Tag Optimization for WordPress

Note March 18th, 2013: we’ve decided to stop selling our term optimizer for now, we’ll be including it with another WordPress product later on.

In our website reviews we regularly encounter websites who’ve got just as many tags as posts, or 20,000 posts and 5,000 tags. This is undesirable as it means you’re not using tags to relate your posts together, which is what you should do. We usually tell them to optimize their tags but that’s easier to say than do. Deleting them is easy, but that’s not a solution. What you should be doing is merging multiple tags into one, adding more posts to a tag or delete & redirect them to your homepage.

That’s not something you want to do manually, as it’s a lot of work. That’s why I built a tool called the Term Optimizer. This tool helps you find tags or other taxonomy terms that are used only once, or even less, and allows you to merge them, redirect them, etc.

Optimize your WordPress Tags with the Term Optimizer

It’s simple, once you’ve bought the file, you place it in your WordPress root directory, it needs to have wp- load.php in the same directory. You then open the URL and you’ll be seeing an interface like this (click for larger version):

Easy Tag Optimization with Term Optimizer by Yoast

By default it’ll search for all tags that are used less than 4 times. As you can see, there’s a checkbox before each post. If you check them and use the drop down in the top, you can choose from several actions:

With selected tags, do the following: merge, delete & redirect, shows posts with term, search & tag

If you choose merge and selected, you’ll be presented with a second screen that allows you to choose the tag you want to merge these tags with. Once that’s done, if your .htaccess file is writeable, the tool will automatically add the redirect lines to your .htaccess file.

Pressing delete will do something similar, you’ll be able to redirect to the homepage, to a category or to a custom URL:

Delete & redirect tag

This allows you to optimize your tags with only a few minutes / hours work, instead of having to get a developer to do all this work for you.

Quickly Adding Tags to Posts

Sometimes you realize that you should have created a certain tag and it’s now a lot of work to do that through the interface. With the term optimizer you can do that quite simply (click for larger image):

Search & Tag posts

Buy this Tool, start Optimizing your Tags Now!

Do you want to clean up your tags or other terms? Get your copy of the Term Optimizer now

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86 Responses

  1. Louis-Philippe DeaBy Louis-Philippe Dea on 4 July, 2012

    Awesome tool Yoast. It seems to be a really usefull tool.

    I think that your link on the button (Term Optimizer) to buy the tool at the end of your article is broken.

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 July, 2012

      Was using Gumroad’s modal button but that seemed to work a bit weirdly, so I’ve just replaced it with “just” a gumroad link :)

    • Gautam DoddamaniBy Gautam Doddamani on 4 July, 2012

      nope its not broken i checked it. thanks for making this tool joost, i hope you make it free for us guys…your tools are very helpful for us always! :)

  2. PaulBy Paul on 4 July, 2012

    Joost, is it not better to just use categories?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 July, 2012

      There’s nothing wrong with using both as long as you have a clear strategy to them.

      • Paul @ Make MoneyBy Paul @ Make Money on 11 July, 2012

        True, i guess it also depends on site size. Thanks Joost

  3. wesBy wes on 4 July, 2012

    Great tool! Am working on WordPress with students and teachers, potentially as a Learning Management System of sorts, and this tool has huge potential to help me help newer users manage their tags and optimize the content for the school. This works on a network site – can it access and optimize tags across a network of blogs? For example, if one student tags a post on her blog “The Crucible” and another tags a blog on her student blog “Crucible” will this tool allow me to merge those to the same uniform tag?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 July, 2012

      I haven’t tested it on a network site wes so I honestly don’t know :)

      • wesBy wes on 4 July, 2012

        Want a beta tester on a network site? I can do that if you’ll let me download the tool :-). However, school’s not is session until August, so I don’t have access to funds to purchase for school right now.

        • kevin chardBy kevin chard on 6 July, 2012

          Hi Wes, where can I email you? Ill send you the $25. This plugin is well worth the $25 bucks and Joost de Valk should be compensated for all the hard work.

          • WesBy Wes on 6 July, 2012

            Kevin, thanks for the generous offer. I’ve never had such an offer from someone I don’t know and can only assume you’re being serious. wkriesel@gmail.com

        • kevin ChardBy kevin Chard on 6 July, 2012

          sent enjoy the plugin!

