When you’re breaking into YouTube marketing or trying to get traction with it, it’s easy to assume that the video itself is all that matters.
Video is everything with YouTube marketing, after all; it’s the entire reason people show up to use the platform. They want to see certain kinds of content, whether it’s to learn something, to be entertained, or to keep up with their favourite brands.
The video itself, however, isn’t what helps you gain visibility in those early days outside of the always-valuable social shares. Search visibility can be a major factor in reaching new audiences both on and off YouTube. Both your video title and tags play an important role here.
In this post, we’re going to look at how to use titles and tags for YouTube videos to increase their search visibility both on YouTube and in Google’s search results.
What Are YouTube Tags?
You know what a YouTube video title is already: You see them at the top of videos and in search results.
But what about tags? If you’re using YouTube marketing and are scratching your head because you’ve never noticed them, you’re definitely not alone; they’re buried under a “Show More” prompt in the video creation process (which we’ll show you later on), making them easy to miss.
Tags for YouTube videos are descriptive keywords that give YouTube further clues about what your video is about. They’re often most useful when the content of your video is commonly misspelled, which can have a direct impact on search visibility. If, for example, your target keyword includes the word "acquaintance," people commonly misspell it as "acquiantence." Including the misspelling in your tag allows you to rank for the misspelled searches without looking like you made a mistake when including it in your title or description.
While they won’t make break your ability to rank in search on their own, they’re a nice asset to have and we recommend including them in your videos, especially when paired with a strong title.
Why You Should Consider SEO When Creating YouTube Videos
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of intentionally creating content that has the potential to rank well in search engines.
While most people focus on SEO only when it comes to their own websites and blogs, we strongly recommend that people take search into consideration when it comes to social media marketing, too. This is particularly crucial with YouTube marketing.
There are several reasons why this is so important.
The first is that most user behaviour is not the same on YouTube as it is on other platforms like Facebook. Users are much more likely to log on to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to browse, comment on cute pictures of babies, and share a political meme or two.
On YouTube, however, users often are logging on to look for something specific. They might be searching for “how to get rid of popcorn ceiling” or “red flags when looking at a house to buy.” They come with a search intent in mind, and they want to find what they’re looking for. You need to be able to show up in those searches.
It’s also important because YouTube and Google are sister companies, and the platforms are closely linked. If you optimise your videos well, they can receive top-tier placement in Google’s search results, too.
How to Use Your Titles & Tags for YouTube Videos To Boost Search Visibility
A lot of marketers put a lot of energy into their YouTube video descriptions. While the descriptions are important, titles and tags are important pieces of the search visibility puzzle that you want to take into account, too.
Let’s go step by step through the process of increasing search visibility— and clicks!— with titles and tags for YouTube.
1. Conduct Keyword Research
Before you start optimising your YouTube video’s title, it’s important to do your keyword research first. There’s no optimisation without knowing what to optimise for.
Keyword Tool is a top choice for YouTube keyword research, because you aren’t just looking at an entire base of search terms that come from Google or Bing searches; it’s giving you insight into what people are searching for on YouTube specifically. It’s $69 a month for their basic plan, but this gives you a ton of actionable information.
Look for keywords that are as high-volume and low-competition as possible; you'll want to strike a balance there.
Once you do this, you should also take a look at standard keyword research tools to find keywords you can potentially optimise for in terms of Google's search visibility, too. You can optimise a single video for multiple keywords, and having your video show up in YouTube's and Google's search engine are great choices.
When it comes to Google- and YouTube-friendly keywords, "how-to" keywords and tutorials are going to be good options for reaching your target audience.
2. Pair Your Topic with a Relevant Keyword
When it comes to choosing a keyword, it’s not enough to find one of those unicorn keywords with high search volume and low competition levels. You also need to get the search intent right.
If I’m looking for information getting a mortgage and search for “mortgage mistakes,” I wouldn’t be interested in seeing a video geared to lenders about “# Mortgage Mistakes Not to Make When Prequalifying Buyers.” It’s not relevant to me, so I wouldn’t even click on the video.
Some keywords can be difficult to get a read on in terms of search intent, but if you add strong secondary keywords to the title or even the description, that can help.
Long-tail keywords that are more descriptive (like “how to find a real estate agent” vs “real estate agent”) are easier to grasp when it comes to predicting search intent. Because they’re so incredibly specific, you can create the resources providing information that they actually need.
