Have you ever uploaded a video to YouTube and wondered why nobody was watching it? It could be that you aren’t getting any views because your video is just terrible, but odds are that the reason nobody is watching is because nobody is discovering your content. When it comes to people finding your videos on YouTube, metadata is a huge factor. Elements like titles, tags and descriptions are more important than you think. Read on to learn about how to write your metadata in YouTube to maximize your discoverability and start racking up video views.
A post on the YouTube blog sums up the importance of metadata on YouTube quite nicely. “YouTube is the second largest search engine, so don’t get lost in the mix, let people find you. Our algorithms are good, but they can only read, they can’t watch your videos. So in order to properly classify your video and index it for search, we need your help.” In the future, YouTube and other video sites may be able to use technology to search your actual video content. However, until that happens it is imperative that you get into the habit of titling, tagging and describing your videos effectively.
How Does YouTube Index Search Results?
Before you start writing your own metadata it is important to understand how YouTube indexes their search results. As a part of Google, YouTube uses Google search algorithms. When somebody searches for a keyword or phrase in YouTube, YouTube crawls all the titles, descriptions and keywords on each and every video on the site and returns the most relevant results to the viewer.
YouTube determines the relevance of a video to a search based on a huge number of factors, many of which aren’t even known to the general public. However, one this is for certain – if you don’t put a good title and description and relevant tags on your video then nobody will be able to find it! Now do you see why it’s so important to put some time into writing your metadata each time you upload a video to YouTube?
Your video titles are extremely important, and you’ll want to put a lot of thought in to your titles. Your title needs to not only be eye catching, but also needs to incorporate key words that will come up in a search.
For instance, if you have a video of your dog Chappy playing with a ball you may be inspired to title your video “Chappy Plays With Ball”. However, keep in mind that the YouTube community has no idea who Chappy is. He could be a dog, a cat, a child or even the nickname you gave to your vacuum cleaner! Calling it “Dog Plays With Ball” is much better for the discoverability of your clip. “Funny Dog Plays With Ball” may be even better, as “Funny” and “Dog” are both popular search terms on YouTube.
If you are having trouble coming up with good key words for your title you can use the YouTube Keyword Suggestion tool. By entering a single word that describes your keyword, the tool will generate tons of keyword suggestions for you and they also tell you the monthly search volume for each work. Try to use words in your title that have a high monthly search volume. 5.4 million YouTube users search for the keyword “dog” each month while there isn’t even enough data to tell us how many people searched for the term “Chappy”. For this reason, a video called “Funny Dog Plays With Ball” has a lot more potential for being discovered than a video called “Chappy Plays With Ball”.
When it comes to your description you also want to use as many keywords as you can that have a high monthly search volume. Keep in mind that the description can be up to 5,000 characters in length. You should try to use every single one of these characters to get in as much description and as many characters as you can.
That being said, keep in mind that only the first 120 characters or so of your description will show up on the actual search page. Therefore, you want to be sure that your first couple of sentences are very eye catching and give a good, fun description of what viewers will see when they click to watch your video. Once they arrive to your actual video page they can read the rest of your description, but nobody will click to view if your description starts out totally dull.
Tags are great because they give you the opportunity to list as many relevant keywords as you can think of, up to 120 characters. You should do your best to fill the entire limit with as many high search volume keywords as you can think of.
Try to think of what people will actually search for in order to get to your videos, and leave out descriptive terms as people don’t search for them very often. Some simple descriptors like funny, big and cute are good, but most others like luscious, splendid and charming are best left out of your tags. Again, the YouTube Keyword Suggestion tool is a fantastic resource when it comes to listing your tags.
How To Add Metadata To Your Video
There are two places where you can add metadata to your video. The first is from the video upload page. While your video is uploading you will be prompted to enter a title, description and keywords, as well as choose a category for your video. As it can take awhile for your video to upload, spending some quality time working on your metadata is a great way to pass the time.
If you have already uploaded a video and want to add metadata or change your title, description or tags, simply click on the “Edit Video Detail” button at the top of the video page, while you are logged into YouTube. This will make the metadata fields editable.
Update Your Metadata
You don’t have to stick to the titles, descriptions and tags that you wrote when you uploaded a video. Search trends change over time – a keyword that was hugely popular last year might not be drawing in any viewers anymore. Therefore, from time to time you should go into your metadata and update it. This is a key practice when it comes to the optimization and discoverability of your video.
You can see how people are discovering your video from within YouTube with YouTube Insight. From the YouTube Insight page, click on ‘Discovery’ and then on ‘YouTube search’ if that option appears. You will see a list of search terms and the number of views you received from them. Keep the search terms in your tags and description that are working, and take out those that aren’t leading to as many views.
Do some experimentation, changing up your metadata until you find the perfect combination of tags and keywords that are getting you views. It may take time for you to find the magical formula of metadata, but once you do your research will pay off, resulting in a lot more views.
Don’t Be A Spammer
It is important to note that using irrelevant keywords in your video titles, tags and descriptions won’t get you anywhere. If you upload a video of yourself talking about politics then tagging it with “Funny Dog” because you know that’s a popular search term is not a good idea at all. Make sure to keep your tags and keywords relevant. You want people to discover your video that are actually interested in the content. These people are the ones that will share your content with their friends if they like it.
How much time do you spend on your YouTube metadata? Put these tips to use and let us know how it impacts your views!