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5 Ways To Find the Best Tags for Ranking Your YouTube Videos

There are 720,000 hours of video added to YouTube every day. So the chance of your latest offering being watched by a large audience is pretty slim.

Building a following on YouTube can be a challenging task; so you have to use every tool at your disposal to promote your video.

When considering how to promote your video, it’s essential to understand that YouTube is a search engine. The second biggest search engine after Google, in fact. So the meta-data you add to your video when you upload it (title, description, and tags), can play a part in attracting some initial views.

This post looks at one part of the meta-data – Youtube tags. What they are, how to add them, and gives you five ways to find the best tags for ranking your YouTube videos.

Here we go.

What Are YouTube Tags?

In their help section for content creators, YouTube says the following about tags;

“Tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find your content.”

YouTube is plainly stating that tags are keywords. Should your tags match with the keywords a YouTube user searches for, then you have a chance of appearing in the search results.

However, they then go on to say;

“tags play a minimal role in your video’s discovery.”

Hmm, it sounds like you don’t need to use them then?

Well, if you are a top YouTuber and receive thousands of views in the first few hours after uploading a video, then maybe tags aren’t as important for you. However, if you have a smaller channel, you need to seek every edge, no matter how slight, to drive initial traffic.

The right 4 or 5-word tag added when you upload new content, can kickstart your views.

Once you gain that initial traffic, metrics like watchtime and engagement take over, and YouTube can choose to suggest your video in viewer’s feeds.

Tags Help YouTube Categorise Your Video.

Tags also play a role in helping YouTube decide the precise topic of your video. The English language is a wonderful thing, but it can sometimes be confusing – some words have more than one meaning. So tags can be used to tell YouTube the topic and purpose of your video.

Here’s an example. The video below is about ‘irons’. An iron can be a household item or a golf club. But, the title of the video doesn’t convey to YouTube which kind the video is about.

Golf iron or steam iron

But, YouTube can use the tags and other video meta-data to help categorise the content. The tags for this video leave no room for doubt that it’s about a household iron.

steam iron tags

How Do You Add YouTube Tags?

You add YouTube tags in the video details section of your YouTube Studio. Navigate to your list of videos and click the ‘Details’ icon.

adding tags instruction

Underneath the ‘Audience’ section, there is a text entry box to enter your tags. Tags can be more than a single word; type in the tags hitting return after each one. Alternatively, you can paste in a list you prepared elsewhere.

adding tags further instruction

How Many Tags Should You Use on YouTube?

This one is a little tricky. On the one hand, YouTube permits entry of up to 500 characters in the video tag section. On the other hand, YouTube warns against adding excessive tags in their help section:

Youtube warning for tag misuse

A study conducted by briggsby.com concluded that ideally, you should use less than 300 characters. Which, assuming you are using 3-4 word keyphrases, puts the ideal number of tags at 30-40.

One of the key takeaways of the study recommended that as long as you stay relevant to the video topic, use as many characters as you can manage.

What Should You Use for Your YouTube Tags?

The tags you choose for your video should ideally be 3-word or more keyphrases that describe the overall topic of your video AND the content more precisely.

For example, if you uploaded a video reviewing steam irons, then some of the tags might be;

  • Best steam iron
  • Top steam irons
  • Best steam iron for clothes
  • Rowenta steam iron
  • Tefal steam iron for clothes

As you can see, these tags anticipate the kinds of phrases someone might use when looking for reviews of steam irons. It’s also a good idea to use some related brand names in your list of tags if appropriate.

Using some 5-word or more key phrases in your tags is recommended too. Unless your YouTube channel is a powerhouse with thousands of subscribers, you are unlikely to rank in the search results for shorter 2 or 3-word key phrases.

You can, however, appear in the top results for longer keyword search phrases, though these will have lower search volumes and drive smaller traffic.

5 Ways To Put Together a List of YouTube Tags.

So how do you put your list of tags together?

It’s best if you produce a long list of many possible tag key phrases first, then whittle it down to the best 30 or so. Start a new document or spreadsheet and as you collect potential tags, add them to the list.

