Using Post Categories To Improve WordPress SEO, User Navigation & Content Layout

Learn how to improve SEO, user navigation, and the content layout of your website or blog using post categories …

Using Post Categories To Improve WordPress SEO, User Navigation & Content Layout

WordPress post categories help keep your website and your content organized, boost your search engine rankings, and make it easier for site visitors to find what they are looking for.

WordPress post categories can also be used to improve your content layout.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at ways to improve SEO, user navigation, and the content layout of your website or blog using post categories.

Info

For a detailed step-by-step tutorial on WordPress post categories and how to set up and use categories in your posts, see the tutorial below:

Improve WordPress SEO, User Navigation & Content Layout With Post Categories

Categories are normally assigned to WordPress Posts, not Pages , so we’ll focus on posts in this tutorial (if you are unsure about the difference between posts and pages, see our tutorial on WordPress Posts Vs WordPress Pages).

Tip

If you need to add categories (and tags) to your WordPress pages, you can install a plugin like Post Tags and Categories For Pages.

Planning Your Categories

Even though WordPress is flexible enough to let you add new categories ‘on the fly,’ if you don’t plan your categories (and subcategories) properly, you will find it harder to keep your site organized and manageable as more content gets added to your site.

If you need help planning your website, your content, or your categories, see our website planning tutorials and our guide on keeping your website manageable and organized.

Improving WordPress SEO With Post Categories

The simplest and easiest way to improve WordPress SEO with post categories is to:

  1. Set up permalinks to include categories, and
  2. Install and configure an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO

Include Categories In Your Permalinks

Permalinks are a feature of WordPress that lets you set up search-engine friendly URLS (for more details, see our tutorial on how to set up and use WordPress permalinks).

When configuring your permalinks, all you need to do is make sure that post categories are included in the URLs …

Include categories in your permalinks

(Include categories in your permalinks)

This will automatically display search-engine friendly URLs with your categories (and subcategories) and post title keywords …

Search-engine friendly URLs with categories and subcategories included

(Search-engine friendly URLs with categories and subcategories included)

Use An SEO Plugin

Installing an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO will not only improve the SEO of your content, it also lets you optimize your post categories, category archive pages, etc. …

Optimize your post categories with an SEO plugin

(Optimize your post categories with an SEO plugin)

Adding category descriptions will display on some WordPress themes and can help to boost your content’s SEO …

Category descriptions can help boost your content's SEO

(Category descriptions can help boost your content’s SEO)

Once your permalinks and SEO plugin settings are configured for your post categories, WordPress will then automatically start delivering you the SEO benefits of search engine-friendly URLs and better content indexing.

Improving User Navigation With Post Categories

Post categories can be used to improve user navigation on your WordPress site in different pages and different sections of your site, on site maps, menus, sidebar widgets, archive pages, even different RSS feeds.

Here, for example, are some of the ways you can help users navigate your content using post categories …

Categories Widget

Adding a categories widget to your sidebar lets users find related content assigned to a category …

Add a categories widget to your sidebar

(Add a categories widget to your sidebar)

When users click on a category link on the categories widget, they are taken to a category archive page.

Category Archive Pages

Category archive pages group together all posts assigned to a category …

Category archive page

(Category archive page)

Breadcrumb Navigation Links

Breadcrumb navigation links display on some WordPress themes.  Displaying categories in breadcrumb navigation links not only helps to improve user navigation, but also SEO …

(Display categories in breadcrumb navigation links)

Clicking on the category section of the breadcrumb link will take users to the category archive page.

Info

If you use the Yoast SEO plugin and your WordPress theme does not support breadcrumb navigation links by default, you (or your website developer) will either need to edit your theme’s templates and add a snippet of code to display breadcrumbs, or choose a WordPress theme that supports features like breadcrumb navigation links (e.g. the Avada theme) …

Themes like Avada support breadcrumbs

(Themes like Avada support breadcrumbs)

Improving WordPress Content Layout With Post Categories

Post categories and subcategories can be used to help organize and improve the layout of your content.

For example, WPCompendium.org’s WordPress tutorials are organized into the main categories below:

If you click any of the above links, you will see pages displaying a list of tutorials for each category organized in a grid view layout …

List of posts grouped by category

(List of posts grouped by category)

Some sections, like our WordPress Plugin Tutorials, display a list of post sections grouped by subcategories …

List of post sections grouped by subcategory

(List of post sections grouped by subcategory)

Clicking on an item in the ‘WordPress Plugin Tutorials’ page will take you to a page displaying all the tutorials grouped under one of its subcategories, such as:

We use post categories and subcategories to organize, filter, and display content on WP Compendium’s tutorial sections using a premium plugin called Content Views Pro.