  4. James DavidsonBy James Davidson on 4 July, 2012

    Where do I get the “wp- load.php” file from?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 July, 2012

      That’s a file from WordPress, usually in your root directory :)

  5. SaraBy Sara on 4 July, 2012

    As ever, so intriguing and useful! Thanks, Yoast.

  6. Barış ÜnverBy Barış Ünver on 4 July, 2012

    Nice tool, but the price is kind of unrealistic to me.

    • BarbaraBy Barbara on 4 August, 2012

      Unrealistically cheap! I’ve done this manually for more than one website and it’s taken DAYS to go through merging / deleting / organizing. It’s a mind-numbing task that also requires attention to detail. ONE time I became so fed up that I gave up and didn’t redirect the old links. (A Big Mistake.)

      Having a tool to help with the process will be invaluable.

      That being said, a big “thank you” to Yoast for keeping the price affordable so that as many people can benefit from the plugin as possible.

  7. Fresh NepalBy Fresh Nepal on 4 July, 2012

    I have always de index tags. Never thought that it is use ful thanks joost. I am great fan of WordPress seo. Thanks for awesome tool.

  8. RaviBy Ravi on 4 July, 2012

    I deleted 400+ tags in one of my blogs last month and the search traffic stays the same. I think the era of tags has gone. Using categories effectively for a betterr site structure works.

  9. AndyBy Andy on 4 July, 2012

    Is it worth also recommending people either the tags or category pages depending on which one they think fits their site structure better as having both indexed isn’t great for SEO is it?

    Now if there was only a WordPress plugin that handled such SEO things easily ;-)

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 July, 2012

      No not really, I use both, one for general “categorization” and one for more refined “tagging”, nothing wrong with that.

    • AndyBy Andy on 4 July, 2012

      Grrr forgot the code tags and I can’t edit a comment once it’s made here :-(

      What I meant to say was use for either the tags or category pages.

      • AndyBy Andy on 4 July, 2012

        Sorry Joost code aint posting prroperly in these boxes – all I meant was isn’t it a good idea to meta no index,follow either the tags or categories pages if you are using both?

  10. AlexBy Alex on 4 July, 2012

    This looks like an excellent tool to save hours of work! I just have some questions before buying this:

    Do we have to remove the file from the server after complete the task or we should leave him there?

    It writes redirection rules on htaccess?

    Thanks Joost!

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 4 July, 2012

      It’s not needed after you’ve used it anymore, as it writes them to .htaccess indeed, it’s safe to leave there though, as you need to be logged in to use it.

  11. Chuck ReynoldsBy Chuck Reynolds on 5 July, 2012

    Man that’s a great little tool. Very niche I think… like I’ve only seen a handful of sites that would really need some reoptimization work on the tax system but… a while back when I had a site in bad shape that came to me with over 48K tags… this tool would have been VERY useful. Instead I ended up with some pretty serious regex rules :)

  12. George BounacosBy George Bounacos on 6 July, 2012

    Excellent idea & will put on my short list. Is the price $25 USD per site?

  13. AnitaBy Anita on 6 July, 2012

    This is a nice tool. I will show it to a friend of mine who is used to work to with WordPress. If he recommend it I will come back and buy it.

  14. LindaBy Linda on 6 July, 2012

    I’ve actually been thinking that it would be great if your SEO plugin had an option to no-index taxonomies with less than X posts. Obviously having tags with 1 post is not ideal, but it would alleviate some of the problem if the archive could be easily no-indexed.

  15. Christopher SimmonsBy Christopher Simmons on 6 July, 2012

    I think the over-used ‘OMG’ applies here … I was literally just last week trying to figure out how I was going to try to reduce 6,000 tags accumulated over the past 5+ years…. and just saw this today…. does the phrase YOU ROCK also apply here? Sure does. THANK YOU. Tip jar moola coming PDQ.

  16. wesBy wes on 7 July, 2012

    I need a little assistance. I am testin the plugin with a WordPress network but do not see the page described above. Is the installation simply place in the WP root directory along with wp load? Then when I login the site will redirect me to the Term Optimization page? Or where do I access the tool? Since I didn’t see the tool on the network site, I tried to install it on a single installation of WP but don’t find the tool when I login either. I’m sure it’s something simple I’m missing. Please advise.

    The instructions above state “It’s simple, once you’ve bought the file, you place it in your WordPress root directory, it needs to have wp- load.php in the same directory. You then open the URL and you’ll be seeing an interface like this:”

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 7 July, 2012

      Yeah you need to open example.com/term-optimizer.php , where example.com is of course your domain name.

