Do tag clouds help or hinder SEO?

Do tag clouds help or hinder SEO?

Matt Cutts: We have a question from sppro
in New York. Who asks,” Do tag clouds help or hinder SEO? Or do they have no effect?” Well, the thing to think about, first off,
what is the tag cloud? Typically, you might have a blog or something like that, and then
over here in the right-hand sidebar or over on the left sidebar you’ll see a whole bunch
of different tags that have been used to mark the difference blog posts. And sometimes the
tags are little bigger if they get more, if they been used more or sometimes a little
smaller. So what is a tag cloud? Well, 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.
But the way to think of a tag cloud is really, it’s a list of links. And so that can be good
or it can be bad for your site. If you overdo it, for example, the keyword stuffing, then
maybe we don’t trust those links as much. Or it could impact the ranking of your page.
If it is 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
out 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. I tend not to have tag clouds. They were very popular a while ago, but not
that many users really seem to notice them or use them that heavily these days. It can
be a little bit of work to set up, and then sometimes you are sending a massive amount
of links to various parts of your site, and you’re not deliberately thinking what are
the parts of my site that I really want to send me page rank to. So for me personally
I tend to lean a little bit away from using tag clouds. It’s not as if they usually cause
any harm, although if you have a ton of them and they can hinder your efforts because it
can show up a little bit almost as if it keyword stuffing. So, feel free to use them, but think about
those sorts of factors whenever you’re deciding how big to make your tag clouds, what technologies
to use, what tags to use, all those sorts of things.


  1. Good One Matt that's right if you are placing number of Keyword stuffing with Tag cloud's it might be harmful for your website.

    Imran Khan

  2. @MrGr00vy Here is the Blog of Mattcutt you can check it out mattcutts com / blog

    put . after mattcutts then / then remove space

  3. thanks I was just wondering to use them or not – and this totally made me decide they are stupid. You are best to link your site as Mat said in ways you control where you want the flow to go to instead of just mirroring what is already there on the page.

  4. Matt, by saying don't use tag clouds as they evaporate your pagerank, you are basically advising pagerank sculpt???

  5. Tag Clouds = Style over Substance.

    Of course there's a penalty. I personally never liked them. Especially the JavaScript or flash ones. Stupid trend that appears to be over anyway.

  6. Great info! But just to be clear. Is it better to group multiple posts under a single tag, effectively getting the same results as using a subcategory, or is it better to give every post a specific tag? I noticed that specific tags are getting me noticed better in Google, but of course I don't want to get penalized for using to many of them 🙂

  7. Tag clouds can be very risky. Instead of using one, you'd be better off using the space for other more important things like social sharing buttons, featured content, post by categories, etc…

  8. Tag clouds were a sort of novelty at one time, but they are something I wouldn't use. Given the small amount of space on many blog pages, I think the space could be better used for something else.

  9. thanks for the info. I was thinking of using Tag Clouds but after watch the video, I will stick with categories on my blog.

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