Accordingly a recent video from Google Webmaster Central Channel on YouTube, Matt Cutts, the head of Google webspam team, has pointed out that in replying a reader’s question – “Do tag clouds help or hinder SEO?” too many tags on the blog page can result in keyword stuffing that makes Google or other search engines consider the links as spam/less trusted links, and Matt does not recommend bloggers to use tag clouds.

The biggest problem with tag clouds:

  • the tag phrases are often single words – for example Google, or SEO, and as such are unlikely to be able to be ranked on Google for those phrases. Better to be longer phrases;
  • the tag pages are seldom SEO’ed properly. You need to create an opening paragraph on the pages specifically for that “tag” phrase.

You might view this video below,

I would suggest to remove tag clouds simply as what Matt Cutts said. Anyway, you can still have two solutions for SEO your WordPress tag clouds. Limit the numbers of tags and adding nofollow attribute for tag clouds.

Limit Numbers of Tags

The default limitation of tags is 45, you can change the number as you desire. First open category-template.php under wp-includes folder, and find this code,

function wp_tag_cloud( $args = '' ) {
	$defaults = array(
		'smallest' => 8, 'largest' => 22, 'unit' => 'pt', 'number' => 45,
		'format' => 'flat', 'separator' => "\n", 'orderby' => 'name', 'order' => 'ASC',
		'exclude' => '', 'include' => '', 'link' => 'view', 'taxonomy' => 'post_tag', 'echo' => true

Then change the 45 to equal the desired number of tags.

Add NoFollow Attribute for Tag Clouds

Another solution is adding rel=”nofollow” no-follow attribute for each tag in tags cloud. WordPress by default doesn’t have “no-follow” attribute added to the tag cloud. You need to open wp-config.php in root directory and then add the following codes, (via Tecrux)

add_filter( ‘wp_generate_tag_cloud’, ‘my_nofollow_tag_cloud_example’ );
function my_nofollow_tag_cloud_example( $text ) {
return preg_replace_callback(‘|<a (. ?)>|i’, ‘wp_rel_nofollow_callback’, $text);

You can also add the code below to the theme functions.php, (via Rlmseo)

function add_nofollow_tag($sLink) {
    return str_replace('<a href=', '<a rel="nofollow" href=', $sLink);
add_filter('wp_tag_cloud', 'add_nofollow_tag');

WordPress No Follow Tag Clouds Plugin

SmartBlogTips has a handy plugin that add no-follow attributes automatically to tag clouds, you are not necessary to do it manually. Check out the WordPress No Follow Tag Clouds plugin.

Do you still have tag clouds on your blog? Share your views as comments!

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