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Have you noticed that, as humans, we have an innate need to organize stuff? I don’t know about you, but I have far less anxiety when things have a classification – A place for everything and everything in its place. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, this type of classification and organization is called a taxonomy.

How Taxonomies Work

There are taxonomies for lots of things. In the field of science, a taxonomy is the branch of science concerned with classification of organisms. The taxonomy for my blog is made up of the categories:

  • Content Development
  • Content Quality
  • Content Strategy
  • Global Readiness
  • Good Words

The categories are the way I choose to group my blog posts. It is an organizational scheme.  It is one of many. I could group my blog posts in other ways. For example,

  • Authored by Val
  • Authored by Tim
  • Authored by someone else

or

  • Under 500 words
  • Between 501 – 1000 words
  • Over 100 words

There is no one right way to create a taxonomy. Though, depending on what you are categorizing, some ways make more sense than others.

Which Taxonomy is the Best

How do you decide which taxonomy is the best to use for your content? In general, when we create a taxonomy for content, the overriding attribute that we focus on is search. A well-organized taxonomy makes your content more searchable. This is true for internal search (within your organization or corporate site) as well as searchability by people outside of your corporate walls.

Looking at my blog organization, I decided that using a taxonomy that organizes my blog content around topic categories would be more helpful in finding content than who authored it or the size.

Organizing Candy into a Taxonomy

In this video from The Brain Scoop, scientists are asked to organize candy into a taxonomy. There are a variety of ways they look at the candy:

  • Color
  • Uniformity
  • Ingredients (chocolate / not chocolate)
  • Size
  • Shape

In the video, our host, Emily Graslie, wants to organize candy so that she can reach into a bowl and shove a big handful into her mouth. She hypothesizes that organizing by color won’t work. After all, if organized by color you could have a red peanut M&M in the same mouthful as a red cinnamon Jelly Bell. And that would taste awful.

If you are confused about taxonomy, take a look at this enjoyable video. Then, head out to the candy store before you begin your next content project.