You may be able to use some of the tags in another video you are planning; keeping tag ideas together in a file is not a bad practice.

As promised, here are five ways to find the best YouTube tags for ranking.

1.Brainstorm

One way to come up with a list of tags for your YouTube video is to brainstorm a list of keywords that someone might use to search for your video.

Imagine you know little to nothing about the details included in your video. What might a person in that situation type into a search engine to find the information?

It may sound like a silly idea, but you can come up with some out of the ordinary key-phrases using this method. Pretending you know nothing about your video topic can draw out some keywords that your competitors may not be using.

It’s worth a moment of your time before you use the same tag suggestion tools that everyone else uses.

2.YouTube Autocomplete

Autocomplete is a feature that predicts search terms when a user begins typing in the search bar.

It is there to save the user time. Google says that autocomplete reduces typing by 25% and collectively saves over 200 years of typing-time every day!

Because autocomplete predicts what users are going to type it also supplies a useful list of multi-word key phrases.

Here is an example using the steam iron keyword. Adding in extra words, or even a single letter, will reveal lots of keywords you can use in your tags.

youtube autocomplete example

3.Rapidtags.io YouTube Tag Generator

Rapid Tags is a YouTube tag generator that suggests a list of tags based on a seed keyword. You can copy all the suggestions with one click and add them to your list of possibles.

Rapid Tag does say in their about section that some tags may not be totally suitable for you purposes and you should remove any that don’t describe your video well.

rapidtags example

4.vidIQ

vidIQ is a tool designed to help creators build an audience on YouTube. The software has multiple tools for YouTube channels; one being their Google Chrome plugin. The plugin displays additional information about a video directly within the desktop version of YouTube.

Part of the information displayed is the tags used by a video. So, you can view some videos similar to yours and harvest the tags from those videos to add to your list.

vidiq example

5.Ytubetool.com

Ytubetool is a free tool you can use to harvest tags from a video if you don’t want to use vidIQ, or can’t install a Google Chrome plugin.

Simply add the URL of any YouTube video, and the tool will display a list of tags used by the video. With one-click to copy; it’s more potential tags ideas to add to your master file.

ytubetool example

Conclusion.

Using tags in your YouTube meta-data is not the most significant factor in ranking a video on YouTube. However, tags can play a small part in attracting initial traffic to your video.

Tags can also help YouTube to categorise your video, especially if the words in your title have more than one meaning.

YouTube themselves admit that tags only play a small part in your video discovery. So perhaps tags are best thought of as the finishing touches to your YouTube SEO. Necessary, but don’t obsess over it.

 

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Are YouTube Tags Important?

YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet, after Google. Over 3 billion searches are processed by YouTube in a month, with up to 500 hours of videos being uploaded every minute.

This means that if you have a YouTube channel and you want to get viewers, you have to work really hard to make sure your video appears at the top, or near the top, of search results.

You may have better content than your competitors but success is not just about working hard. It’s about working smart. In addition to producing quality content, you also have to make sure your channel is visible. With so many people uploading content all the time, this can prove daunting. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.

how to pick a blog niche

So do YouTube Tags Matter? – YouTube Tags are a throw back to the old days of Website SEO. Tags used to be used to summarize a web page’s content. YouTube tags are not as important as they used to be BUT can be valuable meta data for smaller channels to help categorize content when they first upload videos.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your content such that the search engine, in this case, YouTube, ranks it as one of the top results in search results.

This makes your video visible and increases the quantity of traffic to your site.

Why is it Important?

According to a State of Inbound report in 2018, 45% of marketers invested more in YouTube that year than in any other channel. This means that for you to attract marketers, you have to attract many users who will actually spend time looking at your content because they are interested in it, and are not just passing through.

This is why SEO for YouTube is important. Different search engines have different optimization techniques and YouTube is no different.

