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Hubpages Traffic - Use of Tags to Drive Google Traffic

Updated on August 8, 2013

What are Tags?

Originally tags were a way to group links to blog postings (or in the case of Hubpages, hubs) that are topically related. Many folks have come to the conclusion that adding a lot of tags can help your search engine traffic. While this was true for the past 3-4 years, the internet is an ever changing thing and we are again re-evaluting the use of multiple tags.

Here are some observations and some pros and cons on tags in general. Most of this works for blogs like Wordpress as well, as the process of creating tags works in a similar way there.

How Many Tags Do You Typically Have On a Hub?

How Many Tags Do You Shoot For?

See results

Ranking Well in the Google SERPs

First, lets take a look at the keys for generating good rankings on Google. Here is the grossly oversimplified version of success in Google rankings. This isn't a course on ranking, but just enough information to understand why tags are important. What we don't cover here is the choice of keywords. It's obvious that if you choose to optimize for a keyword that no one is searching for, then it really doesn't matter how well you are optimized. (Also on keywords, the search engines are cracking down on multiple use of keywords, similar to tags, but more visibly. Content is important as you will get cut down if you use too many keywords aimlessly.)

On page factors (things that you can do on the hub itself) - The title field is far and away the biggest factor. Heading fields are a distant second, and the density of the keywords you want to rank for is another small factor (years ago this was the major factor, which is why keyword stuffing used to be so popular)

Off page factors (things you do with the linking to the hub) - Considered by some to be 80% of a pages ability to rank, it comes down to links, basically the number of links and the anchor text in those links. It's important to note that the links can come from the same site as the page being linked to, such as Hubpages. The Page Rank of a site is Google's estimate of the importance of a site, and is a weighting factor in how much a link is worth to the receiving page. The most important thing you can do for any page to rank is to get lots of links with the anchor text that includes the terms you want to rank for.

Generally, pages with more backlinks will rank better than pages with fewer backlinks. And the anchor text will help determine what the pages ranks for (the anchor text is the words typically in blue that are the text associated with the link to the page.)

Since in Hubpages the title of the hub is used both as the title (of the hub) and as the anchor text for all the automatically generated links, you can see that choosing the keyword carefully for your title will have a huge impact on the terms a hub will rank for.

Search Engine Optimization

If you are new to this tagging and keyword business, it is best to educate yourself on the entire subject. Here are some good books on SEO.

What Does Adding Tags Do?

First - the obvious, it adds the text of the tag to your Hub. But while that can help, it is secondary to the other things that go on when you add tags.

Tag Pages - More importantly, tags are simply links to pages that are created with the tag as the header or title of the page. Click through to the tags on your hubs and you will find that you are on another page that lists all the hubs that have that tag on them. Your hub now has a backlink, or some more Google love.

So, you have the possibility for every tag you add to get a backlink to your hub. That's the good news. So, why not add hundreds of tags? It turns out that there's limit to how effective this can be (not to mention that Hubpages limits the number of tags, but as usual they are protecting you from doing something stupid).

On one hand you could have a very popular tag. A tag like "how to" has almost 20000 hubs under it. But, for reasons related to how they manage the links, only about the top 10 to 40 "hot" hubs are on tag pages that will stick in the Google index and have any Page Rank. So, if you aren't in the top 20, you won't get much from it. Being on the 31st page of "how to" hubs does almost nothing for your rankings.

On the flip side, a tag like "dj+comet+01-46" only has 1 hub on it as of this writing. That tag page will likely not stay indexed and will have little Page Rank to link back to your hub. Overall, you're better off finding tags that have at least 3 or 4 hubs linking to them.

If you had dozens of tag links on your hub, the Page Rank that gets distributed to each one will be so diluted that you would have no hope of getting those tag pages to get and stay indexed with Google. And if you are writing a hub to get some link juice to an external page then adding dozens of links diluted the Page Rank that you are going to pass to the external link. So adding a huge number of tags will be self defeating as well.

