How to write tags for YouTube videos - The ultimate guide for using tags on YouTube


Why should you use video tags on YouTube?


When you upload a video to YouTube, you can add tags to it. Using tags is optional although there are some cases where tags can help you to get more video views and reach new audiences. As such, it's worth learning more about them and starting using them in practice. There are some small details about tags that can make all the difference and more importantly, tagging is a part of your video’s SEO.

How can tags help you to be more successful on YouTube?

Tags can help you to get better rankings in the YouTube search results, thereby increasing the number of video views that your videos receive.

When somebody searches for something on YouTube, the system runs a complicated algorithm in the background that takes into consideration hundreds of different ranking factors. Once the algorithm has been run, the search results are shown. The power of each ranking factor (signal) varies a lot; some things can strongly affect the search results and others will have less of an impact. While it can be argued that there are much more important search signals than tags (such as your subscriber count, the video title, total video count), if you want to improve your YouTube channel’s performance then adding tags is recommended.

Tags can help your videos to appear as a “related video” under other videos

When you view a video on YouTube there will be other videos displayed next to it as related videos. The videos on this list are influenced by several different factors, but in most cases, there are videos from three main groups:

1. Other videos from the YouTuber

2. Personalized videos based on your YouTube browsing history, other YouTubers that you are subscribed to, trending music videos, etc...

3. Relevant videos that are on the same topic

When it comes to video tags, the third group is the most important. However, we must note that the role and impact of your video’s tags can be totally different based on the number of relevant videos and the popularity of the topic. For highly popular and mainstream topics where you have to compete against videos with millions of views and YouTubers who have millions of subscribers, tags probably won't help you much. But with less competitive topics, they can be more helpful.

How does YouTube determine if one video is related to another video?

For example, if there is a challenge video with 20 related videos, how will YouTube's algorithm know which videos should be displayed as related?

Nowadays, highly trained artificial intelligence are responsible for this and they use a lot of different factors. The power of each factor differs in each case; the popularity of the YouTuber (the subscriber number plays a big role) and the video’s title can be much more important than tags or the video description. The title, the description and tags of a video are useful to the system because they are textual content that can be easily processed and examined by the related video algorithm. So, they can help the AI to understand what your video is about. While the role of the tags as textual content is low, they can be utilized when the system categorizes a video. Therefore, when you are tagging your videos, you should use descriptive tags that help the algorithm to learn more about the content of your video.

How are other YouTubers using tags for their videos? Tag Tricks

As we discussed before, tags can help your video’s SEO as well as helping you to get more viewers from the search results and related videos section. Now we will be detailing some useful tagging tricks used by popular YouTubers to increase their video views and subscriber base.

Using popular words and phrases as tags

Using keywords that are commonly used or popular with a particular topic can help you to reach a wider audience. These words can be the name of popular challenges, games, brands, music videos, and so on. For example '/game name/ + gameplay' for gaming videos, 'makeup haul' for haul/beauty videos, etc...

Using the name of other (famous) YouTubers as a tag

In this case, a YouTuber uses the name of another YouTube channel as a tag in his/her own video. This can be done for reaction videos, when a video has been inspired by another YouTuber, if another YouTuber has made an appearance in the video, or even just in general.

For example, if you see the tags of Wengie's title!!!!!! video that made millions of views, you will see the name 'Mr Gear' used as a tag which is the name of a very popular YouTube channel. Why is this a good idea? To see the logic behind this trick, you have to understand that this video is about the “melting knife” challenge. Wengie uses a melted knife to cut through various objects (from Coca-Cola bottles to crayons). This is basically the same topic that Mr Gear’s channel is all about. Particularly, there is one video uploaded by Mr Gear which received millions of views where a Coca-Cola bottle is cut in half. So, by using Mr Gears name as a video tag, this helped Wengie to reach viewers who were curious and searched for Mr Gear’s video.

If you type “Mr Gear knife” or “Mr Gear glowing knife” into the YouTube search bar, you’ll also find Wengie’s video on the first page. This is because the video uses the “Mr Gear” keyword as a tag as well as having it in the video description where it is mentioned that the video was inspired by Mr Gear.

So, using a popular YouTuber's name as a tag and including it in one sentence of the video description helped Wengie to rank her video in the top 10 results for a popular challenge-related keyword. This way she was able to reach new viewers who are interested in the melting knife challenge but who normally wouldn't find her video. The point is that using another YouTuber’s channel name as a tag can help to increase your views by taking advantage of other YouTuber’s popularity.

How do I add a tag? How many tags should I use?

Before you publish your newly uploaded video, you can add tags very easily and as such, you should always take the time to add tags to your videos (there really isn’t an excuse for not doing it!). In most cases, 10-12 tags will be enough, but this isn’t the official rule. There are YouTubers who use an average of more than 10 tags. It will also depend on your video – if you have talked about several different topics then you can use more tags to describe the content. It's crucial to avoid using the same word in the majority of your tags (e.g. including the keyword in 20 tags but using different variations). Regarding the word usage, it’s also important to use family-friendly words and avoid swearing.

What words should I use for tags?

Given that tagging is totally optional, you can use any words that you want. However, if you want to improve your content's performance, you must use them smartly. Tagging is an old technique. It has been used for a long time by bloggers to tag their blog posts, thereby helping users to find relevant content and search engine bots to understand what the blog posts are about. Their purpose on YouTube is nearly the same – with the help of video tags, vloggers are able to describe the content of their videos.

Questions you should ask yourself when tag writing

Given that tagging is totally optional, you can use any words that you want. However, if you want to improve your content's performance, you must use them smartly. Tagging is an old technique. It has been used for a long time by bloggers to tag their blog posts, thereby helping users to find relevant content and search engine bots to understand what the blog posts are about. Their purpose on YouTube is nearly the same – with the help of video tags, vloggers are able to describe the content of their videos.

Is this word/phrase related to my video's content?

If you have spoken about something in a video - this can be anything, a brand, a game, a product or another YouTuber - you can use it as a tag since it's relevant to your content.

Will somebody type this word into the YouTube search bar?

When you have more similar tag ideas and you are not sure which one should be used, you can always put yourself in the same mindset as your potential viewers (or the people you want to reach). You should think about what the most popular word within the topic could be and what keyword combinations the viewers might use in their searches. You can always ask yourself, “Would I search for this phrase if I wanted to find this type of content?” to help determine the best keywords.

Vlogger Academy helps you

Vlogger Academy has some useful functions dedicated to YouTube video tags. These features can help you in finding new ideas and discover what tags are used by the vloggers with the most subscribers.

Video tag data:

You can find all of the tags used for a video on the video info pages. Browsing these pages can give you a lot of inspiration about what tags were used by the most popular video creators.

Vlogger tag data:

Every Youtuber info page has a complete tag analysis. If you visit the info page of a vlogger, you will be able to see the mostly used tags and the average of number used tags.


More Essential Guides To Read:


A Guide To Youtube Search Engine Optimization

YouTube Video Title Writing Guide

YouTube Video Description Writing Guide