Is a tag cloud helpful for SEO?
Do tag clouds help or hinder SEO? I would like to know if search engines like tag clouds or if they harm the SEO of a website. Can anybody give good information on this?
It's not this dramatic
A tag cloud refers to a bunch of tags grouped and each marks a page or a category. In other words, a tag cloud is just a list of links. If there are too many things, then that would not be useful. If they don’t function, it will take some work to make them function. Moreover, if you use flash, it would be difficult to extract links. You can use tag clouds, but you should make sure you think about the technologies to use, as well as suitable pages and keywords that you link to.
It is better to avoid them in case you have too many of Tags
A tag cloud is a visual representation of the topics and/or keywords on web contents. Contents of sites highlight specific keywords. And all of the keywords are shown in place together. This is called tag cloud. The usage and importance of keywords are sorted by size of the word. Bigger size means much-used keywords. Even the keywords are combined together arbitrarily without having any connection to any of them at all. It may prove to be helpful the users or may not be. Users will find out what the content is about and if interested, s/he may click the tag to find out more about the same topic. So, in a way, it may prove to be helpful for many. In Matt Cutts voice-
...typically that’s really just a list of links. Now, can tag clouds be overdone? Yes, they can. Certainly, if you have like 500 tags in your tag cloud that can look a little bit like keyword stuffing, especially because it’s completely arbitrary words all just sort of jumbled together. Also if you have a tag cloud that’s completely some weird sort of flash, you know, and they’re spinning all around. That can be really fun for users, but I wouldn’t necessarily expect that we can always extract those links and be able to flow a page rank through them.
Actually, tag clouds are links to categorize specific contents on specific topics. Search engines will think of those as links. So, tag clouds will not harm your SEO when you use them in an optimized way. Too many of them are problematic for even search engines bot to crawl the pages and index. Matt Cutts said-
If it is a just small number of tags, then it probably won’t have an impact in terms of hurting your ranking or anything like that, but it is still a number of links on your page and page rank will flow out through them. So if you’d rather have page flow through your site, you might want to have your page rank flow into your individual blog post rather than have things tagged as SEO or things tagged as Google or whatever. So, if you’ll notice I have category pages on my blog.
If you want your users to find contents on a specific topic, you can categorize them. Don't think of Tags and Category as the same. Actually, they are not. It is really hard to find out the topics from hundreds of tag words and follow the page by clicking. If you have a little number of tags then don't worry at all. But if you have hundreds of them, then you have to consider them. When it is hard for search engines bots to crawl and index, it certainly is not a good sign for SEO and page rankin. As they may be hard for search engines bots to follow. In the video, Matt Cutts said he uses the category in his own site.