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YouTube SEO: How to Craft Good Titles, Descriptions & Tags

4 MINUTE READ | July 13, 2012

YouTube SEO: How to Craft Good Titles, Descriptions & Tags

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Christopher Davis

Christopher Davis has written this article. More details coming soon.

Are you one of the millions of unique, creative minds who suffer from posting awesome videos to YouTube to no avail?  Do you toss and turn at night while your jaw dropping video content sits idly by?  While I can’t improve what you publish to YouTube I can help you get more views.  By the end of this article Tubers will be lining up to view the latest trick your dog learned, or even better, your Larry the Cable Guy impression.

YouTube allows 100 characters for video titles so it’s important to craft your titles in a top down fashion.

  • Include the primary reason for watching (call to action) within the first 29-32 characters (or 46-48 characters if you must), to account for YouTube, Google, Bing and Yahoo truncating YouTube titles in the video search results. When applicable, also include trigger keywords, such as how to, review, and about in the video title.

  • The remaining 50 or so characters in the title should include important secondary reasons for watching. On videos that are not brand centric, this would include your brand or username.

  • Any information too long for the title should be placed in the video description, which also influences search results and video relevancy.

The description allows for 1,000 characters and is a great place to insert relevant keywords. It’s vital to include your website or blog URL into every video description. Typically, the first line of a video’s description is all most Tubers will see unless they click “Show more” to expand the description.  Always include a relevant link on the first line to ensure a higher click through rate. Also, links should include the http:// to be clickable.

While the ultimate goal is increased traffic, your primary goal with some videos may be to increase user engagement. User engagement can take many forms. Users may:

  • Subscribe to your channel

  • Watch another video or search for one of your playlists

  • Take some sort of social action, such as commenting or sharing

Each of these actions has the potential to lead you to have increased contact with people who viewed the video. Because user engagement is a goal, video descriptions should lead with a call to action that encourages your users to take the desired actions.

Regardless of the goals for an individual video, all descriptions should:

  • Be as detailed as possible – lead with a call to action or link but flesh out the description as necessary.

  • Include the target keywords. If the video is a product review, for instance, using the products name, manufacturer, and features in the description is encouraged

  • Contain a full description of the video and its content.

It’s important to use multiple relevant tags (YouTube allows for a maximum of 500 characters) to ensure that viewers and Google can easily access your videos. Tags should be as detailed and consistent as possible as tags are the basis for what your viewers are searching for.

Video Tag Guidelines

  • Tags should always include:

    • Relevant keywords

    • Your company brand or username

    • Location, if relevant

    • Topics

  • Use adjectives in the description and tags; remember that searchers will use these to find the videos for which they are looking.

  • Make sure all the main keywords in your tags are also in your title and descriptions.

  • Use category description tags.

  • Don’t use natural language phrases and waste tag space on words like and or to. For example, in a video containing both your dog, Ruxpin (named after Teddy Ruxpin of course) and your Larry the Cable Guy impression, use the tags Pets,Dogs,Larry the Cable Guy,Impressions back-to-back, leaving no room for superfluous words such as and or to.

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The great thing about YouTube SEO is that it’s relatively easy and free.  So, plan to spend a few extra minutes optimizing your next YouTube video’s title, description and tags.  It’s a reliable strategy that just might push your content into the viral limelight.