It’s been a few days since the launch of LinContEx, and I’ve been enjoying watching the tag cloud evolve as our members submit and tag their feeds. But I also see that there’s a need for a little guidance on how to choose the right tags.

For most of this post, I’m going to focus on one feed and how it might be tagged better. If you’re the author of the feed, please don’t feel picked on — if you were the only one who needed this lesson, I’d have contacted you directly! (And by the way, you can change the tags at any time).

The feed has three tags: web design kent, web design canterbury, and website designer kent. Those are great keywords for a web designer in Kent to optimize his or her site for. But are they good tags to use on LinContEx?

The purpose of tags on LinContEx is to help people find your feed if they want their sites optimized for keywords that your feed talks about frequently.

If the author of this feed wants to attract feed exchange partners who want their sites optimized for keywords like “web design kent”, and if the feed actually discusses web design in Kent, then these could be good tags. But I’m guessing that not many LinContEx members are going to be optimizing for those exact keywords. And what about the feed content?

The titles of the latest items in the feed include “Blogging for small business”, “Small Business? Online Marketing Tips”, “How do I know if I have a good idea?”, “The Evolution of Online Advertising”, “Website Security Monitoring Extended”, etc. Nothing about web design, and nothing about Kent.

So even if another LinContEx member were looking for a feed about “web design kent”, that’s not really what they’d find here.

When you view a feed’s page in LinContEx, you’ll notice three little icons with a smiley face, a frowny face and a…what should I call it? Neither smiley nor frowny face. Those are for rating the feed. I’m guessing that if your feed content doesn’t match your tags, you’re going to get more frowny faces than you would if people find the content your tags lead them to expect.

Better tags for the feed we’ve been discussing might be “small business”, “blogging”, “online marketing”, etc. (I’d have to view more of the blog’s content to know whether those are common themes or just what’s shown up recently).

I clicked through to the blog, and I see that it’s WordPress powered. It has two categories set up, but the feed that was submitted was the main blog feed. As I mentioned in a previous post, I recommend submitting category feeds instead of your blog’s main feed, since each category feed will be focused more tightly on specific keywords, making it more attractive to people who are optimizing their sites for those keywords.

Again, don’t feel picked on if this is your feed — this is a lesson that every member of this site could probably benefit by reading and considering.

One more point before we finish: I’ve seen where a few people have submitted longish phrases for their tags. The advantage of that is that you might catch the eyes of people looking to optimize for a “long tail” tag. But the problem is that because not many people are going to enter exactly the same tag, long tags are less likely to end up featured in the “tag cloud”, so they’re less likely to be seen.

In general, I recommend choosing the shortest, most obvious tags that adequately represent the topics actually appearing in your feeds.

You can edit your tags at any time by clicking the “My Feeds” menu, and clicking “edit” next to the name of your feed.