Overall, you're better off finding tags that have at least 3 or 4 hubs linking to them, 10 to 20 is probably the sweet spot.

How Many Tags Should I Add to a Hub?

So, is adding a bunch of tags to your hub a good way to improve your traffic? The answer is probably. Like anything, it depends on the competition and the number of similar hubs, and whether your goal is to do linking to pages off site.

Adding more tags can generate internal backlinks to your hub, but adding too many dilutes the Page Rank of the site and may generate a bunch of tag pages that will not stick in the Google index and do no one any good. Choose tags that are a little popular to improve your odds of being on the first page, and add at least a dozen or so. Hubpages limits the number of tags that you can add, apparently based in part on the length of the hub, so they've made it difficult to add too many. Finally, for those of you with Wordpress blogs, it turns out this can be even more powerful on Wordpress as it can be used to create related article links right on the page.

One other potential benefit is the links from related hubs. While Hubpages doesn't really disclose how they choose which hubs link to which other hubs on the related hubs section, it seems they use some combination of the hub category and the hub tags to choose related hubs, with a bias towards a few of your own hubs if appropriate. Another source of related links!


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    • Pro Shell profile image

      Pro Shell 

      6 years ago from Vereinigten Staaten

      Useful information. I'm working on this.

    • johnr54 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanie Ruppel 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Your guess is correct! Tip: don't load up on keywords in your Hub, it will not give you forward progress. Write good content using keywords naturally.

    • RetBranche profile image


      7 years ago from Shenzhen, Guangdong

      is tags different from keywords? I guess yes.

    • johnr54 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanie Ruppel 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Glad we could help!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Grate information, Nice Hub and it is so helpful for me,also must be for others ...........

    • profile image

      Jennifer Suchey 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for this very useful hub. I must go do some more tagging now. ;)

    • NC4Life078 profile image

      Nicoli Clause 

      8 years ago from United States of America

      Great Hub! I was lost at how Tags worked and intrigued that they are virtually back links.

    • johnr54 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanie Ruppel 

      8 years ago from Texas

      I have found that 10-20 good, quality tags works for me. Good Luck!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Excellent hub on the use of tags. What I'm taking away from this is the number of tags can be anywhere from 10-20. Am I correct on this?

    • Sarju profile image


      9 years ago

      Very useful hubs

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 

      9 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      I'm struggling to get all this, but thanks for the info. Sandra Busby

    • Melis Ann profile image

      Melis Ann 

      9 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

      I'm bookmarking your hub and will give it a re-read after I go and look at my tags. Thanks - useful.

    • mbyL profile image

      Slaven Cvijetic 

      9 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich

      Useful and interesting hub here. This one really helps.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      9 years ago from USA

      I'm happy for all information on this topic. Thanks for a great article.

    • SummerSurf profile image


      9 years ago

      Useful hub. I haven't understood tags properly until now. Working on optimisation of my hubs and this has come in handy.

    • DuchessDuCaffeine profile image


      9 years ago from United States of America

      I think you have just broken through the iron curtain of my un-computer-internet-linky-dealie densness. Now I'm going to print your article out so I can look at it the old-fashioned way (in other words, on paper and not on a TV). I'm a fan :)

    • ngwealth2you profile image


      9 years ago from Antigua and Barbuda (Caribbean country)

      An excellent and truly informative hub. Thanks for writing it.

    • Maggie.L profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      Thanks for writing a very useful hub. I think I've been putting too many tags in my hubs so will go back and check them over.

    • Annette R. Smith profile image

      Annette R. Smith 

      10 years ago from Ocala, Florida

      What a great hub, and full of helpful information. Thank you for sharing your insight. Time to revisit my hubs and tweak my tags!

    • Delaney Knows profile image

      Delaney Knows 

      10 years ago from Midwest

      I read this hub hopiing to get a better understanding of tags and not only did you explain it very well, you gave me more useful information about backlinking. Tiny pieces of all this information are coming together and starting to make sense to me. Thank you!

