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How to Use Tags on YouTube: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tags help the YouTube algorithm understand what your content is about and serve it to the right users. Find out how to use tags on YouTube for best results.

Zak Ramdani August 20, 2021
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If you want to make sure your YouTube videos are being seen by the right people, you need to understand how YouTube tags work.

This article will walk you through what tags are on YouTube and why they’re important for both content creators and the platform’s algorithm.

We’ll also cover some best practices on using tags in addition to tips for creating accurate, meaningful tags that will help your video get found more easily by the right viewers — and get more views.

Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to grow your YouTube following fast, a daily workbook of challenges that will help you kickstart your Youtube channel growth and track your success. Get real results after one month.

What are tags on YouTube?

YouTube tags are keywords that you can add to your videos when uploading them to the platform. Tags work as descriptors that help the YouTube algorithm categorize content better.

The most important function of tags is helping YouTube’s algorithm understand what your video is about so it can serve it to the right users when they’re searching for something relevant.

The benefits of using YouTube tags

The three main benefits of using relevant, accurate tags on YouTube are:

  1. YouTube tags allow your video to be found by people using YouTube search to look for the type of content you’re offering.
  2. YouTube tags help the platform’s algorithm understand what your video is about so it can surface it in suggestions and on users’ home pages.
  3. YouTube tags help search engines find and index your videos more easily, which increases visibility in organic search results — even outside of YouTube (e.g. on Google).

How to add tags to a YouTube video

Now that you know why tags are important, let’s learn how to add them to your videos.

Step 1: Log in to your YouTube account and go to your channel.

Step 2: In the left-hand menu, select Content.

YouTube studio menu

Step 3: Hover over the video you want to edit, and click Details (the pencil icon).

Selecting video to edit in YouTube creator studio

Step 4: On the video details page, scroll all the way down and click SHOW MORE.

Video details page in YouTube creator studio

Step 5: In the Tags section, type in your tags, separating them with commas. You can use up to 500 characters.

Step 6: Click SAVE in the top-right corner of the dashboard.

That’s it!

How to look up tags on YouTube

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your tags, you might want to take a peek at what’s working for successful content within your niche.

To identify popular keywords, go to YouTube search and type in a topic that’s related to your content. For example, if you’re creating a how-to video on training indoor cats, you might type “cat training” into the search bar.

Open a popular video and look at the suggestions on the right side of the screen. The content there is often based on related searches. These are some of the keywords that people who have watched similar content before might be interested in watching next — so take note!

You can also use free online tools to find out what tags, exactly, other creators are using. Try Chrome extension VidIQ or this tag extractor to get inspired.

VidIQ chrome extension displaying video tags

Source: VidIQ

How to use tags on YouTube: 5 best practices

1. Don’t go overboard

For best results, only use a few tags that are both broad and specific to your content.

Don’t try to cluster too many keywords in one tag or it might not show up when people search for it on YouTube.

2. Use trending tags

Follow the instructions on looking up tags or use YouTube’s auto-suggest feature to identify trends. To use auto-suggest, simply start typing your keyword in the YouTube search bar and YouTube will populate a list of related searches to help you.

YouTube search bar auto-suggestions for keyword "social media"

Note: When adding trending tags to your videos, make sure they relate to your content. Using excessive, misleading, or irrelevant tags is against YouTube’s policies on spam, deceptive practices, and scams and can result in getting your account suspended.

3. Be specific

Some keywords are more likely to rank highly on search results pages than others, so it’s important to use the right ones when creating your tags. For example, “road trip” is less broad and has higher chances of ranking well in search engine results than “vacation.”

4. Include synonyms

Synonyms can be used as alternate tags for some topics and subjects. Think about the words your audience is likely to use when describing the topic of your video, and use those synonyms to broaden the reach of your tags.

5. Use a tag generator

If you’re out of ideas, use a tag generator to identify related and potentially trending tags. Tools like TunePocket or Keyword Tool come up with tag recommendations based on your video title or the main keyword you want to target — for free.

YouTube tag recommendations from a YouTube tag generator tool

Source: TunePocket

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By Zak Ramdani

Zak has over 10 years of experience in SEO, specializing in enterprise SEO. He has led organic search programs for big brands like Avis and Budget, and has supported search strategies for Cigna, ToysRus, and many more. Currently Zak leads the SEO strategy at Hootsuite, the world's largest social media management platform, as their Great SEO Owl.

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