A good way to annoy your audience

If you’re writing blog posts, uploading videos on video sharing sites, photos on Flickr (et al) or providing any other content within social media, you need to know the one way to drive away your audience.  It all comes down to tagging.

I was just browsing through a gallery on a popular sailing site, looking for photos of the boat I’ve just bought (it’s a racing dinghy, nothing fancy or expensive!).  So I start with a search, and tap in the class of boat (RS800).  For some reason, the owners of the site decided to tag all photos of boats built by RS (200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, and 800) with the same tags.  So rather than getting 20 photos returned of the subject I’m looking for, I now have 500 photos of several different boats to wade through.  Why do people do this?

Why do people do this I hear you ask (or was it me who asked)?  It’s because they think that filling the tag column with several hundred random tags will pull a large amount traffic back.  It’s the blunderbuss approach, and it doesn’t work.

key-west-2007-1763The blunderbuss aproach involves filling your wide barrelled shotgun with bird shot and blasting a wide area hoping to kill a duck.  The problem is, it’s so unspecific it drives off new audience members quicker than Ronald McDonald at a Vegan festival.  You’ll annoy your users, new members will run away, your site will choke with so many search results being returned, your wife will leave you (probably) and you will regret ever trying the blunderbuss approach.

Only ever tag your content with the correct tags.  If you want to reach more readers, then write more blog posts, upload more photos of a wider range of subjects, vary your videos, and just generally supply a wide but interesting (and by that I mean in depth) range of content, correctly tagged.  Don’t be tempted with over tagging, it is a quick fix solution that fixes nothing.

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2 Comments on “A good way to annoy your audience”

  1. Richard Says:

    i dunno, i might be wrong, but when i put in rs800 into the search box, i got one page of results all labeled rs800: http://yachtsandyachting.com/photos/?s=62&desc=rs800

    i’m not sure whether the guy who built the site has intentionally gone out of his way for folksomonic tagging, rather just internal site search catagorisation. This doesnt really affect traffic as it’s not as readily spidered by search engines as far as i’m aware. Search engines pick up folksonomic tags as it goes into the metadata of the site, which enables high search rankings if the post is linked to etc pulling in users.

    i dont think you can ever have too many tags, as long as they’re specific to the content you’re tagging. my two cents anyway.

  2. bluerootblog Says:

    Ah the issue here is that all the boats you see are different. Sorry it’s not obvious unless you are in to sailing, so thanks for the feedback. But essentially, several different classes have all been tagged RS800 etc, rather than using their individual names alone.

    Totally agree about the number of tags, but you’re stating the same thing that I am. more tags are better, so long as they are specific to the content. In this post I talk about unspecific tagging. Probably should have made that a little clearer. Thanks for the input.

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