      • wesBy wes on 7 July, 2012

        Got it, thanks!

  17. KarinBy Karin on 7 July, 2012

    I was told that using too many tags and categories led to duplicate content and would penalize me in Google. Is this true?

  18. LincolnBy Lincoln on 8 July, 2012

    Did the ‘Indexation’ section of your WordPress SEO plugin disappear? I can’t find it anymore lol

  19. Christopher SimmonsBy Christopher Simmons on 9 July, 2012

    Hi, Joost
    couple of minor issues
    a) got note about update, but no way to download the update? Re-use link from Gumroad ‘congratulations’ email?
    b) in trying to run this today, I got a number of errors printed at top of screen related to the following we use still:
    errors related to:
    plugins/gn-xml-sitemap/main.php

    and:
    Notice: wp_enqueue_script was called incorrectly. (This message was added in version 3.3.) /wp-includes/functions.php on line 2748

    and
    Notice: is_feed was called incorrectly.

    Presumably I may have to deactivate some plugins.

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 9 July, 2012

      a) yes
      b) open the file and change the WP_DEBUG line at the top to false :-)

  20. oneighturboBy oneighturbo on 9 July, 2012

    Just catching up with RSS feeds and caught this… literally just wiped out all tags showing 0′s over the weekend and was on to 1′s. Godsend! Thanks Joost!

  21. AndrewBy Andrew on 11 July, 2012

    Before buying this plugin joost…i want to know that more the tags i have the less i am ranked?accumulated tags affect search rankings?

  22. Bill AldersonBy Bill Alderson on 12 July, 2012

    Term-optimizer run errors:

    Not sure how to proceed.

    Undefined index: sidebars_page in /home/synsyna/public_html/wp-content/themes/synsynack/includes/fn-core.php on line 286

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/synsyna/public_html/wp-content/themes/synsynack/includes/fn-core.php:286) in /home/synsyna/public_html/term-optimizer.php on line 56

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 12 July, 2012

      Hi Bill,

      Open the file and where it says define( ‘WP_DEBUG’, true );, set that to false :-)

  23. René FrederiksenBy René Frederiksen on 12 July, 2012

    Can’t get it to work and doesn’t get a real error (in safari). In firefox it just re-directs to the home page. Same in Chrome.

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 12 July, 2012

      Drop me an email at joost at this domain, quickly :)

  24. AlexBy Alex on 13 July, 2012

    Just purchased the plugin and I got these two messages:

    Notice: Undefined variable: cache_wptouch in /home/alex/public_html/domainanme/wp-content/plugins/wp-super-cache/plugins/wptouch.php on line 109

    Notice: get_bloginfo was called with an argument that is deprecated since version 2.2! The siteurl option is deprecated for the family of bloginfo() functions. Use the url option instead. in /home/alex/public_html/domainanme/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2712

    Can someone help-me on this?

    Thanks!

    • AlexBy Alex on 15 July, 2012

      For anyone facing the same problem, open the file and change true to false in the WP_DEBUG line

  25. Frederico GorskiBy Frederico Gorski on 15 July, 2012

    Seems fine! Would be better if could pay it through paypal though. Have $30 credit there, expecting to be used on features like this. If it is possible. The Dollar – Real currency is killer right now, would be better using this credit.

  26. Nashua IndigoBy Nashua Indigo on 16 July, 2012

    Well I have use tags for a long long time, till I find out that Google is see that as duplicate, I’m almost crawl error free, after I removed all the tags, so I’m confused to see here a post about optimize tags … is it really good for your site and the rank or the seo …

  27. AdamBy Adam on 16 July, 2012

    Hello yoast!

    Just read your wordpress SEO post, but the comments were closed on that page. So I had a question to ask. Which TLD is better for SEO? .com or .co?

    I haven’t found any domain that ranked well for .co. Need your suggestion regarding this.

  28. JonathanBy Jonathan on 17 July, 2012

    I’d like to buy this plugin, but the Buy Term Optimizer button/link takes me to the homepage of gumroad.com
    How do I buy it?
    Thanks.

