Topic Tags - What purpose do they serve?


(Blu McCormick) #1

What is the function of topic tags?

Do they enhance the topic’s detection when searching the forum?
Do they increase the changes of being detected by a search engine like google?
For the people who use them to organize topics, do you need a plugin, and what type of sorting are people generally doing?

Thanks in advance.

(Mittineague) #2

If you’re interested in SEO in regards to Tags, go to your Google account and you should be able to gain some insight regarding your tags.

We (SitePoint) use tags for the benefit of members. There are the “cross reference” tags, eg. if a topic primarily discusses CSS, but also has a lot of JavaScript involved, the topic might be in the CSS category with a “javascript” tag instead of having two similar topics in each category. And there are “not ready for a dedicated sub-category” tags. For example, if there is frequent interest in “jQuery” but not so much that the Admin feels there is a need for a jQuery sub-category under the JavaScript category, those topics get the tag. If at some point a lot of topics get a particular tag the Admin might decide a dedicated category for it would be a good thing. And they can be a help to members. For example, if a member is interested in HTML, bootstrap especially, the bootstrap tag helps them find those topics. Obverse, if a member is interested in HTML topics but has no interest in bootstrap, the tag lets them skip those topics.

(Blu McCormick) #3

Thanks, @Mittineague.

Asking an obvious question. Do the tags ensure that if a person searches for that term (tag) that the tagged topic will come up? Is that the benefit of the tag? What is the benefit of tags for searches if the term is in the text of the topic anyway? Wouldn’t the “target word” in a topic be sufficient to bring that topic up in a search?

Just to clarify if the topic includes html and bootstrap, they’ll get that article in an html search, right? Does tagging somehow trump regular words in a search?

If anyone knows of a few topics that would be good for a noob like me to review, by all means, direct me. :thinking:

(Michael Howell) #4

At Janitor, our biggest use of tags is to hook into other tooling. For example, when a blog post is marked “published,” we have a webhook that makes it show up here. Importantly, the “published” tag is staff-only, so while anybody can create a blog post, only a moderator or admin can make it show up on the main page.

(Blu McCormick) #5

Nice. It seems to me like there are a lot of cool things you can do with tags to organize and improve functionality in the forum.

(Mittineague) #6

On the topic list pages, tags are shown with the topic title

On the tag topic list page the categories are shown with the topic titles

Those are more for “at a glance scanning”. Search offers more defined results - only topics in a category that also have the tag.

(Jeff Atwood) #7

We wrote a blog post about tags: It’s Time We Talked About Tags

(Blu McCormick) #8

That was very helpful. I am going to use tags to assign authors to blogs.

(Christoph) #9

The feverbee use case mentioned in the blog post is actually quite fascinating. But I believe their homepage is custom tailored and not easily achievable on an “ordinary” discourse instance, right? Are there any plans for making something similar available in core?


It’s all just CSS on a Business tier hosted plan. There are no plugins involved.

(Richard Millington) #11

we just try to make it look complicated :slight_smile: