Tag Cloud

What Does Tag Cloud Mean?

A tag cloud is a logical arrangement of keywords within a textual content that visually describes the subject of a website, blog or any other text. Tags representing the most popular topics are highlighted using bold, larger fonts or increased color saturation to make it easy to see the most popular tags on the page. Tag clouds are used as a navigation or visualization tool to help users search the content easily.

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A tag cloud is also known as word cloud or weighted list.

Techopedia Explains Tag Cloud

A tag cloud is a visual, stylized method that represents the occurrence of words or tags within a textual content such as websites, articles, speeches and databases. The tags in a tag cloud are represented according to their frequency, weight and meaning relative to other tags. They may be sorted alphabetically or according to their relevance, frequency or similarity.

Various methods are used to configure how the tags are represented. These include using varying fonts, colors and backgrounds. The large, bold or contrasting colors represent the most popular tags. Website visitors therefore are able to easily see the popular tags and discover the topics covered in one quick look. The tags in the cloud link to their respective content, and clicking on a tag opens up the referred content.

Tag cloud generators are available either as a plug-in in most website publishing software or as a standalone application. They usually generate the tag clouds automatically by analyzing the keywords or frequent words on a website or text. However, the tools may differ depending on whether a website is static or dynamic.

The use of tag clouds has advantages as well as some disadvantages, which may vary depending on the user goals. For example, they help users know immediately what the website is about, in addition to helping them browse and navigate through the Web page. However, if not properly configured, tag clouds can cause a website to have too much clutter, keyword spamming or excessive links.

The usability and effectiveness of tag clouds depend on factors such as the font size, weight, color, alphabetization, sorting and other visual features that influence the speed of finding a tag.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.