    • LucienBy Lucien on 1 August, 2012

      Thank you for this awesome plugin! I have changed al my titles and set everything to automated :D Your plugin is great! Regards from Lucien, the Netherlands

  29. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    Just bought the tool.
    Remarks: The wp-load.php is in the public_html directory.
    I needed to copy to wp-load into the home directory of my site.
    Opening the term-optimizer in public_html does not work, it redirects in ANY browser (Safari and Firefox) to the homepage searching for the word “term-optimizer”.
    When I used Firefox I could open the tool, but I got a bunch of notices and warnings:
    Notice: add_option was called with an argument that is deprecated since version 2.3 with no alternative available. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2714

    Notice: Use of undefined constant TIMING – assumed ‘TIMING’ in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-content/plugins/amazon-link/amazon.php on line 81

    Notice: wp_enqueue_style was called incorrectly. Scripts and styles should not be registered or enqueued until the wp_enqueue_scripts, admin_enqueue_scripts, or init hooks. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 3.3.) in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2748

    Notice: add_option was called with an argument that is deprecated since version 2.3 with no alternative available. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2714

    Notice: attribute_escape is deprecated since version 2.8! Use esc_attr() instead. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2628

    Notice: register_widget_control is deprecated since version 2.8! Use wp_register_widget_control() instead. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2628

    Notice: register_sidebar_widget is deprecated since version 2.8! Use wp_register_sidebar_widget() instead. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2628

    Notice: register_widget_control is deprecated since version 2.8! Use wp_register_widget_control() instead. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2628

    Notice: attribute_escape is deprecated since version 2.8! Use esc_attr() instead. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2628

    Notice: attribute_escape is deprecated since version 2.8! Use esc_attr() instead. in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 2628

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php:2714) in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wassup/wassup.php on line 1994

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php:2714) in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 881

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php:2714) in /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/pluggable.php on line 881

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/geoorgge/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php:2714) in /home/geoorgge/public_html/term-optimizer.php on line 56

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 19 July, 2012

      Change true to false in the WP_DEBUG line at the top of the file to get rid of those errors.

  30. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    Tool seems to be great.
    but wp debug is not taken, even if I set it to false.
    I any browser:
    take a look: http://snbchf.com/term-optimizer.php

    • George DorganBy George Dorgan on 20 July, 2012

      The multiple select works when I search a freely entered tag, but does not when a check an existing tag.

  31. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    A minor problem: The multiple select in the “Optimize Terms” menu does not work. I must select all posts manually.

  32. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    How to redirect a tag to an other tag (not a category) ?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 20 July, 2012

      Use the merge functionality. Select the one you want to redirect, hit merge, select the “target”.

      • George DorganBy George Dorgan on 20 July, 2012

        Used the functionality. I merged tag “tax” to the tag “taxes”.
        Result: Both tags were deleted.
        MAJOR BUG.

        • George DorganBy George Dorgan on 20 July, 2012

          Just to describe what I did.
          I selected both “tax” and “taxes” in order to merge them.
          Then I get into the action menu for merge. There I select “tax” and execute.
          Both tags are deleted.

          I understand now what I did wrong, I should have selected only one tag and not two. But it is difficult to understand, so you should do a check if the target tag of the merge is not contained in the source tags.

        • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 20 July, 2012

          As you described what you did, you didn’t do as I said… You shouldn’t have included the target in your initial selection. It probably should catch that but since I’m on holiday now I won’t fix for another few weeks…

  33. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    Next question, a bit more important: the search finds parts of word and I could tag it.
    Example: CAD (the currency) is part of academical
    But I do not want to tag it to the currency CAD.
    Could you provide an option either:
    1) Ignore Capital Letters
    2) Whole words only

    Or do you have the options already ?

    But the tool is AWESOME !!

  34. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    Next issue:
    For two words tags, e.g. “Capital Controls”. For those both “Capital” and “Controls” are found.
    But I want to tag only the whole “Capital Controls”, not all capitals and all controls.

  35. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    Just blew up my site with your tool, when I used the redirects…

    Thanks to a technician on HostGator, I removed the wrong redirect.

    It was my fault: I wanted to enter a redirect to a different tag and entered the tag inside custom instead of an URL.
    PLEASE replace “custom” with “custom URL”, so that people understand without having read all the instructions.

  36. George DorganBy George Dorgan on 19 July, 2012

    What I actually wanted to do is a redirect from one tag to another tag, not a category.
    Is this possible ?

