Tags, Magic, and Hell Bunny

I was doing some site consulting for a friend of mine today, helping her get more people to the site and purchasing items – it’s a retail clothing store, a basic WordPress site with an eCommerce plugin.

In the online store, she had fastidiously added tags to each item for sale because several people had told her tags could help it be found online.  So she spent hours adding 5-8 tags to each product: dress, polka dot, hell bunny, rockabilly, punk, halter top, red.  And so on for each item. 

Yes, Hell Bunny.  It’s a brand.  I’m in love.

But back to the tags.

So she very proudly shows me her efforts, asks how much that will help with her search engine optimization.

Um. Not at all. 

Because not a single one of those tags is being used.  Not in the URL, not in the description, not anywhere that a search engine can spider.  As far as I can tell, the tags aren’t even being used to find related products, and the shopping menu is arranged by categories, not tags.

That took about 30 seconds to figure out.  To look at her tags, view the source in the browser, and search for "punk."  Doesn’t appear at all. 

All these people had told her tags help with your SEO.  And not a single person could explain to her why.  They just knew – "it works."

Ya’ll, the web is not magic.  Things happen for a reason.

And if you’re taking advice from someone who can’t provide a valid, solid reason and demonstrate it to you easily on your site?  Run.  Run away.

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