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Adding video tags

Top online video creators know that strong metadata—the information you upload alongside your YouTube video—is essential to getting your videos seen and growing your fan base. We’ve already covered titles and descriptions, and now it’s time for tags.

Video tags aren’t as important on YouTube as they’ve been in the past, but they’re still key to your SEO strategy. It’s a good idea to include both short- and long-tailed keywords in your tags that focus in on the topic(s) of your videos. Here are a few examples.

  • Short-tailed: Android, Samsung, Galaxy, Unboxing
  • Long-tailed: Samsung Galaxy S5, Android Phone, Android 4.3

The order of your tags doesn’t matter! Google and YouTube treat all tags the same.


With so much new content uploaded to YouTube every day, many of the short-tailed keywords get flooded with results. Including more specific, long-tailed keywords can improve your chances in search results.

Fewer people search for long-tailed key phrases, but those people typically know exactly what they’re looking for. Having your content appear toward the top of those results is usually better than having your content appear farther down in a more general short-tailed search.


If you’re having trouble thinking up longer keywords, think of how you yourself would perform a Google search on the topic that you’re covering in your video. What search phrases would you type into Google or YouTube?

You can even use Google’s auto-complete feature to your advantage. Just start typing your topic and see what else people are searching for!

google search words


If you really want to nail down some successful keywords, consider using the Google Keyword Planner (which requires an AdWords account) to get a sense for which keywords have high competition, and which ones are easier to rank with.

We’ll look at the Keyword Planner in a future post. In the meantime, think about your tagging strategy for your next video upload!


  • Never place tags in the description field of your videos. Doing so can get your channel flagged for violating YouTube's policy against spam and possibly result in termination.
  • Do not make changes to metadata (like tags) for any existing videos that you find to be performing well. Changing metadata on existing videos will cause YouTube's algorithm to reindex your videos and possibly lose their current rank. Only change metadata on videos that you find to be drastically underperforming (just keep in mind that the changes could result in fewer views in the near term). 
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