The plugin also has a free version, called Content Views.

Content Views

Content Views - Post Grid & List for WordPress

(Content Views – Post Grid & List for WordPress)

Content Views is a free WordPress plugin that lets you organize, filter, sort, and display your content using different views and layouts …

Use categories to display posts using different layouts

(Use categories to display posts using different layouts)

The plugin is very easy to use and lets you create unlimited custom views and layouts without touching code.

The free version of the plugin provides 3 basic layouts (Grid, Collapsible list, Scrollable list). The comprehensive premium version (Content Views Pro) provides the basic layouts and a whole lot more, including many advanced features  …

Display your content using different views and layouts with the Content Views Pro plugin

(Display your content using different views and layouts with the Content Views Pro plugin)

Although this tutorial focuses mostly on post categories, with Content Views Pro installed, you can create different views using posts, pages, and custom post types and filter these using a combination of different criteria including post categories, tags, publish date, post author, keywords, and custom fields.

You can also sort and organize your content using a wide range of methods, including post or page IDs, published date, modified date, drag & drop, post slug, comment count, menu order, custom fields, and even random sort (content displays in random order every time the page is refreshed) …

Create customized views to display content on your WordPress site

(Create customized views to display content on your WordPress site)

Views are created by selecting different options in the view-building form …

Create different content views by selecting options

(Create different content views by selecting options)

You can live preview your content as you build or edit your views …

Preview as you build

(Preview as you build)

After creating and saving your views, the plugin generates a shortcode which you can use to insert into your posts, pages, widgets, etc. …

Use shortcodes to insert views into your content

(Use shortcodes to insert views into your content)

The Content Views or Content Views PRO plugin gives you complete control over how your content is grouped and displayed to visitors. Views are 100% mobile responsive and the plugin is optimized to help improve SEO.

For more details about using the plugin, check out the video below, visit the FREE version plugin page here, or check out the Content Views Pro website for a full list of features, comprehensive demo site, plugin pricing and FAQ section, and more.

(Overview of WordPress Content Views)

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How To Convert WordPress Post Categories Into Tags And Vice Versa

Learn how to use the WordPress Categories and Tags Converter tool to convert categories into tags and vice versa. …

How To Convert WordPress Post Categories Into Tags And Vice VersaIf you are new to WordPress and not quite sure about the difference between WordPress post categories and WordPress post tags and how to use these to better organize and classify your content, then check out the tutorials below:

In this step-by-step tutorial, you will learn how to use the WordPress Categories and Tags Converter tool to convert post categories into tags and vice versa.

How To Convert WordPress Post Categories Into Tags And Vice Versa

Suppose your WordPress site has lots of categories that would work better as tags or that you use some tags in your content so often that these should really have been set up as post categories instead.

Let’s use an example to better understand why you may want to convert WordPress post categories into tags or tags into categories.

Let’s say that you decide to start a blog or website about dogs. Your initial plan is to write about different dog breeds, so you create many dog breed categories.

As your site grows with dog-related content, you discover that a better way to organize your content is to use categories like Dog Breeds, Dog Training, Dog Care, Dog Toys, etc. instead of posting content under individual dog breeds.

Many of your post categories would be better used as tags instead …

WordPress Post Categories

(WordPress Post Categories)

Creating new tags and deleting categories that are no longer required or vice versa, however, is not only time-consuming but what happens to posts that were assigned to those categories or tags? You would have to go through all your posts to change categories and reassign new tags.

A simpler way to handle the above is to convert categories into tags and vice versa using the WordPress Categories and Tags Converter tool.

Installing The WordPress Categories and Tags Converter

Before you can use the WordPress Categories and Tags Converter, you must first install the tool.

