In a quiet update that warranted no fanfare from YouTube, the online video giant released support for hashtags across all videos.
How does it work?
When searching for a specific hashtag in YouTube’s search bar, you’ll only see results that contain that specific hashtag in either the video’s title or description.
Why use hashtags?
The general public likely doesn’t search for many hashtags on YouTube yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be an early adopter. Hashtags in video descriptions are clickable, so users can see other videos that also use that same hashtag.
This is also great for any sort of community project (think tag videos) or call-to-action that requires your viewers to make their own videos (think video responses) – everyone involved can use a custom hashtag you establish to make it easy to find the videos. In the long term as users become more aware of this functionality, tent-pole type events (think #SuperBowl, #ComicCon, #VidCon, etc) may benefit from the ability to quickly see clips from other people experiencing the same thing.
How do I get started?
It’s easy. If you’re a creator and want to implement hashtags on one of your existing videos, just edit the video’s title or description and include the hashtags you want. YouTube recommends just putting hashtags in the description so that your title is more viewer-friendly, and viewers will be able to click through the hashtag as well.
If you’re a viewer trying to find content on a specific topic, try searching for #whateveryouwant in YouTube’s search bar and see if anything pops up. It’s a new feature so you may not see much yet, but chances are you will soon.
Is there anything else I should know?
Definitely. YouTube’s new help article about the feature outlines a few key rules to follow, but to be brief:
- No spaces. Much like most other social media sites, your hashtags can’t contain spaces.
- Don’t over-tag. Videos with less hashtags will generally rank higher, and videos with more than 15 hashtags won’t be included in hashtag results at all.
- No misleading content. Much like your video’s actual tags, hashtags shouldn’t be misleading.
- No inappropriate content. Hashtagging vulgar words, hate speech, sexual content, or anything else that may violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines also violate the new hashtag use policies.
- No non-hashtag spam. This isn’t new, but it’s important to keep in mind. Spamming a list of keywords or repetitive sentences in an effort to game YouTube’s ranking systems is still against policy.
With all that being said, hashtag on!