The Worst Mistakes With Tags On Medium

Why wasting your opportunities?

Vico Biscotti
Jan 18 · 4 min read

Yes, it’s a listicle. But no numbers nor bullet points. You can tolerate that if you want.

Tags are one of the most powerful tools for visibility on Medium. They allow you to address and reach an audience, make the algorithm less merciless, build a web through your posts.

But spoiling the opportunity is easy.

Spamming

Putting the sex tag in all of your stories won’t make you a sex symbol nor attract the right audience.

And for those who haven’t figured it out yet, food porn is not sex.

If they search for “sex, “ they’re hardly searching for your juicy recipe. Cucumbers, maybe.

Tags must be relevant to your story, giving up the temptation of improperly exploiting your favorite tags.

First, you need to address the right audience for your story. This one is about blogging and Medium, so Blogging and Medium will be there even if the sky falls. I write poetry too, but I’ll find more prospects in the audience interested in blogging, for this story. And you can bet that I won’t put Medium on one of my poems.

Second, you don’t want to disappoint your audience for your other stories. Putting Self Development in your stories about turtle races will just make you lose your fans for the self dev stories.

Third, exploiting a popular tag with no related meat in the story just exposes your story to the wrong new readers. Hard to imagine them happy to read, even if a baiting title helped to make them click.

Not insisting

That’s the opposite mistake.

Do you know about conflicting advice, maybe from the same person?

That’s one of those cases.

You can build an audience only if you consistently address an audience. So, you need to address the same tags as much as possible.

Wait! Don’t take it wrong. “As much as possible” means “as long as it’s relevant.”

Keep a list of the popular tags you want to hit. Until you write stories in line with them, pick from those tags.

Not using the topic tags

Tags are not topics. But some tags equal topics. Money is a topic, Income is not. When you have the option, choosing topics can only improve your chances of hitting the right nail.

Not aiming for the Top Writer

Top Writer means nothing. Still, it gives a little more visibility, especially if you’re at the top of the list.

Some tags have the Top Writer list, some not.

Social Media has the Top Writer, Digital Marketing has not. Again, if you have the option, choose the topic with the Top Writer.

You can check the availability of the Top Writer on the tag page (medium.com/tag/thetaghere).

By the way, here’s an example of my tag spreadsheet:

Image for post
Image for post

Not using all the 5 tags

Sounds impossible, but I see it happening all the time.

In case you missed it, tags are free. They cost time, of course. But I guess your goal is to be read. After having spent time on ideas, writing, editing, deciding the title, picking the right picture, and so on, why rushing tags, given that they can help?

Each tag is a free opportunity.

If you don’t want free opportunities, you can always pay me for each tag you use. The fifth tag is 50% off, this week.

Ignoring the title

One or more tags must be words from the title.

Two or three may be difficult or make you lose other opportunities, but one is a must.

The title is the most important part of your post. Readers and Google never gets tired of reminding you.

You don’t want your tags to be the enemies of your title. You want them in sync. If not the exact words, synonymous can do.

If the title looks at an audience and the tags look at another, your story needs an oculist.

Not diversifying

This story is about blogging on Medium, but using Blogging, Blogging Tips, Blogging Advice, Medium, and Writing on Medium would be a mistake.

I’d renounce opportunities, because those tags channel the story in exactly the same direction and intersection: blogging and Medium. I’d renounce exposing the story to slightly different perspectives and searches, and connecting my post to related ones.

I don’t know where I read it (thanks Medium for your powerful bookmarking and search features), but I read that a tag net on Medium is maintained using a decent algorithm (not the same that exposes the content, of course…). Blogging Tips and Blogging Advice are quite the same tag. Not exactly the same, but similar enough to be worth picking only one.

So, I can renounce Blogging Advice and use Writing.

In the same way, I can renounce Writing on Medium and use Content Marketing.

Using unpopular tags

Specificity helps. Invisibility doesn’t.

Specificity needs an audience too. Avoiding popular tags won’t make you popular.

Better to address specificity using a proper mix of tags. A couple of more selective tags are okay, but if you can’t imagine a crowd of mediumers on that tag, you’re just wasting a tag.

If you invent tags, have a good reason for it.

Using the Médium tag

Please, don’t. It’s Medium, not Médium.

Good tagging won’t make Medium algorithms love you.

But a few more views may be the right views.

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