YouTube tagging is a tricky task. Often, people don’t use tagging for their videos at all. For those that do, they often use their tags in an ineffective way. As such, a large percentage of channels are actually hindering their ability to get seen.

While tags aren’t the only factor when it comes to how your videos get found, it provides YouTube valuable data on what your video is about. Good tags help your video get found through search, while bad tags bury your video.

What are YouTube tags?

YouTube tags are a series of keywords and search terms about your video. They provide context to YouTube about what your video is about, and who might be interested in seeing your video. YouTube tags play an important role in search engine optimization (SEO) along with the title and description.

How to pick tags for your video?

The first thing you want to do is use a 3-5 standard tags that you use for all your videos. You can set this as an upload default to automatically populate. This helps YouTube recommend your other content, and gives each video context to each other.

Next, you want to consider the topic of your video. If someone was looking for your content, what would they search ? If you need some ideas, use a keyword research tool to find what people are searching for and use those. YouTube provides you with 420 characters to create tags with, and it’s usually best to use all those opportunities.

You should also consider your title and the description. Any keywords you use in the title and description should also be tags. It’s through those repeated use cases that you’ll get the best results in search results.

How not to pick tags for your video?

One of things people think works is tagging other popular YouTubers or trending topics in their tag list. This is counterproductive and will actually hurt your videos chances of ranking in search results.

Because YouTube uses tags to help rank your video, using random or clickbait tags can result in traffic that isn’t interested in your video. Those people who leave videos quick tells YouTube NOT to rank the video, and as such your video will drop off.

How important are tags?

The importance of tagging your video is a small but crucial element. As YouTube is a video search engine, until it develops a way to understand the visual content, tags are a key element. As your channel becomes larger, tags play a less important role. But for anyone starting or growing, tagging is of the utmost importance.