The Game of Tags

Tags are used to categorize, sort, label and locate posts on the STEEM blockchain.

Most of you noticed that:

  • a post must have at least one tag
  • the first tag cannot be changed
  • some posts have a lot more tags than Steemit allows

There is a reason for all of this. Let us discuss the first and second point first. The primary (first) tag is mandatory and is actually not a tag at all. It is a category. It visually looks like a tag but the blockchain does not recognise or treat it the same as the others. It cannot be edited after the post is made.

Subsequent tags are all tags and can be changed at any point in time. Their purpose is help collation. While only allows four of these tags (on top of the category, totalling five), the blockchain does not have such limits. For this reason, some 3rd party applications inadvertently allow users the ability to attach additional tags.

There are two styles of tags: generic and proprietary. Generic tags can apply to a wide range of topics. #Blockchain, for example, can be attributed to a discussion of the STEEM blockchain or of any blockchain project. #Food can be used to share recipes, discuss the chemistry of ingredients, talk about world hunger, or to simply post a picture of one's dinner.

Proprietary tags either have been created to be utilized as a part of specific project, such as #busy or #utopian-io, or are carefully-curated to support a narrow community, such as #steemstem or #steemsilvergold. Posts using these proprietary tags are typically scrutinized by the community they represent for quality.

Tag Use

Tags on the STEEM blockchain are treated differently than on Instagram, for example. On Instagram, it is beneficial to use popular tags, even when they are irrelevant to the content, because the ultimate goal is for the image to gain visibility. The more followers an account has the better.

On the STEEM blockchain, quality is paramount. Uploading a picture coupled with improper tags and thus authoring a post holds no benefit to the author if the traffic is unintentional. Rather than being beneficial, the tags can lead viewers to downvote (flag) the post and remove whatever rewards it could have otherwise received. It is always in the writer's best interest to use tags that accurately-describe the posted content.

In the preceding paragraph we briefly touched on the ability to insert more than five tags into a single post. More isn't necessarily better, however. Tags are meant to represent the topic of the post. Adding a lot of tags is not necessary and does not generate more viewership but instead dilutes the quality of the post by making it look spammy and scammy.

Tag Spam

Tag spam, as defined by the @steemcleaners, happens when an author deliberately applies tags that don't fit the post in order to game the rewards their curators provide. For example, let's take a close look at the #introduceyourself tag.

The #introduceyourself tag is meant to be used for one's introductory post -- a post that talks about the author, shares why they joined the community, mentions their goals or dreams, and in general provides an "about me" overview. Typically, this is the first post a new user would make and is therefore the most important post for that person. The #introduceyourself tag is also curated by myriad members and bots who welcome new users to the platform, often with an upvote.

Individuals who realized they can exploit the good-will of other Steemians by creating numerous similar introductory posts using the #introduceyourself tag or by applying the tag to irrelevant posts are committing the act of tag spam. By doing so, they are harming legitimate tag users and negatively impacting the entire community.

Tag Abuse

Tag abuse, as defined by the @steemcleaners, is the unintentional application of the wrong tags to a post. They do this for a variety of reasons, the most common being a misunderstanding of how tags work and what they mean.

For example, the #steemit tag is meant for discussing the website, Steemit Inc, guides on how to use the site, and other directly-relating matters. A lot of people, unfortunately, mistakenly believe that the tag is a catch-all for all content that is posted through the website. The more people post irrelevant content under the tag, the more confusion it creates and the more tag abuse takes place.

Navigating Tags

When one pulls up the View all tags button at the base of the tag list, they are presented with an alphabetical view of the tags with related information on how many posts and comments sport them and what the total payout for these is to-date. Often this table is misunderstood. Just because a lot of posts have been created using this tag, it does not make it the preferred tag to apply to a post. Likewise, the payouts are not an indication of what a post using this tag will earn.

Tags featured on the side of the home page are listed in descending order based on their popularity. It does not mean that these are the best tags, only that more posts use them than other tags. Here is an overview of the top most 30 most popular tags:

#lifeA generic tag that fits most blogs. It is very general and has a wide application.
#photographyA tag meant for photographs taken by the member. It is not meant for random photographs taken from the internet.
#steemitA tag for posts about the Steemit website itself. Posts can include suggestions on how to use the website, improvements, or discussion about Steemit Inc.
#krThis is a language tag for posts written in the Korean language.
#artThis tag is meant for posts showcasing original traditional and digital visual art or otherwise artistic expression.
#introduceyourselfA tag specific to the initial self-introductory post a user would make.
#bitcoinMeant for posts discussing bitcoin.
#blogAnother very generic tag that can be applied to virtually any post. It was originally meant to be used for diary/journal-type posts but has since evolved.
#spanishThis is another language tag for posts written in #Spanish.
#travelThis tag is for posts about travelling. It is popular for vacation photos or posts describing visited locations.
#cryptocurrencyPosts discussing any crypto, including STEEM/SBD, fit within this tag.
#steemThis tag is for discussing the STEEM/SBD tokens or the STEEM blockchain itself.
#foodPosts about anything related to food, cooking or eating fit here.
#natureAnything to do with plants, animals or nature in general.
#busyA tag used for posts made through or posts about it.
#indonesiaThis is a community tag for denoting posts by Indonesian users.
#storyThis tag is for diary/journal blogs or fiction.
#funnyAnything to do with humor, memes or jokes would fit here.
#newsPosts either discussing current events or providing a commentary on external journalism.
#writingA tag meant for original fiction and non-fiction writing, such as poetry or essays.
#dmaniaA tag used for posts made through Dmania, typically sharing memes.
#dtubeThis tag is automatically applied to all videos uploaded through Dtube. It can also be used for posts about Dtube.
#acehThis is a community tag for Indonesian users from the Aceh province.
#moneyA generic tag for posts about business, earning money, or cryptocurrency.
#cryptoA short version of the #cryptocurrency tag.
#photoA short version of the #photography tag that has a wider intended use than photographs original to the user.
#utopian-ioA tag for posts made through the Utopian platform or about it.
#musicThis tag is for discussing music or sharing original music.
#cnA language tag for posts written in Chinese.
#contestThis tag is for various contests and competitions.

An Example of Proper Tagging

Notice how in the above post, the tags apply to the topic of the post, which is a story about the member's cat. It has a mix of popularly-used tags like #life and #blog as well as narrow-scope tags like #cat and #pet. The #photo tag is used to mark the fact that a photograph of the cat is attached to the post. Anyone searching the #cat tag for posts about cats will be able to easily find it.

Do you have specific topics that you'd like @steemcleaners to address and clarify in our future posts? Let us know in the comments.


Very clear explanation about the use of tags on @steemcleaner: Is it also possible to create a new tag for example #nl for posts in the language dutch (for people living in The Netherlands, Belgium, Surinam and Netherlands Antilles)?

Hi. There is already such tag. You are welcome to use it as long as the post is written in Dutch or refers to Netherlands.

Thanks for the information.. Now I understand all the things.. Stay blessed and be happy..

Thanks for a great article... I'm new to Steemit, and I'll admit my initial thought was "Instagram-Style #tagging". I was referred to this article, by a new friend (shout out to @guiltyparties) and while most of it is common sense, I'm not too sure I agree with his advice/suggestions (did I mention I'm new here, so I might be wrong :p).

P.S. What's your opinion on using "in-post" #tags. You used them a lot in this article, because it makes sense to do so... but I'm referring specifically to #tags that the community doesn't (yet) use.

For example... I use #HeeltydSpeeltyd, which is Afrikaans for (loosely translated) "Always PlayTime" a lot on all my other social media channels, and it's become my catchphrase. Would it be annoying if I signed off every post using the #tag inside the post itself?

My objective is to, once I have enough posts, allow new/random people discovering an old post, to have a quick and easy way to discover the rest of my posts.

P.S. Apologies for the long comment... I do hope I hear back from you.

Sorry man, still the same person here. You may use any tag you want inside the text of a post but it does not create an instance of that tag being used on the blockchain. Kind of how the above post listing all those tags does not actually tag that post with all of them.

It links to them, sure, but it doesn't add to their use. Linking your posts together with tags won't work either. Months ago I used to tag my posts as #guiltyparties. Currently, if you click on that tag, you'll see that nothing is tagged there. That's because after a while, older posts cease to be pulled up. The query to pull them is too challenging/lengthy to execute so Steemit or any other service/site has a cut off.

The best way to ensure your content can easily be found by your followers is to keep your profile clean. That means not resteeming other people's content unless absolutely necessary.

Awesome explanation... Thanks!!!

Very nice & clean post. Thanks a lot.

Thank you, I was really mystified at how people were doing the more than 5 tag thing.

After I read this blog l learn much about tag in steemit, before i read this post There are still many who have not I know about steemit tag
Thanks for sharing @steemcleaners

This is a great guide for new users who are uncertain about tags! I will definitely keep this in mind and link to it if I see people using unrelated tags :)

Very good, where can one now see a list of all the tags to find the specific tag for your new posts?

Thats great info buddy
we shouldn't do spamming in tags because spammy tags can lead to account baning after being warned several times

This is a fantastic post!

I really wish more people would follow this simple logic when tagging their posts, it would really help create a better community.

Thanks @steemcleaners

Thanks for support.

He called you simple.. :p

I am simple

Good to know bro :)

Thanks for the clarification! Always trying to do the right thing, but it can be unclear at times.

