Why Tags Can Hurt Your Joomla’s Search Engine Rankings

A new client called us today and told us that his Joomla website was penalized by Google. The client told us that his Joomla website slowly lost its rankings over the past few months, until it got penalized.

We did a very quick investigation and we discovered that ever since Joomla 3.1 was out, our client started using content tags in his articles. Unfortunately, our client was unknowingly abusing the Joomla tags. He was creating 4 unique tags/article, and he was creating about 10 new articles every day. In other words, every day, he had 40 new tags. Google considers this to be a spammy practice. Tags are meant to be as few as possible and they are meant to be re-used. Our client was never re-using tags.

But why does Google considers overusage of tags to be spam?

Tagging is nearly a decade old, and tags were initially used as a mean for extra categorization (in order to group related content items together). Google was happy to index these new “categories”. But, sooner rather than later, web spammers started using tags to drive long tail traffic by creating several “sentence tags” for each article/post. Google took notice of this practice and tweaked its search algorithm to address the abuse of tags. Ever since that, tags are not a welcome practice for Google, and their slightest abuse could cause a penalty.

So, there are no benefits for using tags?

Not anymore. The moderate use of tags has no SEO benefits whatsoever, and their abuse can cause the website to be penalized. Tags should be avoided and are considered to be a bad SEO practice.

But why do people still use tags on their websites?

Every single client we have worked with and that has used tagging told us that he used it based on the recommendation of a so-called “SEO specialist”. Unfortunately, our clients don’t know until it’s too late that they were conned. Most of these “SEO specialists” ask people to do something wrong, and then they ask them for money to fix the harm that they caused. It’s a really bad way to earn a living.

So, what should one do if he’s already using tags?

If you’re using tags on your Joomla website, then disable them. If you think that these tags are beneficial to your users or if the tags are technically crucial to your website, then you can add a meta tag of noindex, nofollow on every tag generated page.

If your website got penalized because of tag abuse, then try disabling the tags and then wait for a few weeks/months and see if the penalty is lifted (note that there are no guarantees for a website to gain its previous rankings with Google if it was previously penalized). If you need help with disabling your tags, then please contact us. We can do this for you in no time and for very little cost!

One Response to “Why Tags Can Hurt Your Joomla’s Search Engine Rankings”
  1. Pingback by 15 Reasons Your Joomla Website Got Penalized by Google | itoctopus — January 23, 2014 @ 2:41 pm

    […] abuse: We don’t think highly of tags, and neither does Google. Many website owners use tags to attract long tail keywords (causing a […]

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