YouTube Tags: How to Better Label Your Videos to Expand Your Reach
More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There’s currently more content on YouTube than you could watch in 18 lifetimes (far more if you actually factor in eating, sleeping, and other necessary functions).
That should explain why it’s so difficult to truly succeed on YouTube. In fact, over half of the total videos in YouTube’s infinite library get fewer than 500 views. That can be pretty discouraging when you consider the significant commitment—of time, resources, and energy—that comes with creating quality videos.
Thankfully, making smart use of YouTube’s searchable tagging system greatly increases your chances of being discovered.
Tips for Tagging YouTube Videos
YouTube tags are keywords that you can add to your video to optimize your content for search. The more effort you put into your tagging strategy, the more likely it is that quality leads with stumble on your content.
- Use YouTube’s Auto-Suggest Tool: When you start typing in a keyword, YouTube will give you a list of tag suggestions. These suggestions can be especially valuable for keyword research.
- Conduct Keyword Research: There’s a reason why certain channels become popular while others languish in obscurity. Conduct searches for suggested keywords, locate popular videos and channels in that niche, and find out what other tags they’re using.
- Ensure Tags are Relevant to Your Content: Some YouTubers try to capitalize on trends by including popular tags in irrelevant videos. DO NOT DO THIS! If you’re caught, you could get banned. Besides, why would you want to target an audience that isn’t interested in you or your business?
- Include Both Specific and Generic Tags: Specific tags are those that relate to the exact topics that your video covers. Generic tags are more broad descriptions of the type of content (e.g. “DIY,” “How-To,” “Vlog”). You’ll need both if you want to rank higher in related searches.
- Remember to Use Long- and Short-Tail Keywords: Normally, long-tail keywords are more effective for SEO optimization because they provide better leads. For YouTube, however, both long-tail and short-tail keywords are effective. For example, a makeup tutorial for a smoky eye look could include the tags “Tutorial,” “Smoky Eye,” and “Makeup,” but it should also include longer variations of related search queries, like “How to apply a smoky eye.” There will naturally be many different ways that different users frame longer search queries, which is again why keyword research is so important.
- Include Both Singular and Plural Forms: A single “s” could be the key determinant in whether or not someone finds your video, so make sure to include both variations to ensure that your video appears in search.
- Make Use of Default Tags: Default tags ensure consistency across your channel’s content, and consistency gives you a better chance of appearing in the recommended videos column. You can create a list of default tags by going to https://www.youtube.com/upload_defaults. Just remember that these do not apply to mobile uploads.
- Remember to Tag Your Brand: Always self-reference your own channel’s name. Using a branded tag will ensure that if someone types your name into YouTube (or even Google) that your videos are the ones that pop up first.
- Use at Least 10 Tags: Tags can be up to 120 characters long, so you’ll want to make good use of every last one.
To track how well your tags are pulling in interested YouTube viewers, keep a spreadsheet of your videos and the keywords you use for each one along with your engagement stats. You can also try using an analytics software such as VidIQ. This will allow you to see how your video is being found, what was searched, as well as what the watch time is of each video. You’ll also learn more about your demographics, including the gender and location of your viewers, along with the times of day when your videos get the most views. Tracking the performance of your YouTube tags will be crucial to improving your ability to choose relevant, quality keywords over time.