Like its parent company Google, YouTube relies on keywords to help its algorithm determine which videos are most relevant to a userâ€™s search.
One form of keywords you might find within YouTube tags.
What are YouTube tags?
YouTube video tags are keywords that creators add to their videos in order to help YouTube understand the context of their videos.
There are two types of tags you should be aware of when uploading your content to the platform:
- Video tags
- Channel tags
When uploading your YouTube videos, you may notice a space for you to add tags, up to 500 characters.
Keywords in your tags are a bit different from the keywords you use in your video title and description. They are specifically meant for the tag section, and they also donâ€™t have as much of an impact on your YouTube SEO.
In fact, stuffing your tags into your video title or description can potentially result inÂ YouTube removing your video, so youâ€™ll want to make sure you use video tags properly.
Channel tags help YouTube understand the overall type of content you create for your channel.
You can add these tags to your YouTube channelâ€™s settings.
So, for example, if you make videos about baking, you should use channel tags related to the overall topics of your videos, like â€œcake baking,â€ or â€œbaking tutorials.â€
For each individual baking video, you would add more specific keywords in your tags that explain what the video is about, like â€œsnickerdoodle tutorialâ€ or â€œfrosting review.â€
Just make sureÂ any tags you addÂ are relevant.
For the purposes of this blog post, weâ€™ll be focusing mainly on YouTube video tags. However, adding channel tags can still help a bit with your YouTube SEO.
Do YouTube video tags matter for your YouTube SEO?
The consensus isâ€¦not really.
Even Google saysÂ tags play just a tiny partÂ in helping people find your videos.
One study does indicate that using keyword-focused tags can impact your SEO, but on a really small scale.
So, now you’ll be wondering why you ought to bother putting tons of your time and energy into your YouTube tags.
And honestly, you shouldnâ€™t.
While itâ€™s important to make YouTube videos with keywords in mind, you ought to focus more of your efforts on writing keyword-infused titles and descriptions.
But if you’re doing keyword research for your YouTube videos anyway, you would possibly also take a couple of minutes to feature some tags to your videos. It canâ€™t hurt (as long as itâ€™s done the proper way).
How to find the best tags for YouTube videos
When performing keyword research, youâ€™ll want to make sure the keywords you choose are relevant to your video.
If you have a video about baking a cake, you shouldnâ€™t use phrases like â€œmonster trucksâ€ or â€œdancing lobstersâ€ anywhere in your title, description, or tags.
Wellâ€”that isâ€”unless youâ€™re baking a cake that features dancing lobsters or monster trucks.
In the example below, you see the video is aboutÂ baking sugar cookies, and most of the tags center around that topic.
Finding the best tags for YouTube videos doesnâ€™t necessarily require you to spend any money unless you pay for a keyword research tool to find your key terms.
Tools for YouTube tag research
First, you can take advantage of YouTubeâ€™s search predictions.
When you type in a keyword, such as â€œbaking cookies,â€ you may notice that YouTube suggests searches related to what youâ€™ve just typed.
These suggestions appearÂ for a few reasons, one of which is based on trending searches.
Search predictions are a great jumping-off point for your YouTube keywords since they come, in part, from what other people are searching.
Another great way to discover YouTube keywords is through a dedicated YouTube keyword tool.
Both VidIQ and Tube Buddy have features that allow you to view different keywords and how easy or difficult it would be to rank for them.
But the real magic is in their Chrome extensions.
After installing VidIQ or Tube Buddy in your Chrome web browser, you have easy access to the tags on any video. Plus, you can see where each video is ranking for the specific keywords itâ€™s targeting.
If youâ€™re not comfortable with installing a Chrome extension, you can take advantage of a few websites that offer their own keyword research tools.
The aptly namedÂ Keyword ToolÂ has its own YouTube setting so you can quickly find the words you need to get your video ranking.
For a more robust (and paid) tool, you can test outÂ Ahrefsâ€™ YouTube keyword researchÂ functionality.
The best part about these tools is that you donâ€™t just have to use them for your video tags. Any keywords you discover can be used to spice up your video title and description.
It also doesnâ€™t hurt toÂ include keywords in your scriptÂ if youâ€™re using one.
Best practices for using YouTube tags
1. Make a list of tagsÂ
During your research, youâ€™ll likely stumble across many keywords that are relevant to your videos.
Start an inventory of those keywords so you’ll manage your findings.
Having an inventory of YouTube tags can assist you to determine which tags are best, and which you’ll go without.
Plus, if you separate each keyword you discover with a comma, you’ll quickly copy and paste your list of keywords into your tags.
The trick to using keywords in your video tags is not to use too manyâ€”which weâ€™ll cover in the next tipâ€”so having a list can help you figure out whatâ€™s best for your video.
2. Donâ€™t use too many tags
While YouTube allows up to 500 characters in its video tags, you donâ€™t have to hit that limit for your video to be successful.
Generally,Â five to eightÂ relevantÂ tagsÂ are usually enough to help YouTube understand your video.
Again, your video title and description carry more weight, so you shouldnâ€™t worry too much about your tags.
The worst thing you can do with your tags is to add a bunch of loosely relevant terms.
So if your video is about baking snickerdoodles, tags about other types of cookies wouldnâ€™t be considered relevant.
Stick to tags that align with your main video topic.
3. Use competitors to your advantage
With a tool like VidIQ or Tube Buddy, you’ve got access to your competitorsâ€™ tags.
Donâ€™t just check out these tags and advance. Use them! Add them to your list of YouTube tags.
If you see all of the top-ranking videos employing a specific set of tags, itâ€™s an honest idea for you to include these tags into your video metadata.
If youâ€™re uploading a video about bitter chocolate chip cookies, and you notice the highest channels use keywords like â€œmaking chocolate chip cookiesâ€ or â€œchocolate chip cookies recipe,â€ itâ€™s an honest idea to incorporate those phrases in your tags.
The best part of competitor research is that it only takes a few minutes to parse through the top search results. A small effort can result in a win for your channel.
And thatâ€™s it for what YouTube tags are!
If you want to dive deeper into YouTube SEO but donâ€™t have the time, our team can help.
Donâ€™t hesitate toÂ reach out to us to learn more about expanding your video marketing with Digitizal.