Yoast SEO Search Appearance settings – Taxonomies tab

In this article, we’ll discuss the Taxonomies tab of the Search Appearance settings of Yoast SEO in your WordPress backend. You’ll see a video explanation and we’ll explain all the settings on the tab one by one.

Do you want to know more about the other settings Yoast SEO offers? Check out the configuration guide for Yoast SEO.

Video: Yoast SEO Search Appearance settings – Taxonomies tab

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What are taxonomies?

In WordPress, you can group content using categories and tags by default. WordPress calls these groups taxonomies. So, taxonomies are ways to structure content within WordPress, and tags and categories are both examples of a taxonomy system. Categories and tags are similar to each other, but they are not the same. Let’s take a closer look.


Categories allow for a broad grouping of post topics. They can be arranged in a hierarchy, so you can have subcategories. Each post must be attached to at least one category. For example, categories for a blog can be ‘Books’, ‘Food’, ‘Music’, and ‘Travel’. In this example, the category ‘Books’ could be subdivided into the subcategories ‘Fiction books’ and ‘Nonfiction books’.


Tags are similar to categories, but they are generally used to describe your post in more detail. They exist in their own right and have no set relationship to anything else, so they can’t be arranged in a hierarchy. The use of tags is entirely optional. For the blog used in the example above, you could have tags for the recipes described in the category ‘Food’. These tags could be ‘desserts’, ‘pasta’, ‘pizza’, and ‘salads’.

Using both categories and tags

It’s possible to use both categories and tags. Assigning categories and tags to your post increases the chance that people will find the content they’re looking for.

Taxonomies tab

You can find the Taxonomies tab by going to your WordPress backend, clicking “Yoast SEO” and then “Search Appearance” in the menu on the left-hand side. You’ll be on the Yoast SEO Search Appearance General settings screen. On this screen, click the “Taxonomies” tab.

Settings on the Taxonomies tab

The settings of the Taxonomies tab of the Search Appearance settings are very similar to the content types settings. On this tab, you’re allowed to determine whether you want search engines to show the different types of taxonomies in the search results; alter the templates of the title and meta description and social media sharing (Premium), and determine if you want to show the Yoast SEO settings for these taxonomies.


The taxonomies settings for Yoast SEO are designed for the use of variables that are replaced by specific values from the page when the page is displayed. You can add these variables to create a dynamic SEO title and meta description. Several variables can be added by clicking the ‘Insert snippet variable’ button or by entering the ‘%’ symbol. A complete list of all variables can be found here.

Should you show taxonomies in the search results?

It’s usually best to allow search engines to show taxonomies in their search results because this can lead to more visitors. This means that people can actually land on your categories and tag pages, so make sure that these pages are attractive landing pages for visitors.

Taxonomy-specific settings

There are also a few specific settings for taxonomies. Firstly, you can enable or disable format-based archives (for example: image archives, link archives, and quote archives). From an SEO perspective, we advise you to disable these archives.

Category URLs

In addition, you can choose to remove the categories prefix from category URLs. For example, your category URL would normally be example.com/category/seo. If you set this setting to ‘remove’, your category URL will be example.com/seo.

Should you remove the categories prefix?

Removing the categories prefix makes sense in some specific site configurations, but for most people, it’s better to keep the default setting. Keep in mind that if you ever decide to put it to ‘remove’, you shouldn’t change it back, because that will create 404 errors (the content has not been found by the server, and is probably deleted) on your website.

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