We are interested in YouTube tags here but some other techniques are also worth mentioning because they are related to tags.

google analytics for blogs

Finding Relevant Video Keywords

For you to create content that will attract viewers to your site, you need to know what your audience is interested in and how they talk about it. You can do this by simply typing a keyword in the YouTube search box. As you do so, the autocomplete feature will suggest popular searches related to what you’ve just typed in.

You can also use different tools for this like TubeBuddy and Ubersuggest – Tubebuddy can help you deep dive into keywords and maximize your titles for better breakthroughs – you can download the plugin on their website.

You can also compare how frequently different keywords are used so you can know which keyword is most likely to appear at the top of search results.

A free, accessible tool you can use for this is Google Trends, which has a YouTube search option for specific keywords for YouTube. Once you know what your target audience is interested in, you can then create your content to suit their needs.

Choosing the Title

While your title should communicate what your video is about, it should also grab attention. Use concise, catchy phrases that resonate immediately with your audience.

Remember to incorporate keywords as naturally as possible into your title without deceiving your viewers.

YouTube Video Description

The description helps you expand on what your video is about and enables you to add additional links and information about you.

Like the title, it should be concise and attractive. Keep in mind that while Google allows up to 1000 words in the description, only the first about 100 words will appear above the “show more” link, so you have to make the first part of your description compelling and convince the viewer to look at the rest of your description.

Include relevant keywords here as well.

Using Thumbnails

This is the image that appears with your video. A great video could lose potential views if it has an unappealing thumbnail. A thumbnail is just as important as a title in grabbing and holding attention.

YouTube has auto-generated thumbnail options that you can use, but for better results, a custom thumbnail would be more effective. 90% of the best performing YouTube videos have custom thumbnails.

Note that for you to use a custom thumbnail your channel has to be verified by YouTube.

Putting Your Video in a Category

You can link your video to others with similar content by adding a category to your video in the Advanced Settings.

This increases its chances of winding up in different YouTube playlists and will in turn increase your channel’s visibility. Do some research to see who else is in the category you’ve picked. In addition, check whether your target audience also follows those creators.

Finally, check how the creators in that category make their videos to know whether your content is a good, or better than theirs. The Creators Academy at YouTube takes users through a comprehensive process to help them determine what best category to put their video in.

How to Grow a YouTube Channel (30+ Ways) 3

Renaming Your Video File Using A Target Keyword

Before you upload your video, you can incorporate your top keyword in the video file. Because YouTube won’t actually watch your video to know its content, it will use your keywords, so you want to put them in places they can be detected by YouTube.

This way, the YouTube algorithm will read your keyword in your video’s file name along with the code.

Encouraging Subscription

Make it as easy as possible for your viewers to subscribe to your channel, or to watch similar videos by you by having the option very clearly displayed in the video.

Using Video Tags

Finally, we come to YouTube, or video tags. These are words or phrases which you can use to give more context about your video and let YouTube and your viewers know what your video is about.

Using video tags helps to rank your videos higher in search results. They are thus an important search SEO tool.

Although some studies have shown that tags play a small role in ranking a video, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend some time on them. For famous celebrities who have constant streams of visitors to their pages, tags may not be necessary.

However, for creators with a niche audience, or who are just starting out on YouTube, tags can effectively boost the ranking of the video, leading to more visitors, which in turn raises the ranking of the video further.

Tags are also important if your name as a creator, or your subject content, constantly gets miss-spelled.

Finally, tags teach YouTube that you belong to a certain category.

This will remove you from the large number of anonymous creators constantly uploading content and place you in a smaller niche which will increase your chances of visibility as there will be less competition in your category.

How to Add Tags to YouTube Videos

Beginning in the channel dashboard, where things like your subscribers and revenue appear. On the left-hand side of the screen, click on settings.

Click on channel below settings. This where your tags are. To add a new tag, click on the white empty space, type something and click enter to make it a new tag.

Now we’ll look at some tips on how you can tag your videos for better visibility on YouTube.

Make Your Primary Keyword Your First Tag

The tags you use have to actually relate to your video, otherwise you’ll be deceiving your viewers.

Therefore, since YouTube pays a lot of attention to your first tag, try as much as possible to have it as your primary keyword.