3. Create a Click-Worthy & SEO-Friendly Title
You’ve got your keywords, so it’s time to create a title that meets the following criteria:
- It’s click-worthy and interesting (note that this does not mean clickbait)
- It clearly states what your video will be about
- It’s optimised for search with your primary keyword
- It’s easy and quick to read; think 70 characters or less so that the full title shows up in search
The below are all great examples of how to use a keyword (LinkedIn strategies for business) to appeal to a target audience.
The last video does something smart, however, by using not one but two keywords; the first is “How to Use LinkedIn to Market Your Business” and the second is “LinkedIn Marketing Tips.” This almost definitely helps her appear in more searches.
4. Choose Tags Strategically
Back when you first conducted keyword research and you found multiple keywords that you may have wanted to include in your title and description?
Go ahead and add them all to tags; it never hurts to add them, as long as they are directly relevant to your video and align with user search intent.
Once you do, look at your primary and core secondary keywords and consider common misspellings.
“Content calendar,” for example, could easily be misspelled as “content calender.”
You should also consider adding relevant long-tail keywords and different orders of the words like "basketball shoes best brand" as opposed to "best brand of basketball shoes."
To add tags for YouTube videos when uploading, scroll down on the video upload page until you see “See More” at the bottom. Click on it.
This will open up the field where you can enter in the tags of your choosing.
How to Add Tags for YouTube Videos That Are Already Uploaded
Do you have YouTube videos you’ve already uploaded and want to add in tags after the fact?
This is exceptionally easy to do. Go to your YouTube Creator Studio, and click on the Content tab. Find the video that you want to add tags to.
Click to edit it, and then navigate to “details.” This will look like the original creation page; scroll down until you find that “See More” and click to open the field for tags.
5. Track Your Video Performance
After your videos have been published, remember that the hard work isn’t over. In order to improve your marketing success long-term, you should always go back to carefully review your YouTube Analytics.
YouTube has a strong analytics platform, and their Reach tab is what you’ll want to review when it comes to checking out how your efforts towards search visibility are progressing. You can see how many impressions your videos received over a set period of time, along with which traffic sources drove the most traffic and how many views you received from impressions.
Look at each individual video’s reach, too, to see which videos are helping to drive the most impressions, CTR, and views. This can help you get an idea of which keywords your audience liked, and if strategies like using two keywords or being extra thorough with misspelled tags is working in your favor. You can always adjust based on what’s working.
Finally, don’t forget to look through the rest of your analytics to see how these videos are performing. You can look at the Engagement tab for that, ensuring that your videos are not only driving impressions but high-quality and engaged viewers, too. You may find that some types of keywords (like "how to" keywords or brand announcements) have more engagement than others.
3 Tips to Further Boost Your Video’s Search Visibility
The process detailed above is a great start in the right direction when it comes to optimising your videos on YouTube for more searches and increasing the likelihood of clicks.
If you want to further boost your video’s search potential (which we always heavily recommend), consider implementing the three following tips:
- Take advantage of your video description. Your description gives you plenty of room to explain what your video is about, adding in multiple additional keywords. It’s a great practice to get in the habit of putting your keyword towards the very front of the description and explaining the value of the video quickly so it will show up in search results.
- Consider your audience’s needs. Do you have content that you know your audience needs that no one else is creating? Get on that right away. It means people are almost certainly active searching for this content and not finding it, making it easy to rank for.
- Test out longer video lengths. While you may think that view retention rates would go up with shorter videos, plenty of evidence indicates that high-quality longer videos take the cake in retention rates and in ranking. While you shouldn’t be trying to stretch four minutes of content into two hours, don’t be afraid to dive deeper with your content as needed. Just make sure it's well-planned; script-writing in advance is advised.
- Bonus tip: If you're looking to take your YouTube channel to the next level, have a look at our YouTube Marketing Course here and learn all there is to know on this video platform.
YouTube marketing is a great way to use a content-based approach while adding a new platform and type of media to the mix. Since it’s an effective way to connect with new audience members while gaining thought leadership, it only makes sense that you’d want to maximise your search ranking potential and, ideally, your results accordingly.
The steps above can all help you increase search visibility by using the right keywords in your descriptions, titles, and tags for YouTube videos, even ensuring that user errors don’t get in the way of connecting with the people looking for you.