September 21, 2017
4 Ways to Use Taxonomy

Taxonomy is the organization of content into categories or topics and audiences to define content types.

Implementing a taxonomy for your information is key to ensuring it's findable, shareable and usable across your organization and digital experiences.

To help you understand how you can leverage a well-developed taxonomy, let's look at four use cases:

  • Website organization and search
  • Customer Support
  • Content-as-a-Service
  • Ecommerce

Website Organization and Search 

Organizing your website is typically done by web pages information architecture. In most cases, web page templates are tied to a content type. But sometimes, a company may want to create other web pages that tie to specific taxonomy elements. For example, maybe you want to create a micro-site that focuses on a particular product or topic and you need to create web pages that incorporate multiple taxonomy elements. You may also want visitors to browse your website by topics or categories, similar to how allows visitors to browse products on its website.

You may want to create widgets that get added to page templates that show content accordingly to the content type of the web page. Consider a product page. On it, you would add a Recommended Content widget that shows content related to a particular feature of the product. You can also leverage taxonomy to personalize the web experience by tying together visitor information (such as traffic history or geolocation) and relevant content.

Website search also relies heavily on taxonomy. When you model your content right, it's easier for visitors to search and find the right information quickly. Taxonomy also supports faceted, or guided search, which enables visitors to refine searches down to key content elements. Finally, taxonomy improves search features such as "did you mean", synonyms, and related searches.

Customer Support

Customer support portals are critical to providing customers with easy access to support, including self-service options. A customer support portal includes sections for self-service ticketing, knowledge bases, communities and more. A well-defined taxonomy enables your customers to quickly find the information they need to resolve their issues.

One example is offering a list of knowledge base articles in the support tickets section related to a particular topic the customer selects. The customer can browse through support content to see if their problem is resolvable without submitting a ticket.

Applying taxonomy to the knowledge base is also critical to ensuring content is findable. This includes improved search options such as faceted search, as well as search that incorporates the customer's context (focusing results on products the customer currently has, or similar products they might find useful).

When you know the customer, you can take advantage of taxonomy to improve their experience by automatically surfacing content related to their particular situation (products they own, past support tickets, and so on).


Content re-use is gold in marketing. The ability to create content once and then reuse it across different channels is essential to providing a consistent customer experience. Content-as-a-service (or headless content management) is the ability to create content and deliver it to multiple websites, mobile apps, business applications, kiosks and other channels. Content re-use and content-as-a-service can't happen without a well-defined taxonomy.

Content is pulled (or pushed) into different applications and web experiences using a RESTFul API that requests content by content type, or other content metadata. If your taxonomy is correctly defined, getting the right content into publishing channel is straight-forward.

An example of content-as-a-service is creating content in your Web content management system and then delivering it to the Help section of a financial application. The same content could also be delivered to a customer support portal, or a mobile application for the same financial application. 


Ecommerce websites are great examples of how taxonomy can provide visitors quick access to the products/services they want.  For starters, you can show related products in a widget on a product page, or surface related products in a search. You can also provide related content such as blogs, datasheets and other product-related content within the context of a product page to encourage engagement and improve conversions.

Wrapping it Up

These are all great examples of what a well-defined taxonomy can do to improve the use of your content.  Creating a taxonomy can be simple, or complex, depending on your information and specific requirements.

Download our white paper: The Content Manager’s Guide to Taxonomy, to understand how to create and manage a taxonomy for your company.

Posted by David Hillis
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