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What is the difference between keywords and tags?

Updated on December 11, 2011
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I have been a chef for the last 10 years but I enjoy writing as a hobby. I really enjoy writing for Hubpages because it is fun

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Keyword Advice and tips

I have been creating Hubpages for a while now and have discovered that I have a way of explaining the complexities of making money online in a way that the readers of my Hubs find interesting and easy to understand. This is the first Hub that I am intentionally going to make that will explain, in a simple-to-understand way, so it will more than likely get hardly any traffic, but I am going to do it anyway!

When I first started writing and publishing Hubpages I did not really understand what the difference between tags and keywords were. I had read loads of articles about keywords and keyword research and I understood the value in choosing the correct keywords to go with my Hubpages.

Basically if you want your Hubpages to get lots of traffic you need to choose keywords that have a high number of monthly searches and low competition (this is much harder to achieve than you would think). What I did not understand was that there was a difference between keywords and tags. I believe that the confusion was caused because quite often websites will call their tags ‘keywords’.

The difference between keywords and ‘keywords’

There is a big difference between keywords and ‘keywords’ (I have written the word keywords in inverted commas to show that there is a distinction) . What I would like you to understand is that when I write keywords I mean the words that you have used to attempt to get your Hubpage onto page one of Google. When I write ‘keywords’ what I mean is tags.


  • Keywords = KEYWORDS
  • ‘Keywords’ = Tags

Hubpages and Tags

When you write a Hubpage they will ask you to choose your keywords. What they actually mean is choose your ‘keywords’. Hubpages knows that before you write a Hub you will have researched your keywords and will have chosen keywords that have low competition and a high search volume so that your page has a higher probability of reaching the first page of Google.

Hubpages knows that you are going to put most if not all of your chosen keywords into the keywords section of your Hubpage. The thing is that Hubpages deals with hundreds of thousands of Hubpages so their Hubpage specific search engine has far less pages to search through and index than that of Google. Google has to index and categorise and search through millions of pages every single day.

I know it is starting to get a little confusing so I will use an example to try to make things a little more straightforward. Let us imagine that you have written an article about Black woollen socks. Your main keyword is ‘black woollen socks’, it is a keyword (or in this instance key phrase) that has a lot of searches per month but there are not that many WebPages using that key phrase. You are going through the steps needed to publish this article as a Hubpage. You get to the step where you choose you keywords. You use ‘black woollen socks’ as your main key phrase and then you leave it at that. In theory you should get lots of traffic from both Hubpages and Google but the thing is you get very few hits. This is because whilst on Google there are loads of people searching for black woollen socks, on Hubpages there are very few people searching for that term.

If you want lots of traffic you need to think locally before thinking globally

Getting loads of people to visit your Hubpage is important; it is how you will either:

  • Make money through Adsense
  • Make money through eBay
  • Make money through Amazon
  • Make money through Zazzle
  • Get fans
  • Get readers
  • Establish yourself as an expert in a niche
  • Promote a website
  • Promote a product
  • Promote a service
  • Etc, etc, etc

The thing is that you must get a fair amount of traffic from Hubpages before you can reach those achievements. Think of Hubpages as a community (which it in fact is), you want the people in the community to see that you are a good writer that way they will help to promote you writing by telling their friends or by creating backlinks for you. Once the members of Hubpages think that your writing is worth reading the rest of the world will get a chance to read it and may think you the expert that you undoubtedly are.

Basically, because there are less Hubpages than there are WebPages you can choose more general key phrases for your ‘keywords’. Instead of choosing ‘black woollen socks’ (and the keywords that go with that very specific phrase) you could choose some more general keywords such as:

  • Black
  • Woollen
  • Socks

As all are general phrases but there are less competition between them on Hubpages. For instance if you type the word ‘black’ into Google you get about 7,490,000,000 results. Whilst if you type the word ‘black’ in to the Hubpages search feature you get 991 results. As you can see there is a massive difference there.

To conclude

Tags or ‘keywords’ are the search terms that you utilise to get members from Hubpages to read your Hubs. Whereas KEYWORDS are the search terms that you utilise to get the rest of the world to visit your Hubs. But you must remember that if you choose more generalist keywords for your Hubpages but add some low competition keywords in there you will get both hits from Hubpage members and hits from the rest of the world.

I hope this has been informative and helpful. Please feel free to leave comment below.


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    • William Gerace profile image

      William Gerace 5 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      I am definitely going to try this. This seems so much easier for me now. I hope this helps me too. I'm glad I found this Hub. I will save this to my favorites so I can refer back to it. Thanks again. Have a blessed day. Ciao.

    • profile image

      Isaac Sarayiah 5 years ago


      I have to be honest - I found this very confusing. I have a blog on the Movable Type platform - and when posting a new article it asks for both Keywords and Tags so I normally just put them as identical.

      Thanks for the article though.

      Have a wonderful day.

      Isaac Sarayiah

    • raakachi profile image

      raakachi 6 years ago from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India

      very informative one. if we use the key words as a normal 'day today using words', instead a hard and most complicated one, it should get good results. Thanks for your sharing! voted as useful!

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 6 years ago from India

      Little bit complicated, but got the point on my second attempt. that is I read the whole article 2 times and i think this one is quite useful for the publishers to understand the actual difference between keywords and tags. So I rated it up.

    • trotter2099 profile image

      trotter2099 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I am glad this helped you to understand the difference between tags and keywords. I tried to keep this Hub interesting considering it is a very dry subject.

    • GoGreenTips profile image

      Greg Johnson 6 years ago from Indianapolis

      Good Hub, had to go through it twice to really get what you were talking about. Not that it wasn't explained well just because as a "newbie" I still haven't grasped the concept. Think I got it now.

      Thanks! Hope this helps my traffic.