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When the topic of taxonomy is raised, there may be questions around the need as well as a lack of general understanding of taxonomy. We have a content strategy, isn’t that enough? What is taxonomy, exactly?
Taxonomy in its simplest sense is a knowledge organization system. It’s at the core of content management and therefore essential to user experience and development. A content classification, or labeling system, is needed for efficient content management. Terms and relationships need to be defined, and decisions need to be made to ensure content is consistently categorized. Taxonomy is integral to that process supporting features like search, navigation and personalization.
Taxonomy supports search by helping users quickly find information they need. A well-developed taxonomy with effective tags that have been validated will provide accurate and detailed search results. For navigation, taxonomy creates the site structure to support users’ ability to find content.
Content can’t be used most efficiently if it can’t be located. For personalization, taxonomy labels and organizes information to help return appropriate content to the intended audience. Additionally, the development of an efficient taxonomy will facilitate tracking information during user visits, what categories they use, and what information they are seeking to target messaging or content recommendations.
Failure to establish rules and document processes for taxonomy will result in inconsistent processes and independent management of taxonomy across the enterprise. Taxonomy addresses the issue of classifying information and populating elements within the content management system with complete and consistent values.
Taxonomy governance and best practices will be discussed in the next post.