Updated January 29, 2019
So you’ve spent all this time creating great video content for YouTube and now it seems that all your hard work is for nothing?
You’re struggling to get the views that your videos deserve, despite your best efforts?
We feel your pain!
How are people getting insane amounts of views on YouTube?
Well, here’s one way… proper video tagging. Do you know how to use YouTube tags effectively to bump your videos to the top of YouTube’s search?
We’ll show you an easy way how in this article. Because just a few tweaks can get your content directly in front of the right eyes.
What are YouTube Tags and Why are They Important?
About 400 hours of new video content are uploaded to YouTube every minute, according to Business Insider. 400 hours per minute – that adds up to a mind-boggling 576,000 hours of video per day.
As you can see, you are not the only content creator on YouTube who’s trying to promote his business or build a successful channel with hundreds of thousands of followers.
How can you ensure that users will actually find your videos in the first place and prevent them from getting lost in the depth of YouTube?
Flashy thumbnails, catchy titles, a little bit of clickbait. The truth is, there is a whole arsenal of strategies and techniques that will make your videos stand out. One of them, which many video marketers often underestimate, is using YouTube tags.
What you have to know is that YouTube is not only the second most popular social network, it’s also the second largest search engine right after Google. Viewers use YouTube’s search bar to find videos that provide solutions for a specific problem that they have or to learn more about a topic in general. And that’s where YouTube tags come into play.
If you are not completely new to online marketing, you’ll know that in order to rank your website prominently in the SERPs (search engine results pages), you have to optimize it for the right keywords. The same applies to ranking videos on YouTube.
Keyword research is key. You can learn more about keyword research for YouTube here. Tip: Use YouTube tag suggestions!
What do you do once you have a long list of keywords that you want one of your videos to be found for? Include them as tags. Tags can be words or short phrases and they allow you to tell YouTube what your video is all about and help to categorize it.
On a side note: The number of tags you can include per video is limited. You can use a maximum of 30 characters per tag and 500 characters in total including separators. This is why you want to choose your tags wisely!
It’s About a Good Mix
Now that you know that you can drive more views on YouTube via search when you properly tag your videos, the question remains: What are the best tags for YouTube videos?
First of all, the more tags you add the better. This is because your videos will rank for more keywords at the same time and it increases the chance that they will be displayed in the related and suggested videos lists of other videos.
However, it’s not that easy. There are good tags for YouTube and there are bad tags for YouTube.
In order to find the good ones, think about how users would search for your video. The best way to go about this is to come up with a mix of highly-targeted multi-word tags, single-word tags, broader terms and also your channel name.
- Multi-word tags are whole phrases that describe the content of your video precisely. Make sure to also include synonyms here.
- Single-word tags are like headwords and can be pulled from the multi-word tags. Again, don’t forget to use synonyms.
- Broader terms will make your video(s) appeal to a wider audience by showing YouTube that it relates to thousands of other videos.
- The reason why you want to add your channel name as a tag is because people might be searching for that name directly.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you’ve created a video explaining “How to Teach Your Dog to Sit”.
For multiword tags or phrases, it’s probably a good idea to include the following:
- “how to teach your dog to sit”
- “how to train a dog sit”
- “teaching a puppy how to sit”
Ideas for single-word tags are:
Broader term to include:
The tag “pets” suggests that your video is not only related to content about dogs, but to all topics that have something to do with pets.
- “Andy’s Awesome Dog Training”
And lastly, definitely avoid including any unrelated tags. This is only going to confuse YouTube and will make your video show up for irrelevant search queries, which can even lead to a removal.
How to Add YouTube Tags
Here are some step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the process of adding tags to your videos on YouTube:
1. In your YouTube dashboard, upload a new video that you would like to publish. You can already start adding tags while the video is still uploading. Simply click into the “Tags“-field under the “Basic info“-tab.
2. Copy or type in all tags separated by comma.
3. Once you are done with all the settings, hit publish.
Of course, you can also edit the tags of your already existing videos. All you have to do is go to the video manager, click the “Edit” button next to a video and scroll down to the tags field that we are already familiar with.
Tips for Optimizing YouTube Content
Because of the sheer amount of content that is continuously being uploaded to YouTube, it’s important to optimize your content with the proper tags so that your content can easily be found by internet users.
So far, we’ve explained how to add keywords and tags to your content. Now, we’re going to summarize the most important areas that you need to make sure are filled out, as well as a few other tips for optimizing your YouTube videos.
