital assets is know an active part of social media marketing and organic search engine optimization.  Tagging digital assets makes them much more searchable.  And as universal search becomes more relevant, users searching the web will generate all kinds of results…not just web pages.

You may have also see what are referred to as “tag clouds”.  A tag cloud is often used on a blog, social network site, or photo sharing site where taggging is a common form of bottom-up classification (i.e. users generating the tags and there are an unlimited set of classification possibilities).  The top-down approach or “hierarchy” is usually when the designer or developer assigns the classifications and parers.  A tag cloud is the funny looking random group of keywords where some words are a larger font size than others.  The group of keywords represents relevant terms related to the overall content.  The keywords displayed in larger font are more relevant and most likely appear more often in the content.  Whether tag clouds were designed for search engine optimization, I am not so sure…

Tag clouds are often created in JavaScript or Flash and when you click on a keyword it queries the site to run a search and then will display “results” with that specific keyword in the content.  This process by definition is not very SEO friendly nor does it seem as relevant from a user perspective.  If a tag cloud on a blog for example was designed for SEO purposes and user friendliness, it should be created in HTML and the links would display actual articles that contain the keyword.  I am sure it could be designed this way but most common tag clouds out there are not SEO friendly.  Maybe I am missing something…

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