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The Tagging Pyramid

September 22, 2013

A question I often get asked is how much, and with what should I be tagging my blog posts and website pages?

Here’s what I am addressing the question with:

Randy’s best practices for tagging

  • 9-12 tags
  • 2-5 words per tag
  • Keep the tags relevant
  • Some of your tags should be easy key-phrases you are looking to win
  • Some of your tags should be halo phrases that are relevant, but you likely won’t win
  • Some of your tags should be relevant just for the content in question.

In order:

9-12 Tags:  You’ll see a bit later in this post why 9 tags is a good best practice, and you can also consider adding a bit more up to 12 when it’s relevant.

2-5 Words per tag: more and you are likely getting too specific, though your individual key-phrase strategy may be different.

1 word tags should only be used for your company name or location.

 Relevant tags:  Does the tag pass a 1 second reality test-  if you told me your blog/page was about (your tag) would you be able to keep a straight face?  If not, don’t tag it in that way.


Now, the last 3 bullet points are a bit confusing, so here’s how I’m breaking it up:

You always want to have a few easy, specific key-phrases you can win.

The reporter’s 5 why’s work perfect here:

Who- Wrote the blog post

Who- Company name (yours)

Who- Person or company the blog is about and/or mentions

What- paraphrase the title

When- is the time/date relevant?

Why- is the topic relevant (2-3 word summary)

Where- is there a place of business? Incident? Residence?

'Where' is useful because it gives search engines hints about where you do business.

How- applies if you used a technique or process in the blog.

That, is the foundation for our pyramid-  those are the building blocks that permit us to work for harder things.

First, paraphrase the blog title in a different way, ideally without using the same words.

Second, and really, for each other key-phrase in this row, this is where your Search Engine Key-phrases come into play.

What Key-phrases that you want to own should be tagged here?

Your key-word strategy helps choose here greatly, and since you are writing at least some targeted content, the first three tags should be fairly easy (and in your key-phrase list!)

Your top Key-phrase can be a halo term, or, what I’ll refer to as a Grail term.  There is a good chance you’ll never reach a Grail term (a grail term is an extraordinarily hard term to rank for, that it is likely you never will without modifiers, but can be worth trying to optimize for because the reward in quality search volume is so high.)

What is a Grail-Term? 

If you are using Hubspot or MOZ, (and if you are reading this far, you should be) any key-phrase with a difficulty of over 70 should be considered a Grail phase.  You won’t likely ever win that phrase.  It might be so powerful that you’ll want to shoot for it anyway.


Here’s the pyramid:

Leading Results Tagging Pyramid



Layer on the baseline terms.  Those are important, and those are your foundation that any more specific key-phrases need to stand on.



Written by leadingresults

Leading Results helps businesses stop wasting money on marketing and improves their business development results by putting POWER in their marketing. The POWER is the Processes, Organizational Support, Why (you do what you do), Expertise and Refer-ability. You get strategy, tactics and execution. We work with both individual businesses and businesses as part of a larger ecosystem. Be more profitable.

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