Use Common Keywords from High Ranking Videos

If you want to know how your keyword ranks online, you can search for your keyword on YouTube. Open the top 3-5 videos that are most closely related to your content.

The videos you pick don’t have to rank at the very top, but they have to be relevant. Check the tags on these videos and pick the ones that most relate to your content.

Having tags similar to top ranking videos will increase your chances of visibility.

If you find it difficult to think of keywords, you can use different online tools to generate keywords. Here are some examples.

Keyword Keg

This tool gives different statistics like search volume, competition, SEO difficulty, trends, keyword power, suggested keywords, off-page, and on-page difficulty.

Once you enter the target keyword these different parameters come up. It also has the option of filtering results according to country and language.

VidIQ, Free Browser Plugin, VidIQ Free, VidIQ Hack, VidIQ Boost

VidIQ

This tool shows keywords related to your target keyword, the related score, the search score, search volume, and overall score, which is a combination of all these.

A powerful plugin that combines productivity tools with deep dive stats to super charge your rankings and views.

VidIQ is creator focused and continues to add and improve its tools including recent add-ons like fast title and description translations to help you rank in foreign languages. You can get their free plugin by going to their website.

Keyword.io

This tool gives you other related keywords once you’ve typed in your target keyword.

In addition to these, it also provides their search volume, trends over the past 12 months, and suggested hashtags and prepositions you can use with your keyword.

Use Keywords with a High Search Volume

Some keywords are more commonly used in search for particular content. Using commonly used keywords for your tags can serve to amplify your visibility to YouTube. Of course, they have to be relevant to what you’re creating.

You can use Ahref’s Keywords Explorer for this. Simply set the search Engine to YouTube and type in some keywords.

The estimated search volume for the month for each keyword will be displayed in percentages in descending order. From the list, you can pick out relevant keywords with substantial search volume.

Use Specific Categories of Tags.

I tackled this is a video before – You can can categorize your tags to get the most out of them.

Video Specific Tags – Your first tag should be very specific and should have the aim of describing exactly what the video is about.

This will directly place you in the niche your target audience are interested in.

Video Category Tags – Your next tag can be slightly broader and describe the category your video falls under. This will relate it to videos that talk about the same thing and will widen the base of your audience.

Your video can then be recommended along with other videos in a similar category, hence increasing your chances of being seen by more people.

Channel Level Tags – Lastly, you should have a tag that directly mentions your name or the name of your channel. This will link your video to other videos you’ve done that may not be related to your current video but will still be of interest to your viewers.

It will introduce your viewers to other work you’ve done.

Use Phrases Instead of Words

Keywords by themselves are important but sometimes they may be so general that they still hide your video in a long list of other related videos. Using a phrase that is more specific to your content together with the keyword increases your chances of standing out.

This is because your video will now be in a less competitive category. For example, instead of just using the word “make-up” for your video, you can use “how to do make-up” instead.

Don’t be too wordy

Although the maximum characters you can use for tags is 500, you don’t have to use all of them.

You don’t want to look spammy. The optimum number of characters, according to Briggsby, is about 200-300.

Be Relevant

The fact that a keyword has a high search volume doesn’t mean it should be used indiscriminately. Use tags that are relevant to your content.

Don’t Be Deceptive

Avoid using unrelated keywords to trick users to view your content. This could actually get your content removed by YouTube. For example, don’t use the names of famous celebrities or brands just to get people to watch your video.

Don’t Place Your Tags in the Video Description

This is another violation of YouTube policy that could get you in trouble as it can be considered as an intention to mislead users.

YouTube SEO

Tracking Your Progress

Finally, did you know that you can track your ranking in search results?

You can use different tools for this, and you can track your progress and see how the different SEO techniques are working for your channel. This is an important step to see which of your efforts are actually bringing positive results.

In conclusion, tags alone may play a small role in substantially increasing your views, but, when used together with other SEO techniques, can boost your channel’s visibility.

Upload content consistently and see your rankings rise. After all, even famous celebrities started small before they blew up.