Thanks for the information .. this is very interesting information for me and everyone will be helpful now..

Very Informative! Thank you!

How about adding a list of the comments that looks like a spam for the future post ? ;)

Nice post... [insert referral link here] [insert follow me here] lol

Lol @pjau thats what i told XD

Good idea, noted. Commenting properly is one of those things that are becoming a lost art.

Yeah sure!!, i'm glad that my suggestion are being accepted ;) @guiltyparties

Thanks for this. When I was newer, I used the busy tag because my post was about being busy. One of my friends informed me that busy was something else. I noticed that some people had lots of tags- I wondered about that. I wondered what Aceh was too- got the answer here. :) Resteemed- Take care.

Some tags like #busy changed over time actually. Shortly after Steemit launched there was no Busy the website, so the tag was primarily used as you described, for being busy. Same with Aceh. There were so few users from that area that the tag simply did not exist.

Quite informative, thanks.

Excellent help for beginners, a fairly accurate way for them to understand the correct use. Thanks for the support

I appreciate the post. I am wondering if a person's been on steemit for a while and followers are not as aware of all that person has to offer in writing, is there such a thing as a re introduction post where you can reintroduce yourself to newer followers. What about anniversary posts or thank you post what tags should a person use thank you again

You can always make an updated post about yourself but it's not a good idea to use the #introduceyourself tag for it. One, it will confuse the followers. Two, it will make your profile look spammy. The best solution is to write a new post and somewhere in there link to your original one. Kind of how witnesses write update posts. Good tags for the post you're describing would be #update #thankyou #anniversary #followers and anything that the post will talk about. If you write about a specific topic such as medicine, for example, you can use that tag.

Thank you for this post! I learned more about how to use tags correctly and also how to correctly report tag abuse / spam on your website!

Great information! I learned my way around the tags myself but this wouldve really helped me at first! Good job! :)

This is what I've been needing! Thank you so much! I never got into Twitter so hashtags and tagging in general are new concepts to me. Looks like I'll be going back and editing a few posts. 😉 I know for certain I used busy and Steem inappropriately.

I do have a question. I've been on for a couple weeks and have posted a few times, but never did a formal introduction. Should I go back and do that or maybe just add that tag to one of my early posts? I'm really enjoying the community and all the positive support. Thanks.

Seconded for what pjau said, you can always go back and write an intro post. Just so long as you dont tag all of your posts with #introduceyourself I wouldn't worry :)

Yes that is totally fine. It's more just people abusing it because it's popular and people who keep doing introductions more than once that get flagged.

#busy can be used on any post you post on Busy. That's its intended use.

Thanks again for all your hard work SteemCleaners!

I know there's a lot of issues to address on the platform, but I see a lot of progress every week in creating community standards and cleaning up some of the junk posting and abuses that are happening.

Tag abuse is certainly problematic, most notably the abuse of the #IntroduceYourself tag. Cleaning up this category is critical to creating a positive and rewarding experience for new users on this SteemIt platform and I'm glad that it has garnered some attention.

Good info. Had no idea how to tag at first.

We are glad that this guide have been of help to you.

Thank you for new information

Super post.. we know it but this is good for the reminder..

Thank you very much @steemcleaners, I didnt understand all this initially, I will do make sure to reframe from plagiarism

Thank you for understanding.

A very clear and understandable explanation of the tag system here on steemit. Good to know that the very first tag is the key tag and cannot be changed and that it will help people to get their posts found easily. 100% upvoted and resteemed.

The more people see this the better and hopefully reduce the spammers and copy paste freaks.
Keep up the good work @steemcleaners we are watching out for you too.

Photo of @molometer keeping an eye on the place. :)

Thank you for your feedback Molometer.
I hope you are all alright? :-)

I'm doing fine, and thank you for asking Logic.
Difficult time atm, just got to keep busy.

What do you mean by difficult?

This may help to explain my current feelings I'm dealing with it as best I can.
Are you still in Portugal?

No I have left few days after the fest was over.

I'm sorry about your mum :/

Excellent description about the use of tags.

Recently I saw some posts aimed at newcomers using the #introduceyourself tag. One post in particular made quite a bit from the post. I thought it was not quite fair, and would never use the tag myself, but didn't realize that @Steemcleaners classed it as tag abuse! Thanks for filling us in on that!

And keep up the good work! This needs to be Resteemed to get the word out!


Thank you for your feedback.
If you notice any tag abuse (for example, using IY tag more than once), please report to us on our website.

You are welcome! Again, thanks for all you do, although I know you can't cover every kind of abuse. Thanks for clarifying that the first tag is a actually a category. I recently read a post (maybe just yesterday) about how to add more than 5 tags to a post. Would using more than 5 tags be classed as tag abuse?

