Ahh Tags. Has there ever been anything so misunderstood and misused?
Tags are something that are often overthought and stressed over. The habit comes from years back when all that ranked you in search engines were tags and links out. Remember the link farms of yesteryear?
Tags on YouTube
Tags though, serve a much simpler purpose on YouTube these days. Basically, they are just descriptive keywords that tell the search engine what your video is about. However, once your video has been watched, View Time and other viewers’ viewing patterns are what starts taking over on search algorithms. So the really important thing about tags are that they can tell the search engine what your video is about when you first upload it.
How to Create Tags
To get your Tags, the first step is making a list of words. We went over this in the Titles blog, because this step is the same for both Tags and Titles.
Make a List
Basically, write down a list of words that come to mind about your video content while watching the FINAL product. Don’t just write down words when you’re thinking about the video, actually watch it. You’ll be surprised at some of the stuff that ends up on (or not on) the list.
Then go over the list, and try to consolidate it into about 10 words or short phrases. Also get rid of terms that are too broad. For instance, if your video is about the new FAA regulations on quadcopters, and one of the words you put down was “regulations” or “laws,” get rid of those, or make them more relevant by turning them into “FAA regulations” or “FAA laws.”
Don’t worry about doing plurals or different grammatical forms of your tags: Google (the power behind the YouTube search) is smart enough to figure that out.
Remember that quality is much better than quantity when it comes to tags. If you have good tags, you really shouldn’t need more than 5-10 of them.
- Make sure your tags are accurate!
- Make an actual list of keywords. Taking just a few minutes to organize this list can make a big difference in the quality of your tags.
- Ask a friend to tell you the words that come to mind when they watch your video. Sometimes creators can be too close to their own work, and miss some great tags!
- Tag spam! Don’t put in EVERY little word you can think of in the Tags; Google knows that when you have 35 tags on a 2-minute video, that a LOT of them are not relevant.
- Skip Tags. Even if they confuse you, you really need to add at least a few.
- Don’t use false Tags just to try to get views. You WILL get penalized in search engine results for this.
- Not use a tag because spellcheck says it’s not a real word. If a person will search for it that way, use it!
Don’t Forget the End Goal of Tags
As always, remember that the most important part of growing a YouTube audience is your actual content. The purpose of Tags, Titles, Descriptions, and Thumbnails is to represent your content as accurately as possible so viewers can sort through the millions of videos out there. Don’t spend all this time making these look incredibly professional and good, but then have a crappy video. You have to have the content to draw the audience!