How to Choose the Best Tags for Wattpad Story
Not sure how to choose your Wattpad tags? Our resident keyword & SEO expert is here to guide you step-by-step.
Important Rules of Tagging
Tags are tricky, and every system is a little bit different, so there's a few key details to know about Wattpad's system before picking your tags.
1. Remove Spaces & Dashes
Wattpad prefers compound tags over multi-word tags or hyphenates—so you're better off using "taylorswift" instead of "taylor swift" or "taylor-swift".
2. The Same Word Can Be Used in Multiple Tags
Unlike some other search algorithms, this one seems to see each different tag as separate, even if they include the same words. So you can use "romance" and "darkromance"—they are different.
3. Use Every Tag
Every author is given 25 tags on Wattpad—you should use all of them. Using a range of tags gives you the best chance of success.
4. Don't Lie or Mislead
If it doesn't fit your story, don't use a trending tag thinking it will get you easy reads. It won't, readers will be upset, and the algorithm may very well penalize you for it. Same goes for tags that only vaguely fit your story. Tags that describe a minor side character or a plot point that only happens in one chapter are misleading and unhelpful to you.
5. Avoid Tag Redundancy
Limit the number of tags that same meaning. For example, if you use "love", "romance", "romantic", "loving", "lover", "loves", "sweet", "caring"—you're using too many tags for the same concept and limiting your reach. Having a few similar tags is fine, but if you overdo it, it won't actually benefit you as much as a diverse set of tags.
Popular vs. Niche Tags
When choosing which tags to use, you'll want to consider popularity. This is because some tags have lots of competition (like "werewolf" or "badboy"). You want to spread out your chance of ranking well in any given category, so throw in those big tags, but don't put your hopes into ranking well in them. You want about 1/3 of your tags to be ultra-popular, 1/3 to be medium-popular, and 1/3 to be niche.
You can search a tag to see how many stories have the same tag. Ultra-popular tags have 70K+ stories, medium-popular tags are around 20K-60K, and niche tags will be 15K or less.
Categories for Book Tags
Genre (1-3 tags)
Tip: The genre you selected in your book description actually counts as a tag, so if your selected genre is romance you don't need to add "romance" to your tag list. You will however want to select crossover and secondary genres.
Tropes (4-6 tags)
Wattpad users love a good trope, so make sure to tag the relevant tropes for your book.
Character Identities (2-3 tags)
Since some readers search for particular characters they can relate to, it's a good idea to include any marginalized identities of your main characters as tags.
Audience (1-2 tags)
There's a reason bookstores sort stories by age groups. Your readers will appreciate a quick note about who the book is for—teens, young adults, or adults?
Setting (1-2 tags)
Where is your book taking place? Think both large scale (like the city or country) and small scale (like a hospital or college).
Era (1 tag)
When is your book happening? Is it in modern day or an ancient times? Answer that question with the clearest, simplest answer that comes to mind.
Topics & Themes (8-15 tags)
General topics should make up the remainder of your tags. Twilight, for example, might include include "vampire", "werewolves", and "soulmates". A fanfic might use specific character or ship names (like "edwardcullen"). You can also use more intangible concepts like "spicy" or "funny".
If you're stuck, imagine if you had to communicate your story in emojis: what would you choose? Could you put those emojis into words?
Experiment With Your Tags
Once you've completed your book, it's worth trying to change your tags once every few weeks. Try out plurals ("vampire" vs "vampires"), synonyms ("artist" vs "painter"), and variations ("bxb" vs "mm"), as well as any new tags you may think of. Mixing up your tags will help you discover what does and doesn't work, and you can keep the ones you rank best in.
Do you have a tagging tip? Post it in the comments...