To do this, select Tools > Available Tools from your main WordPress amin menu …

WordPress Tools - Available Tools menu

(WordPress Tools – Available Tools menu)

This brings you to the ‘Tools’ screen. Click the link in the ‘Categories and Tags Converter’ section …

Categories and Tags Converter

(Categories and Tags Converter)

You can also access the ‘Categories and Tags Converter’ tool by selecting the Tools > Import menu …

WordPress Tools - Import menu

(WordPress Tools – Import menu)

Locate the ‘Categories and Tags Converter’ tool and click on the ‘Install Now’ link …

Install Categories and Tags Converter

(Install Categories and Tags Converter)

Once the importer has been installed, click on ‘Run importer’ to run the tool …

Run importer

(Run importer)

Using The WordPress Categories and Tags Converter

In the ‘Import’ screen, click on ‘Run importer’ to run the ‘Categories and Tags Converter’ tool …

Import - Run Importer

(Import – Run Importer)

The ‘Categories and Tags Converter’ tool provides you with two options:

Convert Categories to Tags

Convert 'Categories to Tags' screen

(Convert ‘Categories to Tags’ screen)

And Convert Tags to Categories

Convert 'Tags to Categories' screen

(Convert ‘Tags to Categories’ screen)

Convert WordPress Post Categories To Tags

To convert WordPress post categories into tags, click on the ‘Categories to Tags’ button …

'Categories to Tags' button

(‘Categories to Tags’ button)

Select all the categories to convert into tags …

Select categories to convert into tags

(Select categories to convert into tags)

Click the ‘Convert Categories to Tags’ button …

Click 'Convert Categories to Tags' button

(Click ‘Convert Categories to Tags’ button)

WordPress will process the request …

Category to tag conversion process completed!

(Category to tag conversion process completed!)

Info

All posts currently assigned to the category being converted into a tag will have that tag added to the post.

To confirm that the conversion process has been carried out successfully, select Posts > Tags in the main WordPress admin menu …

Posts - Tags menu

(Posts – Tags menu)

The ‘Tags’ screen should display all the categories you have converted into tags …

Tags screen

(Tags screen)

Convert WordPress Post Tags To Categories

To convert WordPress post tags into categories, click on the ‘Tags to Categories’ button …

'Tags to Categories' button

(‘Tags to Categories’ button)

Select all the tags to convert into categories …

Select tags to convert into categories

(Select tags to convert into categories)

Click the ‘Convert Tags to Categories’ button …

Click 'Convert Tags to Categories' button

(Click ‘Convert Tags to Categories’ button)

WordPress will process the request …

Tag to category conversion process completed!

(Tag to category conversion process completed!)

Info

When converted, all posts associated with tags being converted into a category will be assigned to that category.

To confirm that the conversion process has been carried out successfully, select Posts > Categories in the main WordPress admin menu …

Posts - Categories menu

(Posts – Categories menu)

The ‘Categories’ screen should display all the tags you have converted into categories …

Categories screen

(Categories screen)

Congratulations! Now you know how to use the WordPress Categories and Tags Converter tool to convert post categories into tags and vice versa.

How To Convert WordPress Post Categories Into Tags And Vice Versa

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How To Add A Table Of Contents To WordPress Posts And Pages

Learn how to easily add a Table of Contents to your WordPress posts, pages, and sidebar …

How To Add A Table Of Contents To WordPress Posts And Pages

Do you publish lengthy posts or pages with multiple sections like user guides, tutorials, training lessons, policies, or other types of documentation where users have to scroll down the page to find what they are looking for?

Adding a table of contents (ToC) to your posts or pages can make it easier for readers to navigate your content and locate information quickly.

How To Add A Table Of Contents To WordPress Posts And Pages

A table of contents (ToC) gives your readers and site visitors a schematic overview of your content structure, making it easier to find your information.

The step-by-step tutorial below shows you how to easily add a table of contents to your WordPress posts, pages, and sidebar without touching code using a simple and free WordPress plugin.

Info

There are many WordPress TOC plugins you can use. For this tutorial, we’ll use a plugin called ‘Easy Table Of Contents.’

Easy Table of Contents

(Easy Table of Contents)

Plugin Description

Easy Table of Contents is a free WordPress plugin that lets you add a table of contents to your posts, pages, and sidebar. The plugin will automatically generates a table of contents for your posts, pages and custom post types based on how you configure the plugin’s settings and format your content headings.

Plugin Installation

To install the Easy Table of Contents plugin from your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New and enter “TOC” into the Keyword search field (if you need help see our tutorial on installing WordPress plugins) …

'Add Plugins' screen

(‘Add Plugins’ screen)

Locate the ‘Easy Table Of Contents’ plugin and click on the ‘Install Now’ button …

Install Easy Table of Contents plugin

(Install Easy Table of Contents plugin)

After the plugin has been installed, click ‘Activate’ …

Activate the plugin

(Activate the plugin)

After the plugin has been installed and activated, go to Settings > Table of Contents to configure the plugin’s settings …

Configure the plugin's settings

(Configure the plugin’s settings)

This brings you to the Table of Contents settings screen …

Easy Table of Contents settings screen

(Easy Table of Contents settings screen)

In the General settings section, you can specify what post type you want the table of contents to be enabled for (e.g. posts, pages, etc.), where to auto-insert a ToC, display settings, etc.

