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7 Ways to Optimize Your YouTube Tags

I can’t get YouTube off my mind. With apologies to Gil Scott Heron, the revolution is being videoized. Contrary to popular opinion it just may be an ad revolution. H&R Block’s recent promo for their TaxCut online filing includes the most linked to comedy video in the history of YouTube.


There has also been a recent spike in my search traffic from the keyword “optimize YouTube tags” to a post I did about 6 weeks ago. Since the content of that post did not necessarily focus on ways to optimize YouTube tags (or any social media tags for that matter) I thought that in the sprit of SEO and the strategy of meeting the unmet needs of your audience here are ways to optimize YouTube tags.

Note: I have no idea how YouTube selects the order of their search results in relation to relevance. Sometimes I don’t even see exact keyword/tag matches fill the first page of results but there are exact tag matches on subsequent pages. I’ve done a bit of reverse engineering and I see no rhyme or reason relating to how the title, tags, views and rating data influence results. If anyone has insight on this let me know. So for the moment:


1. Make sure your tags are relevant to your content. Seems obvious but this takes some thought to get into the minds of users similar to keyword discovery.
2. The more tags the merrier. I see no penalty for using all your available tag space.
3. Spread your tags out among your clips. Adding more tags can help snag some tail.
4. Use adjectives. Remember lots of folks are browsing and they’ll use adjectives to find what they are in the mood to view.
5. Have some category descriptor tags. It’s important to remember YouTube’s default search settings are Videos, Relevance and All Categories.
6. Match your title and description with your most important tags. Basic SEM practice applies here as well.
7. Don’t use natural language phrases and waste tag space on words like “and” or “to.”

Let’s take a quick look at leveraging the YT results filters:

Date Added – make sure your clips are not too long. Keep them short enough so that you ensure frequent posting on the same tags to keep attracting views.
Views – It’s important to leverage the social nature of YouTube to help maximize views. Ideally you want to get on user subscription lists as well as get exposure on favorites.
Rating – Quality matter though the rating system is has so many videos with similar star ratings that it’s somewhat pointless to optimize for.

Tags are only part of optimizing YouTube. Keep in mind the influence that your title has in attracting CTR. You need to pull every lever to build an audience. The social nature of YT requires getting on users subscriptions and favorites. Again, it all gets down to quality. This is what inherently what makes YouTube great. You build attention by being incredibly interesting.

There truly are some incredible videos on YouTube…and with new ones coming all the time getting your video seen will become more difficult... and at the same time more valuable.

Comments

Great thoughts here - I'm putting together a video for my company and these tips will come in very handy!

It helps to keep the five W’s of communication in mind when creating the tags: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Using a well known name for Who, think in terms of search volume, What can be a known brand. Where is important because people do search with geographic locators. Search optimization is more than making it search engine friendly, you need to make it “search friendly.” That means clearly labeling your videos so that when someone is looking in their download list they can tell what the video is about before they watch it.

Interesting point about recommendations - I wonder if putting up a rating score in numbers would help (3.4 v 3.45 might be better than 3 stars versus 3 stars)

Jonathan, in conversations I had with someone at YouTube, I was told that more tags isn't necessarily better as it can confuse the system. Silly as it sounds, I wouldn't be surprised given YouTube's site-search issues.

HELP! I can't get my video to show up on a search even tho i have tags and it has been almost over 24 hours since I last updated it...it's for a contest that ends Friday...any suggestions?!

Jonathan, in conversations I had with someone at YouTube, I was told that more tags isn't necessarily better as it can confuse the system. Silly as it sounds, I wouldn't be surprised given YouTube's site-search issues.

optimizing videos will be more competitive as compared to webpages cuz webpages have textual matter to lean upon....but here as i see we only have tags, desc etc to depend upon and the content of the vdo doesnt matter at all.....please correct me if im wrong.....anyways...nice article :)

This is great!

I would also suggest that the picture icon (the icon that appears to the left of the video when it appears in the search list) be something that really sets itself apart so visually people are attracted to it.

You have to time this within your video, however, as you only get three sections of your video to choose from

Thanks for this great article. I will definitely use these tips whenever i upload any video on youtube.

So that's how you do it?! Thanks for the great advice and help!

Interesting posts everyone. I still have one niggling question which I can’t find an answer for:

How should tags be entered in YouTube? There seem to be many options, but I’m not sure which ones are working correctly. i.e.
should a sports video be tagged:

sport,football,goals,score,highlights,the best goal ever (commas with no spaces)

or

sport football goals score highlights the best goal ever (just spaces, no commas, but then how would the phrase “the best goal ever” be recognised?)

or

sport, football, goals, score, highlights, the best goal ever (spaces and commas)

etc etc etc. I could go on. Are any of the above right? are all of them right? and if so- what's the effect of each technique.

Any Ideas?

Al

YouTube doesn't seem to allow infinite tags now... after adding several, it asked me to add tags (as if I had never added any).

So there's a capacity limit.

I wonder what that is?

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Thanks for the suggestions!

why is YouTube only allowing me to use 3 tag words? what give Google?

Interesting to see that two years down the road, people are still reading and commenting on this topic, which was #1 in my Google search. Thanks for the tips, I am off to Youtube.

Thanks for the suggestion

An extremely helpful tool to help optimize the tags you add to your video can be found by going to this link:
https://ads.youtube.com/keyword_tool

It really has helped me tremendously. An example of the public statistics are search volume.

Hope this helps!

Mike

I would also suggest that the picture icon (the icon that appears to the left of the video when it appears in the search list) be something that really sets itself apart so visually people are attracted to it.

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