    • Max_Power profile image


      10 years ago from Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

      Hi John, and thankyou!

      This is excellent information that is very well presented. I am wondering what your thoughts are on HubScore and tags.. Will adding too many tags also lower a hubscore?

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      10 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for sharing this information.

    • onenewbrazil profile image


      10 years ago from Edmond, OK

      Cool. Thanks

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      10 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thanks you. This is very helpful to me.

    • 2uesday profile image


      10 years ago

      This is the best description of how tags work that I have read. Thank you for an easy to understand explanation of how they work and how to use them.

    • Apepperson profile image


      10 years ago from Texas

      Great Hub, thanks for sharing. I would have to say though, that if you're trying to sell products on your site, the more relevant tags you have, the better. They'll bring in a variety of people that are looking to buy what you're selling :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good guide on how to use tags effectively for getting google traffic. Thanks.

    • AskAshlie3433 profile image


      10 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

      This is very useful information. Thanks for sharing.

    • AF CHIEF profile image


      10 years ago from Midwest

      As always you provide a wealth of info, now I just need to understand it all, lol. But seriously thanks for the insigth it at least gave me a good idea of what tags are and places me on the next journey of understanding them better.

    • profile image

      Spirit Whisperer 

      10 years ago

      Thank you for a clear and concise explanation on this topic.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      a fab article to read - thank you :)

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 

      10 years ago from USA IL

      wonderul article on tags as I was struggling. Thanks

    • ocbill profile image


      10 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      I found some value in this as I heard building backlinks to hubpage is a no-no, maybe it is too many they are worried about. Thanks for writing this.

    • jdavis88 profile image

      Joseph Davis 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Very helpful! Definitely improved my knowledge of hubpages and tagging.

    • dablufox profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      Some very insightful info, this stuff is gold!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Yes I am new Hubber and after reading your post I think it will really help me

    • roc6 profile image

      Rosemary Cole 

      10 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      I was struggling with the tags for hubs, but thanks this has been pretty useful.

    • Sterling Carter profile image

      Sterling Carter 

      10 years ago from Indian Mound, Tennessee

      Thanks for the great Hub. I will be tweeting this Hub article. It is a great day when you learn something and I just had a great day.

    • kseniastone profile image


      10 years ago

      This is very useful information, I will be sure to implement it within my next hub!

    • KillerIdeas profile image


      10 years ago from Phoenix Arizona

      Thanks for a great Hub. I am going to bookmark this and send it to everyone who asks me about SEO and the use of tags.


    • kev8 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great hub, I learned a lot from it and will be back.Thanks

    • niner profile image


      10 years ago from Arizona/Nebraska

      Thanks so much for this hub! I was so confused about tags and was definitely doing it wrong. :P Your article helped out a lot!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i didnt really understand the finer points of tagging until i read this article. thanks for the info!

    • Tim Blackstone profile image

      Tim Blackstone 

      10 years ago

      An excellent explanation of how we can use tags to help benefit our pages. Thanks for such an illuminating article.

    • profile image

      L a d y f a c e 

      10 years ago

      Great info for a beginner like me. It was very easy to understand. Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Another piece of the puzzle. Thanks for the info.

    • Neverletitgo profile image

      Abdinasir Aden 

      10 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      very nice hub. I voted up.

    • freetowrite profile image


      10 years ago from Everywhere!

      Thanks for the info on tags!

    • HC0303 profile image


      10 years ago

      A great lesson on tags on hubs. Good information since I'm a new hubber. Thanks for sharing as I need all the help I can get.

    • She-rah profile image


      10 years ago from Petersburg, IL

      Great hub, very informative! Going to take a look at my tags!

    • lrohner profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Nice job on this hub (and feel free to delete this comment), but I do take issue with one thing you said. You say, "...the title of the hub is used both as the title of the hub and as the anchor text for all the automatically generated links..." That's not correct. I almost always have a title that is different from my URL. HubPages does give you the ability to have different titles and URLs. I don't believe it's the title you are speaking of, but rather the URL. Or am I missing something?