You can also choose whether to display the table of contents as hierarchical or not (i.e. nested subheadings) and whether users can toggle the visibility of the ToC when visiting your site …

Easy Table of Contents - General settings

(Easy Table of Contents – General settings)

The Appearance settings section lets you customize the appearance of your Table of Contents.

You can configure settings like the width of your ToC, title font size, colors, etc. The plugin includes several built-in themes to change the appearance of the inserted table of contents and you can also create your own custom ToC color scheme by selecting the Theme > Custom option and specifying colors for the border, background, title, link, hover link, etc. …

Easy Table of Contents - Appearance settings

(Easy Table of Contents – Appearance settings)

The plugin also provides an Advanced settings section that lets you configure the plugin further, including what heading the plugin should include when generating a ToC  …

Easy Table of Contents - Advanced settings

(Easy Table of Contents – Advanced settings)

Remember to click ‘Save Changes’ to update your ToC settings …

Save changes to update your ToC settings

(Save changes to update your ToC settings)

Plugin Usage
Adding A ToC To Posts And Pages

The plugin will generate a Table Of Contents for your posts or pages based on how you format your content headings using HTML tags (e.g. H1, H2, H3, etc.) …

Add headings in your posts or pages to generate a table of contents

(Add headings in your posts or pages to generate a table of contents)

You can easily format your content using the formattting dropdown menu in your WordPress Visual Editor  …

Format your content headings

(Format your content headings)

So, for example, if you want to display only main content headings, you would format your content like this …

First-level content headings

(First-level content headings)

You can also create a “nested” table of contents, by creating child items using ‘next level down’ headings in your content …

Create a nested ToC using different heading levels

(Create a nested ToC using different heading levels)

The Easy Table of Contents plugin lets you create a ToC with multiple nested levels (up to 6 levels deep) …

Create a ToC with multiple nested levels

(Create a ToC with multiple nested levels)

The screenshot below shows a table of contents with nested levels …

Table of Contents

(Table of Contents)

Tip

After configuring  the plugin’s settings, visit your site and experiment with the ToC settings to create the look you want.

For example, to display a table of contents without item numbers, go to the plugin’s ‘General’ settings section and select Counter > None

Easy Table of Contents - General Settings > Counter

(Easy Table of Contents – General Settings > Counter)

Save your new settings and the ToC will automatically update throughout your site …

Table of Contents without numbered items

(Table of Contents without numbered items)

Depending on your settings, visitors can also toggle the visibility of the table of contents to display or hide the ToC …

Display or hide the ToC

(Display or hide the ToC)

You can also adjust individual post or page ToC settings by selecting options in the Table of Contents metabox below your posts or pages …

Adjust individual post or page ToC settings

(Adjust individual post or page ToC settings)

This metabox allows you to configure the following on a post by post basis:

  • Selectively enable or disabled the table of contents.
  • Choose which headings are used to generate the table of contents.
  • Exclude headers from displaying on the ToC.

Tip

If you can’t see the Table of Contents metabox displayed under your posts or pages, check that the ‘Table of Contents’ checkbox has been enabled in your Screen Options tab …

Screen Options - Enable 'Table of Contents' checkbox

(Screen Options – Enable ‘Table of Contents’ checkbox)

Fine-tune the plugin’s settings until you are happy with how the table of contents display on your site.

Adding a ToC To Your Sidebar

The plugin also adds a Table of Contents widget that you can use to display the ToC on your sidebar to visitors …

Table of Contents widget

(Table of Contents widget)

The widget lets you change the title and the active section highlight color …

Easy Table of Contents widget options

(Easy Table of Contents widget options)

Here’s a screenshot of a Table of Contents widget enabled on the sidebar …

Display a Table of Contents on your sidebar

(Display a Table of Contents on your sidebar)

To learn more about using WordPress widgets, see our tutorial series below:

Tip

If you don’t want to insert a table of contents into your content, you can use the widget instead to display a table of contents in your theme’s sidebar.

To learn more about this plugin, go here: Easy Table of Contents

Congratulations! Now you know how to  add a simple and free WordPress plugin that will display a table of contents on your WordPress posts, pages, and sidebar.

How To Add A Table Of Contents To WordPress Posts And Pages

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