In the previous post, I gave you an introduction to tag cloud, its types and how to add them. In this post, we will discuss whether you should display tag clouds on a blog or not.

The blogosphere is very much divided about the issue of tag clouds.

Let’s see both its advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding Tag Cloud

Advantages of a Tag Cloud

  • Content Illustration

Some say that adding a tag cloud works better than a search box because the keyword cloud gives a viewer a highlighted illustration of a blog’s content. With a widget, you can show what a viewer could expect to find on a blog.

  • Keyword Classification

Sometimes categories are less beneficial than tags as tags are more useful in performing keyword classification. This keyword classification shows not only the reader but the webmaster as well the main keywords pulling in traffic.

  • Dynamic Information Display

Since a cloud tag sorts out the blog’s content, it is supposed to be more comprehensive, informative and dynamic. As a navigation tool, it directs readers into reading various blog pages.

Disadvantages of a Tag Cloud

  • Passing Link Juice

The tag cloud is usually displayed as a widget on the sidebar. Some SEO experts believe that using a tag cloud will actually entail passing on the link juice to the sidebar heavily.

In other words, the reader will be less interested in the blog page and more on the tag cloud.

  • Keyword Spamming

As I said in the beginning, tag clouds are actually a meaningless arrangement of words that are hyperlinked.

The cloud displays a lot of such keywords and as a result, when a search engine bot indexes the pages, the keyword cluster appear everywhere and sometimes, the bot will classify them as spam.

I am not sure how much any of these points are true or false, but it will be good to bring in what Matt Cutts says about tag clouds.

If you watch carefully, Matt neither confirms nor denies the usability of tag clouds but somewhere his attitude is on the other side, that is, tag clouds are not good for SEO and in fact, can harm a blog’s search engine rankings.

Note: Avoid adding fanciful animated tags. It’s distracting and not good, the SEO-guru Matt says.

We’re in a Fix!

Now, if we go by what Matt Cutts is saying, we’re definitely in a fix!

Matt always stresses that what is good for the reader is good for site SEO. Therefore, if adding a tag cloud is good, why is it bad to display it on sidebar?

It’s ironic and I don’t have the answer to this dilemma.

  • Too Much Clutter

Adding a tag cloud section will make the webpage look full of clutter. It is really very distracting.

  • Excessive Links

Adding of a tag cloud will increase the link count on every page. Too many links flowing from a single page is as it is bad and adding tag clouds will increase the problem.

Personally, I don’t add tag cloud. What’s your choice?