Hello, it may look spammy if it is more than 5 but it is not abuse covered by steemcleaners. It is acceptable practice that we leave for community to sort out/decide if they frown upon it or not.

I've found that when it comes time to choosing the right category & tags this is the least fun part of posting, for me at least.

Scrolling through the list of tags doesn't always help in choosing the best fit, and I know that not all tags appear on the list either.

So thank you for this guide. :)

Best post on tags I've ever seen on Steemit! THANK YOU! 😊
Archiving the link to this post on TGP!

Thank you for reading our guides :-)

I got a @steemcleaners comment once for using the # steemit tag on irrelevant posts. Something missing from the table is the use of tags to attach a post to a certain competition: for example: # dliver or # vehiclephotography.

We deliberated adding contest tags to the post but thought it would be more information that most users would want at the same time. Contests all have their own specifications -- the #colorchallenge contest, for example, requires additional tags based on the day of participation.

Nice decision! Keep developing in the right direction guys!

Such a big help! Thank you. Nice article.

Perfect! Too bad people abuse tags. 😐

I needed this information, thank you very much for sharing it, I don't know if it is available in Spanish. Greetings and thanks again.

So, for example if I write something about photography in Spanish, I add the #spanish to the article and also add #photography, it will be deemed as spammy because it's in Spanish? Or it's ok to write something in another language and use the right tags, although the article isn't in English? Thank you!

It's OK to use whatever tags make sense for your article. In your example, since your article is about photography and in Spanish, it would make sense to use #spanish #photography and maybe #information, #castellano, #blog. In your example, when it comes to the #photography tag for example, you're not using it for a photograph but instead for an article about the art of photography, which is very relevant to it as well.

Alright! Thank you for the clarification!

Whew, I get it, where before I didn't!! Thanks for steering us in the correct tagging process @steemcleaners!

nice post

Completed. This post is more important for me and others, how to use tags in Steemit. I saved this post for archive.

Thanks for this! I found it helpful as someone new to Steemit. I’m still learning the ropes so anything like this is appreciated.

I am happy to stumble on this

Thanks for the guidance. Every day I am more clear. I do not finish learning. These minds that created steemit are extraordinary and my greatest recognition.

Nice information

Thanks for answering a specific question I had in mind--how to use the kr tag. I write on Korea (from time to time). Wasn't sure whether or not to use the #kr tag, or a #korea tag. Now I know. If I can't write in Korean, I shouldn't use that tag. Another tag also clearly defined (and misused by me, I'm afraid), #photography. Didn't realize #photo was more appropriate for a blog featuring vivid photos that are not original (but credited). As a relatively new user, I'd like to observe the etiquette of the platform. You've made that easier to do. I write on a wide variety of subjects--have wide-ranging interests, although history, language, literature and science are likely to attract me more than cryptocurrency or gaming :). Without being wedded to a specific niche or community, I can easily stumble into a faux pas. This guide will help me to avoid that.

There is no clear distinction between country tags and language tags. The distinction should be up to the tag users themselves. If you write about Korea using either tag but nobody objects, you should be OK. I frequently write about China or Chinese topics (mostly language, which is my academic specialty), but nobody has ever objected. The worse tag users can do is to not read your content, i.e. ignore you completely :-((

I did not know it

Gracias por esta explicación tan clara sobre como usar los tags en esta comunidad. Es de gran ayuda para personas que apenas estamos empezando.

Continua con tan buen trabajo.

Saludos desde venezuela

Great post. Help me understand the way tag should be use & how they work 👍

This is quite helpful, thanks a lot for made it

This is a must read for starters like me..I made many mistakes as well...

Now I got to know ...the real stuffs!

Thanks for the info.

wow thanks a lot for this post really found it very informative

very helpful, thanks!

Thanks for all these information.....i wasn't aware of the rules...

Posted using Partiko Android

Thank you for pointing me here. I have read all of the post and most of the comments.
My intention was good "Help more users get accounts on steem" but as soon as those automated "welcome new steemian" replies started coming in I knew I had done something wrong. Only use the introduce yourself tag Once.. to Introduce yourself.

I have two questions.
Is there some kind of process for creating proprietary tags, or is it ok to just make one?
Can I use a proprietary tag as a primary tag?


Thanks for the very useful information on post tags 🏷

I can't think many tags that relevant to my post, five tags just too many for me, so after I read this article I understand that I ca't use it randomly this is so helpful. I think I can translate this article it to my native language. I hope you will let me do it @steemcleaners :D

Good Tagging is very essential to enable other people locate your post. Always make sure your tags align with your content.


Thank you so much, I never really understood how tags work. Luckily I don't think I have unintentionally ran foul of the rules as I usually pick tags relevant to my blog post, but now I can focus them a bit more

Thank you for reading.

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