YouTube Keywords and Tagging Best Practices

youtube keywords

YouTube Keywords and Tagging Best Practices

When it comes to optimizing videos on YouTube, there are some guidelines and standard practices to follow in order to find the best results. Follow along to learn what can be done to grow viewership through video optimization. We will tell you the best practices for how to use tags on YouTube. 

Basics of YouTube Keywords and Tagging

First, let’s discuss the basics of YouTube search results and why using tagging is so important. YouTube is basically a search engine, like Google, but specifically for YouTube.

How YouTube Tags Work

Tags are words! YouTube tags are simply keywords that describe the video and give context to YouTube. The tags are used to categorize videos and make them easier to discover. Just like SEO, your title thumbnail and description are important for helping users find your content. Video tags are just like keywords. Tags for YouTube videos are like keywords for SEO.

What Tags to Use on YouTube 

A general rule (but obvious) rule is to use tags that are related to your video. It usually works to use the same words that you used in the title for your video. You want to choose target keywords for your videos that are related to their content. Then, choose some broader match tags related to the general category your video fits in. For example, choose “cooking” if it is a video of you making your favorite recipe.

How to Tag YouTube Videos

If you are wondering how to add tags to YouTube videos, the process is very simple. To tag your YouTube videos, go to your YouTube Studio page. Find the video you want to add tags to in your Menu. Then, click on Edit. Finally, add tags in the box of the video underneath the Description tag.

YouTube Keyword and Tagging Best Practices

Now that you know what YouTube tags are, let’s discuss the best practices for tagging your YouTube videos.

Create A Keyword List

The first step is to create your keyword list. You may already have a keywords list if you have experience with general SEO related to your website or blog; if not we will be sure to cover some of the best methods for keyword research.

Building a keyword list is done by aggregating specific search terms and search queries from a variety of different sources. The first place to look is at YouTube’s autofill results. By beginning to type in a specific subject in the search bar you can see some of the top searched results begin to autocomplete. This is a good place to start, as it will give you a good idea of some of the most popular options, but don’t stop there.

Use Keyword Programs

Next, is to further our keyword research with some keyword aggregate systems. These programs are browser extensions or add-ons that can help you in your search process. A program like Keywords Everywhere can help better inform your decision for which keywords to choose. Programs like this can show you the top results for specific search queries and which other search terms are commonly associated with them.

Once you have started to find some keyword options, it’s time to start compiling them into different categories. Many businesses often have a variety of different divisions when it comes to their overall operations. Maybe you have a sales department, a customer support department, and a marketing department that will all be needing video content that serves to accomplish a different goal. Start thinking about which keywords will fit with which department and how they might work to help achieve these goals.

You also might try to add a mix of long tail keywords and shorter, more broad keywords.

Each video you upload will have its own specific keywords, based on the subject matter of the video, but there will also be keywords that describe your channel and its objectives, regardless of your video subject matter. Some concepts for these keywords would be the industry you are in, your company, where you operate, and other commonly searched for search queries related to your business/industry.

These general keywords should be used for all videos. It will help YouTube’s algorithm better understand what your channel is and how to promote it. It will also help when recommending other videos of yours to viewers who have only watched one or two of them. YouTube can auto suggest more of your videos to other viewers. Cool, right? 

Create Videos Based Around Your Keyword List

You might already have a vast library of videos in need of optimization or you might just be starting out in your video content strategy, regardless, you probably found in your keyword research that some commonly searched for subjects would make for a good video idea. If people are searching for something you should be creating content for them to find.

Especially if you are someone just starting to create video content, this is a great way to find ideas for videos. You can also better focus your energy on creating videos that you know will have a higher chance of reaching audiences. If you are looking to reach new and bigger audiences, this is the best way to ensure you reach that goal.

youtube keywords benefits

Use Keywords in Video Titles and Descriptions

Now that you have your keywords and videos to upload it’s time to make sure they have the proper title and description. This is a step that can be easily overlooked but one that shouldn’t. The title and description will help inform YouTube’s algorithm, as well as the actual viewers of your videos, as to what the video is and if they should be interested in it.