Doing Keyword Research for Popular YouTube Tags
As with any other type of keyword research, you’re going to want to find the top YouTube tags. In other words, keywords that will help drive traffic to your YouTube content.
The absolute best place to search for YouTube keywords is on YouTube itself; however, it’s a good idea to use a combination of keyword research tools such as Google Search Console, Moz, SEMrush, etc., to find the most frequently used keywords.
Always keep in mind that the keyword tags you use will help YouTube categorize your video.
The problem is that the platform limits the number of tags that can be used on a single piece of content. Therefore, it’s important to find good combination of multi-word tags, or long tail keywords, that are also relevant to your video’s content.
We also recommend using a combination of single-word and broad-term keyword tags to help YouTube effectively understand what your content is about.
We should also note that it is never acceptable to use copyrighted or trademarked material in the metadata of your content unless you’ve specifically obtained explicit permission to do so.
Let’s take a look at a few example tags for a hypothetical video titled, “How to ask your parents for a pet dog”
Multi-Word Tag Examples
- How to ask your parents for a pet dog
- What to tell your parents when you want a pet
- How to decide what type of pet you want
- Asking your parents for a dog
Single-Word Tag Examples
Board-Term Tag Examples
- Pet care
- Rescue animals
- Adopting dogs
Searching Your Competitors’ Content for Good YouTube Tags
A sneaky, yet an extremely valuable method for finding good YouTube tags is to check on your competition to see what tags they’re using.
However, YouTube makes it tricky to “spy” on your competition by hiding metadata tags when you view someone else’s video.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to get around this roadblock.
There are a number of online tools that can be used to get tons of insightful data about what your competitors are doing, which includes, of course, allowing you to see the meta tags they’ve used to get their content to rank high.
Many tools, such as TubeBuddy, have both free and paid versions of the software, which allows you to choose exactly what tools are best for your keyword research.
Once you’ve chosen and installed the online tool of your choice, you’ll then be able to view a YouTube video and see all the metadata that was used to help it rank well.
When you see that one of your competitor’s videos are getting a substantial number of views, take a look at the tags they’re using. If these tags are also applicable to your content, it might be a good idea to try using some of them where you can.
Key Areas to Fill Out
When a user uploads a video to YouTube, it can be tempting to forgo filling out the empty boxes, especially if you’re not quite sure what they all mean.
However, these boxes, known as metadata, are extremely important for allowing YouTube’s algorithm to quickly filter through thousands of search results and help you find the content that you’re looking for.
After you’ve performed some research to find the best possible keywords, you’re going to need to implement them wherever applicable to help your video rank better.
With that said, here are the most important areas to fill out when uploading YouTube content:
- Title – The headline or title should always include the most frequently used keyword that is relevant to the video. Titles should always be kept as short and as concise as possible to help convey what the video is about. It should also drive the desire in users to click on the content.
- Description – A good description should usually weigh in at around 500 characters. It should briefly describe the content and explain what questions the video will answer, or in other words, how the video will be useful to the user. Also, remember to incorporate some of your frequently used keywords to help rank the video better.
- Meta-Tags – As we’ve already mentioned, tags are essential in helping YouTube’s algorithm know what your content is about. Always add tags that are relevant and similar to the keywords that you’ve found during your keyword research phase.
- Cards – Cards are used to increase the amount of time a user spends on your channel or to direct them to your website. Cards can be used effectively to help guide users to other relevant videos or to immediately convert them into leads by sending them to your site.
- Final Screen – The final screen is basically a screensaver that will play once your video has ended. It can be used much in the same way as cards can; to guide and direct your users towards a specific action or goal.
- Intro Picture – The intro picture is the image that users will see while your video is queued or in a list of results. Intro pictures need to attract the user’s attention and entice them to click on the video to see what it’s about.
We’ve now explained how to implement keywords into the metadata section of your YouTube uploads, as well as how to find the best keywords to optimize your content. Now, it’s time for you to think about the best tags for YouTube that you can add to your videos.
Remember, while adding as many tags as possible will usually benefit your video rankings, proper tagging is about looking through the eyes of the users and thinking about how they would search for your content.
Although adding as many tags as you possibly might seem like a good idea, it won’t actually help YouTube understand what your video is about. Therefore, always make sure to use tags that are similar and relevant to what your content is about.
On top of that, focus on a good mix of whole phrases, single words, and broader terms. Keep in mind to also add your channel name and stay well clear of unrelated keywords for optimum results.