    • Greenbambinis profile image


      10 years ago from Chicago IL

      Great hub thanks for your input

    • John Holden profile image

      John Holden 

      10 years ago

      Nice one, thanks. Spent most of the day looking for this info, stopped looking and found it minutes later.

    • tasksgirl profile image


      10 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This was *EXTREMELY* helpful. Thank you very much!

      I have a question - I just added some new tags to one of my pages, and checked the pages related to those tags. They each have about 4-5 hubs but mine is not one of them. Does it just take awhile to update after I add a tag?


    • TopOfTheFirstPage profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice work on this! I think a lot of people ignore tags, but as you point out they can actually be an important piece of the puzzle.

    • betterlabs profile image


      10 years ago from San Jose, California

      Didn't knew about Tags in that kind of detail. Thanks.

    • M. Engebawy, PhD profile image

      M. Engebawy, PhD 

      10 years ago from Overland Park, Kansas, USA

      Informative and interesting hub. Thanks johnr54.

    • dotty1 profile image


      10 years ago from In my world

      thank you for making this clearer to me, I have been pretty ignorant as to how they work but will now go back over all of my hubs . . Happy days D

    • chrysstil profile image


      10 years ago

      I don' t realize that tags are so useful. great hub.

    • infoman10 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great info. Thanks

    • WestOcean profile image


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      An interesting and useful hub.

    • LeanMan profile image


      10 years ago from At the Gemba

      Thanks for a great hub, lots of very useful information.

    • thedragon319 profile image


      10 years ago from TX

      thanks for the tips!! I will def do some revising

    • talfonso profile image


      10 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Tags are why I update and rectify my Hubs - and yours really hit home! It's definitely a bookmark.

    • samsons1 profile image


      10 years ago from Tennessee

      voted up & useful! very good hub, well written informative and concise...

    • Nur Radzi profile image

      Nur Radzi 

      10 years ago from Malaysia

      Great advice on tags. I'm a newbie here and I find this really informative. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Before I don't focus too much on using tags, now I am more careful with tags that I use. Thanks for the info.

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 

      10 years ago from Texas, USA

      I'm just a beginner, John, and this really cleared out my confusion about tags and their use. Thanks so much!

    • happyexplorer profile image


      10 years ago from Mostly USA, sometimes elsewhere

      Thanks! I have to admit I haven't had any coherent tagging strategy so far, so this is a big help to me in getting one figured out.

    • shazwellyn profile image


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Great ideas if your tags actually work! You are buggered if they dont.

      Check out my hub here and see how many tags dont work - most of them.

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Henderson 

      10 years ago from Cape Coral

      Great information here. Thanks.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for a very useful article on tagging - something I need to learn more about!

      Love and peace


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks for an excellent hub on tags. It really helped me understand tagging a lot better. Much appreciated.

    • SteveoMc profile image


      10 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      This hub is certainly going to deserve a bookmark and a re-read. Thanks for the next step in my understanding. Small steps. Taken one at a time. I am looking through my tags right now.

    • profile image

      Aminur Rahman 

      10 years ago

      This is amazing. you actually coverd everything on how to get traffic. your information on tagging was spot on my friend. keep up the good work and help the community.. good luck.

    • FindYourSearch profile image


      10 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I enjoyed this detailed and down-to-earth explanation of tags. Thanks for putting it all down so clearly.

    • Paulo Santos profile image

      Paulo Santos 

      11 years ago from London

      Great info, I've been looking for this...


    • Conflagrant profile image


      11 years ago from England

      You learn something every day...

      I had no idea that Google won't hold an index for a tag with few hubs linked to it. To be honest, I didn't know that tags had so much to them. I used to view them as old style meta keywords.

      Thanks for the information.