Sometimes video titles can be tricky; they should be both informative and engaging. Make sure to use one or two of the main keywords related to the video while crafting the title and make sure it has an enticing appeal. YouTube titles often ask questions that viewers themselves want to find out the answer to, something like “Where Does [subject] Come From?”. Titles can also offer an authority on a subject; “Professional Offers Their Recommendation on [subject]”.

A good way to get inspiration for a title is to look at others uploading similar content and see what they use for titles. You don’t want the exact same title but this inspiration can offer insight into the viewer expectations in your industry.

How to Write a YouTube Video Description

When writing your video description, you should summarize the contents of the video. The description of a YouTube video has a 5,000 character limit (compared to the 100 character limit for a title) so you have more space to write. You don’t want to spoil the contents of the video but this is an opportunity to provide further information related to the video. A set of instructions, links to a product page, or information on an upcoming event; important information that might get missed by a viewer due to it only being on screen for a few seconds.

As well as writing a description, you should also write part of the description as a general description of your channel. A description of your business, links to your website and social media, and any other call to actions you would like to highlight. Once you have written this part, it can be copy and pasted into the description of all of your videos.

The first line of your description will show up in search results. It basically acts as a meta description for your video. Since this is the case it is vital that you utilize major keywords in the opening of your description.

Organize Videos Into Playlists

YouTube offers the option to organize videos into playlists. This is a beneficial task because it allows you to categorize relevant videos so that they are found together and placed in a specific order. Playlists offer creators control over the viewer’s viewing process, as one video plays after the other. If you have a series of videos this is the perfect way to make sure viewers see every step of the process.

Playlists are displayed on your YouTube channel which allows a viewer to easily navigate your library of content, especially if you have a lot of videos. If you have specific video categories, such as products or instructions, this would be a great way to keep them organized.

Playlists come with their own options for titles and descriptions so make sure to write good ones to further the success for these videos. Playlists can be found in search results and having an optimized title and description will further the possibility for it to be recommended.

Share Your Videos Within Your Network

Once a video is ready to be viewed it is important to promote it within your own network of external sources. Sharing a video on your website and social media profiles is a great way to get an initial boost in viewership. These places already have an established audience and they will have a better chance at interacting with your video.

If your video starts to get a lot of traction initially YouTube can recognize its potential and is more likely to recommend it in searches. As the audience grows so will the possibility that it will be seen by those like minded people looking for similar information.

youtube keywords strategy

Follow Up on Comments

Once a video is uploaded and publicly accessible, it can be easy to step away and get to work on the next one. While your job is almost done it is important not to forget to follow up with comments. 

As people view your video they may leave comments, some good and some bad. It is important to follow up with those who might have questions or have expressed gratitude. It shows that you, as a business, care about those viewing your videos and what they have to say. This keeps the viewer returning to your video and keeps your name in their mind.

It is also important to monitor your comments for negative comments. While it is perfectly fine to keep differing opinions available to be viewed it is important to keep up with any comments that might be hateful or incorrect. Making sure your channel is not a place for hate or disinformation is crucial, especially if you are a company that prides itself on a specific brand identity.

Try a YouTube Tag Generator

If you are struggling to come up with tags for your YouTube videos, try using a YouTube tag generator tool. A generator can help you come up with some of the best tags to use on YouTube.

Continue The Process

Remember, this is a work in process. Results don’t happen overnight, nor should you expect them that quickly. Continue to work through this process with each video to grow an audience and increase viewership in subscribers and view count. 

Depending on the size of your current online audience, this process can be quicker or slower. A trajectory is completely unique to each channel. You might get lucky early on and hit it off quick or you might be stuck working at it for a while. This isn’t something that can be predicted but if you are consistent in your habits you’re sure to see results.


  • How do I find relevant keywords for YouTube?
  • What is the best way to grow an audience on YouTube?
  • How do I get more views on my YouTube Videos?
  • How do I write a good YouTube video title?
  • Are YouTube playlists useful in YouTube success?

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