WordPress Multiple Tag Concatenation


Having used WordPress for over a year now I feel the time is right to share some tips I’ve found when creating pages, blog posts and mini-websites using WordPress . Some if not most are probably already being blogged but if not this may be of some use to you.

Combining Multiple WordPress Blog Tags for ‘Hybrid Pages’

I recently encountered the need to be able to segment my posts, to make them easier to categorise and hence link to allow visitors the ability to view relevant posts. Ever landed on a blog website and not known where to start when confronted by a long list of blog posts? Not very user friendly. Now if I create a post tagged ‘Customer Journey’ and another one called ‘Information Architecture’, someone visiting the website may want to filter out anything irrelevant aside from anything to do with ‘User Experience’ lets say.

There are a few options.

1. Let the user conduct a search (though we all know WordPress search is not the greatest…)

2. Add the tag ‘User Experience’ to your posts

3. Categorise your posts into ‘User Experience’

All 3 are viable options. However, with WordPress I discovered you can link to tags using

/tag/[TAG]

where the [TAG] is the single tag you wish to use; ensure you concatenate words using a hyphen e.g.

/tag/Customer-Experience

Will link to all posts tagged “Customer Experience”

However the smart guys at WordPress allow you to add 2 or more tags together e.g.

/tag/multi-channel+social-media/

which will search for all posts containing “multi channel” AND “Social Media”. Each tag is followed by the ‘+’ symbol. (currently nothing matches up!)

Finally if you wish to search for posts containing either keyword,

/tag/multi-channel,social-media/

hey presto, you’ve now searched all posts containing either tag using the comma as a separator. Clever? I think so…

The potential for this is three-fold

  1. Improved Usability – you can of course categorise your posts, but with ever changing post topics and varying tags you may have the need for ‘short term campaigns’ in terms of creating links to post categories to help users find information. Instead of changing categories you can simply choose which tags to point to. E.g. I’m blogging about holidays. As holidays are seasonal, I wish to now link to all beach holidays I’ve written about, in Europe that are ideal for families. Next month I wish to link to blogs related to winter holidays, in Europe ideal for families. Whilst categories would do the job (ensuring each and every post is categorised under ‘European Family Beach Holidays’ and ‘Winter European Family Holidays’ accordingly) it would be extremely time consuming should you wish to then also link to ‘Spanish Beach Holidays’ from your menu. Instead you can concatenate the tags and create links to all related posts.
  2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – For SEO purposes, creating links is fantastic. You can use your keywords, which are called keywords as you expect this to be usable by your users. In the same way search engines will look upon your link text, link URL, title and body content quite favourably should you keywords match all the way down to content. Used as a menu link this signals to the search engine that you consider it important and so may your users….
  3. Blog Fluidity – Static menus are always a must for usability when it comes to designing a website. Blogs are far from static so you do at times need ways to link to the most relevant posts at a higher level and this is where concatenating tags is extremely useful.

I’m sure there are other ways (e.g. using the ?tag= parameter) however in building strong, usable URLs I’ve found search engines and users alike get on well with this method!

There are some other enhancements I’ve made on other WordPress installations, such as displaying the tag query ‘meaningfully’ and creating specific page layouts depending on tags used and I’ll aim to blog these at some point…

Depesh

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8 thoughts on “WordPress Multiple Tag Concatenation

  1. You don’t know how long I’ve been looking for a function like this, and it turns out it’s already included! Here is what I would like to do:

    Get rid of all the categories and stuff, only use a lot of tags for every post. Instead of having categories in the menu, have different useful search combinations, like one titled “book reviews” that would show posts with tags “literature” and “review” or “literature” plus “in english”.

    The only thing that’s missing now is a function which allows the visitor to choose multiple categories to list. In the example above, perhaps a user would like to search for “literature” and “in english”, which is impossible in a category based system, but perfectly fine here.

    What do you think?

    Thanks for this post. It will take a while to tag roughly 1000 blog posts, but it might be worth it. 🙂

    /Olle

  2. Receiving your reply to the post has made it worthwhile – I’ve quite often been looking for tricks and tips so I’m glad I’ve been able to offer something back to the community!

    Perhaps what you’re after alongside that is a little search form? It is something that I created to work alongside the concat function such that I have a number of drop down lists so users can select ‘tags’ to combine and search with.

    Let me know, can send you the code

    Best Regards

    Depesh

  3. Thanks for revealing this Depesh. Deeply, deeply useful.

    What I am trying to do is find a way of having multiple tag combinations exposed to Google. For example, check out this Google search:

    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=telstra+bigpond+broadband+zdnet.com.au

    ZDNet exposes various combinations of tags to Google so that when people search on that combination of terms, ZDnet gets very high search ranking, with page titles like: Telstra, BigPond, Broadband | ZDNet Australia.

    Since multiple tag queries seem to have to be manually constructed in WordPress, I’m looking for a plugin which can create tag combinations and expose them to Google — preferably in a Google Sitemap or in an easily crawled HTML list.

    Ideally the plugin would analyse for each tag what the most commonly used tags in conjunction with that tag are, and build the links for Google around that.

    Anyone know of a plugin like this?

  4. Pingback: Wordpress Multiple Tag Concatenation « Depesh Mandalia | six

  5. I’m also looking for such a plugin (the one Dan is speaking about)

    does anybody found something in the meantime?

    It could help me a lot!!!!

  6. Can you send me the code?

  7. Brilliant tip, was looking for a way to use multiple dropdown lists and I think this might help :).

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