All You Need to Know (and Do) About Content Taxonomy

Have you ever had to scour your content archives looking for a past article to cite in your next blog post, but gave up in exasperation? You know it’s there. You created it. You just can’t find it. You’ll be happy to know there’s a solution – a content taxonomy.

Think back to your high school biology class. You’ll probably remember your frantic search for a mnemonic device to help you remember how to classify plants and animals by categorizing them by specific terms.

Well, a content taxonomy is an organizational scheme for all the assets in your content repository. Minus the Latin.

Whether you classify by theme, customer persona, or place along their buyer’s journey – or all the above – it helps you get to where you want to go. Easily searchable content that helps both you and your audience find what you need.

Trust us. It’s easier than you might think.

For content marketing teams in large companies – or even a smaller company with a decent repository of past content – it’s a must-have. Organizing your content is a critical component of your content operations and governance processes.

And just think. When you’re done organizing your content with a taxonomy, the next time you search for a content asset, it will show up in seconds, not hours.

First, Find Keywords That Align with Your Brand

Every brand – every industry – has specific terms that people use to find its products and services. For example, since we’re in the content marketing industry, we use keywords such as “content management,” “content marketing toolbox,” and “search engine optimization” to sit at the top of our content taxonomy.

A car dealership, on the other hand, might use “sales,” “service,” “repair,” and “maintenance” to classify their content. Use a keyword finder tool to help you select the best terms for your audience and internal teams.

That way, when you create a new piece of content, use the main focus of the content to classify it. You’ll use that classification for your URL and other metadata for audience-facing content to boost your SEO. In addition, you’ll use these keywords to classify content in your internal content management system.

As you consider keywords for your taxonomy, think about how people would search for information on your website. Be sure to include categories for support content, company news, and static pages, as well as topics for blog posts and internal digital assets, such as images and videos that you can use as visuals in blog and social posts.

Next, Create a Structure for Your Taxonomy

Just as you did in your biology class, start with the most general categories. Then, fill in the more detailed categories underneath those terms.

For example, a car dealership’s “sales” category might split between “new vehicles,” “certified pre-owned vehicles,” and “used vehicles.” Then, in the category below “new vehicles,” for instance, the content team might choose the various brands they sell, such as “Chevrolet,” “Buick,” and “Subaru.”

Use Your Taxonomy to Update Your Content’s Metadata

After you’ve created your taxonomy, you’ll need to update the metadata on all the content in your repository to make it easier for people to find. When you align your metadata with your new organizational scheme, you’ll likely see some improvement in your content’s search performance.

And, on your end, making it easier for your teams to find content assets quickly will streamline your teams’ content workflow. They’ll spend less time on searches and other busywork and more time on creating world-class content.

Improve Your Taxonomy with Testing

Like with your content itself, your taxonomy should undergo frequent testing. As new technologies come onto the scene, they can change the way people search for information.

Mobile search, for instance, completely transformed the way people search for information online. Using natural-language search terms eclipsed old-school searches for keyword strings, like “used Subaru Tuscon,” practically overnight.

And, of course, there is the constant barrage of search engine algorithm updates. Without testing your taxonomy’s performance against these changes, you’ll miss your chance to tweak it.

Frequent testing can detect the effects of emerging search patterns, enabling you to update your taxonomy to adjust.

It’s not just your taxonomy’s performance with public searches you need to test. Test it with your internal teams as well. The easier your taxonomy makes their searches, the more quickly they’ll find what they need to create top-performing content.

Document Your Taxonomy and Add It to Your Style Guide

In large companies, the content creation process often involves – and should involve – a broad spectrum of people from various departments. Engaging in content collaboration with subject matter experts, as well as sales and support teams, can add depth and relevance to your content.

While your content teams might be familiar with your current content taxonomy schema, these collaborators might not be. Having your taxonomy available on your company’s style guide can help them choose terms that support your keyword strategy.

Additionally, having a taxonomy that facilitates more efficient content asset searches helps your collaborators find illustrations that will drive your content’s point home.

For example, let’s say that an engineer created a graph several months ago that illustrates how your product performs against its competitors. During your collaboration session, she remembers the graph.

With your taxonomy available right on your content marketing platform, she can refer to it to find what she needs quickly, giving you the perfect illustration and getting her back to her “real job” faster.

Enhance Your Audience’s Customer Experience with Better Organization

While a well-organized taxonomy can expedite your searches for content assets, its ability to expedite audience search makes a huge dent in customer experience. Research shows that the ability to find content quickly impacts a person’s opinion about its quality, reducing your content’s effectiveness by 53%.

Since the purpose of content marketing is to build your brand’s reputation for trustworthy information, it’s essential that your audience perceives your content as effective. Creating and maintaining a superbly organized content taxonomy is well worth the time you spend on it.

However, with a content platform where you can collaborate on and document your content taxonomy, the work can go much faster. And, if that platform allowed you to create, revise, publish, analyze, and store all your content, you could put that taxonomy to work to capture a greater share of your audience.

That platform is DivvyHQ. Designed to optimize your content production from taxonomy to the final product, it’s your fast lane to content success. Start your 14-day free trial today!