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana Smith 

      11 years ago from UK

      I'm back to this great hub of yours again John :) I'm having some issues with tags that I wonder if you have any advice on? Why aren't tag pages being created for many of my tags and why aren't I on the tag pages I want to be on? Is it better to have fewer tags, rather than going for the maximum allowed? I keep experimenting with tags but I'm still having problems, so I'd be grateful for any advice.

    • MyWebs profile image

      Anthony Goodley 

      11 years ago from Sheridan, WY

      Great hub. Very well done.

      While I knew tags were important for SEO purposes you go into a lot of details I never considered before. Bookmarked so I can return to this later as needed.

    • 2uesday profile image


      11 years ago

      I found this informative, I still have lots to learn even though I have been writing hubs for seven months. Now I understand the basics, hubs like this are important to learn how to improve how I write here. Thank you.

    • HubpagesCreation profile image


      11 years ago from Internet

      Agree with your inputs :)

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      11 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks for that very useful information

      Still learning how to use stuff on HUB Pages so this was a very interesting read for me

    • brimancandy profile image


      11 years ago from Northern Michigan Reed City

      I will go back and look at my hubs, and check my tags again.

      My traffic pretty much sucks. I need to do something different. I'm not getting anywhere so far.

    • lelanew55 profile image


      11 years ago

      Great information. Thanks

    • earnestshub profile image


      11 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Nice useful hub, thank you!

    • OpinionDuck profile image


      11 years ago


      tag your it.

      nicely done

      It is a shame that this hub didn't get hundreds of page views.

    • Tiptopcat profile image

      Victoria Virgo 

      11 years ago from London, UK

      Excellent info. Found this hub via a link by Ryan Kett found on another hub.

      Now I have some sort of plan to work with instead of just chucking out words here and there and hoping for the best.

      I didn't even realise that a new page was created from tags so thanks for the education.

      Have bookmarked and rated this up.

    • anglfire693 profile image


      11 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      I feel like I am in a foreign land so I am researching so much of this technical stuff so I can get back to the reason why I came here, which is to write! I know, silly me! Anyway, I have to say that I think I got about half of what you are saying here (which is way more than anything I have understood thus far) and I didn't sob for 20 minutes after reading it! Thanks and good job! If you can teach me something, you got it goin' on!

    • johnr54 profile imageAUTHOR

      Joanie Ruppel 

      11 years ago from Texas

      You don't have to believe me. They aren't just meta tags.

      Try clicking on one of the tags on this hub, and you will find a page (or pages) that lists all the hubs that have been tagged with that tag. Not only do the search engines crawl them, but if you click on one like "hubpages" you will see that it has a Page Rank of 4, not a bad page to have a link from.

    • mel22 profile image


      11 years ago from ,

      I thought tags were only meta tags used in the head of the HTML code for the Search Engines. Are you saying those tags are internal to HubPages also. I thought the categorization when you started a hub is what made it accessible to other Hubbers. Arn't tags(meta) made for the SE crawlers only!

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana Smith 

      11 years ago from UK

      Hi John, thankyou for sharing your knowledge on this :) I've been tagging all wrong.....for 7 months, lol! Now I understand it - eureka! I'm goin gback to edit my tags now.

      Thanks again,

      Susana :)

    • Peter Dickinson profile image

      Peter Dickinson 

      11 years ago from South East Asia

      Useful Hub. Thank You.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This has been a very informative and helpful hub. I now have a better understanding of tags and how they work. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      11 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Well done, you answered my number 1 question about tags which was, how many is too many! I agree with you although I'm new to this, it seems like 10-20 is the best amount.

    • livewithrichard profile image

      Richard Bivins 

      11 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Good information here John, thanks for pointing me here.

    • Ladybird33 profile image


      11 years ago from Fabulous USA

      Very informative and helpful hub. Thank you.

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      11 years ago from Jaipur


      I have got some extra point from this hub. I would like to change my tags in my hubs.


      Jyoti Kothari

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 

      11 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent hub - Thanks for sharing this incredible hub with us.

    • MrCheesefish profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks, info really helped. Hopefully i will get increased traffic.


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