We've mentioned it plenty of times before; when it comes to YouTube SEO and getting more views, YouTube tags and keywords play a huge role. It's essential to expand your knowledge of what tags and keywords do and why they're so important. It will enable you to improve your video search rankings more than ever before. Naturally, with better search rankings come more views and, hopefully, more subscribers. Let's dive into everything you need to know about YouTube keywords and YouTube tags.
What are YouTube keywords?
YouTube keywords are exactly that - keywords that you identify to associate with your video. For example, if I'm making a video about climbing an active volcano, my keywords may be "hiking" and "active volcano". You want to select relevant, searchable words that will be your main focus. You'll use these both in the title and the tags of your YouTube video.
What are YouTube tags?
YouTube tags are essentially just keywords for YouTube. They won't show up in your video title or description, but there's a dedicated space for them when uploading your video. It's the same concept as YouTube keywords - you want to use searchable terms that are relevant to your video content.
Why are YouTube Keywords and YouTube tags so important?
YouTube keywords and search tags are crucial because they help the YouTube algorithms determine how good and relevant your content is to various searches. So, when people do a YouTube keyword search (for example, "hiking active volcano"), the algorithm analyzes your tags and keywords. If the tags and keywords are relevant and appropriate to the video content, YouTube will serve your video much higher in its search rankings.
Naturally, the higher you are in the search rankings, the better chance you have of earning clicks and views. But, of course, other things, such as knowing how to make a YouTube thumbnail, play into this. Still, the more exposure your videos receive in the search rankings, the better chance of more views and, hopefully, more subscribers. So, in short, they're a big deal!
How do you find YouTube keywords and tags?
Now that you understand why YouTube video tags are so important, how do you find appropriate YouTube keywords and tags for YouTube?
First up, I recommend doing some market research. So go to YouTube and type in various searches. Think about the topic of your video and what you would type in to find it on YouTube. Now, take a look at the top 10 highest-ranking videos on that search term. What are their titles like? What keywords are they using? What have they mentioned in the video descriptions? This is a really solid foundation for you to start identifying your YouTube keywords and search tags.
Next, I would utilize a plugin such as TubeBuddy. This really enhances your YouTube keyword search and the ability to identify YouTube video tags that will actually provide results. Simply go to their site, install the plugin (it's free, with a paid premium option if you wish), then head back to YouTube. Now, when you're carrying out video research, you'll be able to see how well TubeBuddy ranks it.
For example, on my video here, it's showing how well I perform the search rankings for various YouTube tags. It will do this for any video you're searching for:
The other great tool in TubeBuddy is the YouTube keyword search. On YouTube, simply click the TubeBuddy icon in the top right and navigate to "Keyword Explorer" in the dropdown menu.
Now, you can search and identify the very best keywords for YouTube that relate to your video. For example, when I search "hiking active volcano," it ranks this as "very good" with a score of 67/100. This is determined by search volume, competition and optimization strength. As you can see, you can dig further by upgrading the license to pro level. However, I've found that even the free version is pretty impressive.
You can spend some time experimenting with different phrases and keywords until you land on something that A) you're happy with and B) performs well.
Another great free plugin that plays a similar role is the VidIQ extension.
How do you add YouTube keywords?
Once you've done your YouTube keyword search and landed on your select few keywords, it's a simple case of implementing them into your YouTube video title. I may run with something like "Hiking an active volcano in Indonesia (epic adventure)" for the example I've been using. Alongside your title, you'll also want to add your keywords into the YouTube video description. The YouTube video description is where you can mention a number of your relevant keywords and search tags - just ensure it's all relevant and isn't spam. YouTube will pick up on whether you're "stuffing" your video description with random tags and keywords.
How do you add YouTube tags?
If you're wondering how to see YouTube tags, it's simple. Either while your video is uploading or when you go to edit a video in YouTube studio, you'll see find the YouTube tag viewer in the "video details" section, below the video description and thumbnail options:
This YouTube tag viewer is where you can add your YouTube video tags. I would recommend adding your keywords first and then fleshing it out with several other search tags that remain relevant and appropriate to your video. You'll notice that there's a total character limit of 500 but remember, you don't have to fill this out just for the sake of it. Only using a few niche-relevant search tags is fine and may work in your favor. Use common sense here - if it seems like a relevant video tag, add it. If it's not one of your keywords for YouTube and bears no real relevance to the video? Leave it out.
So, that's your introduction to the world of YouTube keywords and tags for YouTube. Whether you're looking into starting a YouTube channel or further along the line, knowing how to tag YouTube videos properly is a key skill. It can help you unlock more views and really grow your YouTube channel.
Now that you understand what a video tag is and the importance of the YouTube keyword search, it's time to put it into practice. The only real way of knowing if your YouTube video tags and keywords are working is to experiment and analyze the YouTube metadata.
Furthermore, if you'll looking at how else you can improve your channel, you'll want to check out specifics such as how to make a YouTube banner, a YouTube channel trailer, the importance of YouTube cards, the YouTube end screen, as well as knowing how to create a YouTube playlist and how to make a YouTube intro. The trick to achieving YouTube success is in combining all of these different elements and skillsets. There's a lot to master, but we're with you every step of the way!
Josh Edwards is an accomplished filmmaker, industry writing veteran, storyteller based in Indonesia (by way of the UK), and industry writer in the Blade Ronner Media Writing Collective. He's passionate about travel and documents adventures and stories through his films.