The Water Cooler

Findability: Using Tags to Make Your Community Content Easier to Find

By Lenn Thompson posted 05-28-2015 03:40 PM


You've joined the CA Communities, are following the communities that matter most to you and you've even started to create your own discussions, documents and maybe even blog posts. It's great that you're asking questions, connecting with colleagues and sharing your product experiences. It's the lifeblood of our communities.


But there is one way that you can make your content even more valuable – make it easier to find.


Over the next few months, I’ll share some ways to improve the findability and searchability of the content you're creating in the communities -- starting today with tags, which you can add just above the “Categories” (which you should also make sure to use!) section when you’re creating content:




You might be asking yourself "What are tags, exactly?"


The best way I've seen to describe them is this -- if we think of the categories as the table of contents at the beginning of a book, then the tags are what you find in the back of the book in the index. And, if you think about how you use an index in the back of a book, it’s easy to understand why tagging your content is important. It helps people find what you’ve written.


Different types of community content will benefit from different types of tags. An event should have a speaker or speakers listed as a tag, but a Tuesday Tip wouldn’t. That same tip should have product name and version tags though, where a video might not.


To help all of us understand what tags we should be adding to our content, I’ve worked with the communities team to create a simple matrix that breaks tag types into “Highly Recommended,” “If Applicable” and “Does Not Apply”:


(A spreadsheet version of the matrix is attached to this post as well)


Some of the tag types may seem self-explanatory, but it can’t hurt to define them a bit:


  • Product/Plugin/Add-On: Please use as full of a product name as possible. Use the category listing as a guide.
  • Version: This is an easy one. Just include the version/release number
  • Features: This will vary greatly from product to product, but if your content is about a specific feature of a product, please include that.
  • Tasks: Again, this will vary greatly, but if there is a particular task you’re trying to accomplish with a product, include that.
  • Topic/Discipline: Think about the larger business trends or topics that people might be searching for information about. Things like “big data management” or “application development” would fit here.
  • Type: These tags should help define what type of content it is. If it’s an “Document” you might use “presentation” or “KB article” as the type tag.
  • Speaker: Please use the speaker’s first and last name as one tag, so “Lenn Thompson” rather than “lenn” and “Thompson”


This is our first attempt that tackling tags on the site -- but we know it's going to help. And, as we implement these guidelines, we'll review their success and adjust as needed in the future.


Some other tips I’d offer include:

  • Don’t use abbreviations. People don’t typically search on them
  • If you use an acronym, also spell it out. So if you want to use “WA” also please list out “Workload Automation”
  • Be comprehensive, but don't overdo it. Try to adhere to the guidelines above without adding too many tags.
  • Think like someone searching for content – use the tags that would help you find the content


Have questions? Leave them below and I'll answer them as best I can.