    • George DorganBy George Dorgan on 20 July, 2012

      ok you answered that

  37. Devin ConcannonBy Devin Concannon on 19 July, 2012

    Hello Joost,

    I downloaded the zip and tried to upload to my site with no success. It’s saying Plugin failed with the following message: Unpacking the package…

    Installing the plugin…

    The package could not be installed. No valid plugins were found.

    Plugin install failed.

    Screenshot below:
    http://screencast.com/t/0FZiXRPBPpD

    Any ideas?
    Devin

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 20 July, 2012

      Yeah, it’s not a plugin. Just put it in your root WordPress folder as described in the article.

      • Frederico GorskiBy Frederico Gorski on 20 July, 2012

        Joost, is it possible to pay you through paypal?

      • Devin ConcannonBy Devin Concannon on 20 July, 2012

        Thanks Joost. Egg on my face…

  38. FionaBy Fiona on 22 July, 2012

    Hi Joost

    Looks like a great tool. Can’t wait to buy it, but am finding your payment form inpenetrable. What is one supposed to put in the box at the top of the payment form? Tried my name, but that doesn’t seem to work. Could you label that box like you have the others?

    Thanks

    • JaredBy Jared on 24 July, 2012

      Fiona,

      I found the form a little weird as well. Most of it was grayed out on my screen. The fields are email, cc#, code on the back of your card, expiration date.

      It’s an easy decision to purchase this functionality for $25 to save days of work or worse, inaction.

      Thanks!

      • FionaBy Fiona on 25 July, 2012

        Hi Jared – thanks so much for your reply.

        I did get that far – however what I’m talking about is the box right at the top of the form – it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the card details. It’s blank and seems to require something entered into it. I have no idea what.

        Thanks again :)

  39. Turismo inBy Turismo in on 24 July, 2012

    Yes, Joost de Valk! I think that “Tag Optimization for WordPress” is a very great tool for to have a seo wordpress site. Fantastic works

  40. ChrisBy Chris on 26 July, 2012

    Tool seems to be working good But do you think search engine like Google could would penalize? any thoughts

  41. ArthurBy Arthur on 28 July, 2012

    I am using your WordPress SEO plugin and love it. This new tool sounds interesting, but I think with small websites it can be done manually, although it is not a nice job to do.

  42. BarryCrowBy BarryCrow on 28 July, 2012

    This plug-in sounds interesting though I have never tried it yet. I think I’m gonna go grab one now!

  43. Adrian CerdaBy Adrian Cerda on 29 July, 2012

    Hi!

    If I use this tool, can I delete it when I finished the cleaning?

    Thankyou!

    • DaveBy Dave on 2 August, 2012

      Yes, you can delete it. Just be aware that some plugins even after being uninstalled will leave behind data within the wp_options table of your wordpress database.

  44. ThomasBy Thomas on 29 July, 2012

    Hello,

    I bought the plugin but nothing loads when I use the url http://medailles2012.com/term-optimizer.php

    It’s in the same fold as wp-load.php and I tried to put debug mode on true and false, also tried differents browsers but no luck so far.

    Thanks for you assistance

  45. Rajesh KumarBy Rajesh Kumar on 31 July, 2012

    Dear,

    I am using your SEO plugin and finding it wonderful, But right now I’m feeling some difficulties while optimizing the titles for bbpress forums on wordpress,

    I am not able to generate any title for the forums tag pages, here is one located http://www.expandinindia.net/blog/tags/expand-in-india/

    Please suggest what to do, how to resolve the issue,

    Thanks

  46. ericBy eric on 31 July, 2012

    Hey,
    i bought it, loaded it to the root (with wp-load.php) and tried to open it. But there ist nothing else then a login. After login i reach the dashboard. After using the link again there comes the login screen again. And so on…

    Can you help?
    eric

  47. ScottBy Scott on 1 August, 2012

    Yoast, thanks for this. I’m about the write a few posts for my website and I really have absolutely no idea about the whole tag/category thing. I’m going to follow your guidelines now though so it should be a little easier.

  48. daveBy dave on 3 August, 2012

    I’ve been using WP for 2 years and have remained ignorant of proper tag use – I think I’m ready to change!

  49. Frederico GorskiBy Frederico Gorski on 3 August, 2012

    Hi joost,
    Please check your paypal e-mail, I have sent you may payment two or three days ago.
    thnx

  50. Nathan GiesbrechtBy Nathan Giesbrecht on 4 August, 2012

    Another brilliant creation Joost. Keep up the great work.