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Community Labels and Tags Strategy

Content Coordinator

Labels and Tags.png

Does the phrase, "Help! I can't find the content I need in the community." sound familiar? Many communities struggle with this issue but don't know where to start to fix the problem.

A good place to start is to look at your community's labels and tags. These categorization features are often overlooked and can greatly improve content navigation. 

One way to think about the hierarchical relationship between labels and tags and their place in your community is through the lens of an encyclopedia. But first... 

How to use an encyclopedia: A refresher 

KhorosEncArtboard 1.png

Remember when encyclopedias had all the answers? How did you find the information you needed quickly amongst all those pages?

Chances are you looked at the sections within the chapters first to see where you should start searching. After skimming through and picking up some keywords, you hit the index to see where else that keyword might be used and get to learning.

Now, let's apply this resource concept to your community

  • Your community as a whole
    • Encyclopedia Series
  • The categories within your community 
    • The individual volumes that make up the encyclopedia
  • The different discussion types Blogs, Forums, TKBs, and Ideas 
    • Chapters within each volume
  • Labels defined for the different category discussion styles 
    • Sections within the chapters intended to show what broad topics are covered
  • Tags included by content authors
    • Keywords / Glossary / Index at the back of the volume.

KhorosEncArtboard 1 copy 2.png

Okay, so what you might be thinking is that nobody reads encyclopedias anymore; they scroll through social media and get fed content.

Well... you're right. But these platforms organize content in a similar manner that aims to feel familiar so users can find new things to follow.

Same concept, applied to social media channels

  • Social media as a whole
    • This is the Encyclopedia Series
  • The apps, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok 
    • These are the different volumes
  • The search or browse section within the app
    • This is equivalent to a chapter. (Most social media apps have 3 content discovery chapters: Home, Search, and Notifications. Search gives the best visibility to label usage for this example.)
  • Categories at the top of the search or browse section
    • These are sections which broadly define the content, just like predefined labels
  • The bottom of the posts contain hashtags
    • These are the keywords that can link other posts together

Take a quick look at the images of social media search for a visual of predefined labels and user-defined tags in social media. 


Combing through an encyclopedia without sections and keywords to find a specific topic is near-impossible. Predefined labels and user-generated tags help define the content and guide users throughout your community. Well-structured labeling benefits are always worth the effort, but there are many ways to think about them or how to use them.

Comment below and tell us how you use labels in your community or ask any questions about this encyclopedia method. Visit the Labels section of Community Docs to learn more about Labels. 


Excellent post, thank you!  Hope to see even more like this in the future!

Content Coordinator

@jeffshurtliff Thank you very much! I hope it gives some clarity to a way to approach labels and tags. 

There will be plenty more in the future! This was a fun one for me.


So, we wanted to use more labels and really looked forward to applying a structure throughout the community. We piloted labels on of our boards, ( and it is really a great feature to apply more context to the post and to enable filtering on the board page as you can see from the link above, but we also found a glitch that made us hesitant to deploy this any further.

- Labels need to be applied by the user as they post. Obviously we define the labels but then the user needs to select the label as they submit their post. Not a biggy

- But if the users are posting in the wrong board and they have selected a label, we can't easily move those posts to the right board as it has a label that does not exist on that board.

The issue is

  • If a post was incorrectly posted in the instant ink a user was forced to choose a label.
  • You can not move a post to the correct board and edit/remove the label as the new correct board does not have this label set up
  • You can not remove the label before moving as you would edit the post within the II Board to remove the categories but this board does not allow you to repost without having a label assigned.
  • The workaround as far as I know is to have a hidden board with all your community labels set up and to use this as a interim board for your moderation need.

I wonder how others manage this situation, Any recommendations?


Content Coordinator

Hey @Wendy_S  That's a really cool idea, it's like having a master station to reroute posts.

So to me this is more of a battle against simple human error that most communities will struggle with; users sometimes just won't use labels properly, so we gotta have a way to tidy up.

The workaround that I'm looking towards is adding a basic set of standardized labels for discussions; so for instance all forums include labels, or categories which I think I saw you using, like 'questions, knowledge sharing, troubleshooting' or the basic elements to the discussion. then on top of those few is your product specific labels.

Im thinking this could tie the boards together a bit more and give you some pathways. 

I've been working on this too. I'd love to hear any other uses. 

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

Good points.  I know that @CoryD also went through a MASSIVE label cleanup exercise to uncover all this information and insight. Atlas has been around a LONG time and 100,000's of articles had hundreds of labels - sometimes only a letter or two different (e.g. Best Practice vs Best Practices). I would be interested to see if we track the improved search or navigation from that exercise. 
Also - labeling is definitely an area where AI or semantics could help suggest appropriate labels, auto-apply them, or even highlight labeling issues to admins and mods for their actions. 


Good point, thinking of labels and tags to improve findability of content. While I share @Wendy_S concern about the consequences when there is a need to move threads to the appropriate board, I'm interested in the benefit of using labelling and tagging for improved search. As @JacobBo pointed out, would be great to get insights from tracking.

From a theoretical point of view: Say, I have a thread with a label "hiddentreasure". Would that piece of content rank higher in search results when searching for "hiddentreasure" compared with another thread not having that label (everything else equal, even if both have "hiddentreasure" in the title)?

For us the real power behind the labels is giving members the ability to subscribe to them allowing them to really hone in on content they need. 

We are testing now use of the product association in combination with labels - allowing us to remove product names from labels and utilize labels so members can search 'by topic' (which in my community is what members want to be able to do).  attached a screenshot.   We are testing this on one TKB today before rolling out community wide.  


Khoros Alumni (Retired)

@JuergenM Per the product manager, if you are using a keyword "hiddentreasure" which is also in the title of both the posts, then having it as label does not increase the relevancy of the result. So it wouldn't necessarily rank higher in the results.


We are currently in process of expanding label usage within certain boards as a means to filter. However, we are running into some challenges as there seems to be limited content management capabilities, specifically we have not found a way to remove labels aside from one by one. Has anyone found a method to remove labels in bulk (similar to how tags can be removed)?

This constraint and others, as @Wendy_S mentioned, prevents us from being able to scale the usage across a large community. Are there best practices to share on managing labels and the corresponding content management of topics with labels?