How Many Tags Should You Use for Better YouTube Visibility?
YouTube isn’t just a video-streaming platform anymore – it’s also become a search engine. In fact, the Google-owned platform is second only to Google in terms of search engine popularity. So, if you’re a YouTube-based content creator, you can’t ignore search engine optimization (SEO) for your YouTube videos anymore.
While you can optimize your videos for search engines in various ways, we’re going to exclusively focus on tags in this article. So, read on to know how to use tags wisely and how many of them you should use per video to give your content a better chance of ranking higher than your competition.
YouTube tags: What are they?
When you upload a video on YouTube, the platform takes you through multiple pages to configure various details and settings of the video. Along the way, you’ll find a space to enter YouTube tags for the video, which are meant to provide context about videos to YouTube’s algorithm. Quite simply, the YouTube algorithm relies on tags to determine whether a video is relevant to a user’s search query.
Let’s help you understand through an example. Suppose you have a food vlogging channel and decide to create a video on the subject ’10 best Latin American street foods,’ some tags you can consider are:
- Street food
- Latin American street food
While street food, chorizo, tacos, and tamales are short-tail keywords, Latin American street food is a long-tail keyword (more on short-tail and long-tail keywords later). These tags will allow the YouTube algorithm to understand what your video is all about. So, if a member of your target audience searches for Latin American street food videos with keywords or phrases inclusive of these tags, your video is likely to appear on the results page.
The importance of YouTube tags
There was once a time when tags played a crucial role on YouTube in terms of videos being ranked on results pages. However, due to the enhancement of semantic search features on the platform, the importance of tags has dwindled to a certain extent. However, this doesn’t mean that tags aren’t important at all – they still count as strategic elements that can amplify the reach of your YouTube videos.
The following factors are considered to be the most important in terms of video SEO on YouTube now:
- Video title
So, even if you go ahead without tagging your videos, it isn’t likely to affect your channel significantly. However, if you’re new to creating content on the platform, we recommend including tags across all your videos for boosting YouTube views. According to Backlinko studies, ranking and keyword-optimized tags have a positive relationship.
The number of tags you can include per video
YouTube has a limit of 400 characters per video for tags, i.e., you can fit in as many tags as you want as long as they don’t exceed the limit. Typically, content creators on the platform include 5 – 8 tags per video. However, feel free to add more if there’s any remaining space. Some videos have been known to include up to 40 tags as well.
In addition to conventional tags, we also recommend using hashtags, which also help the YouTube algorithm to discover and sort content based on context and relevance. However, it’s important that you remember one thing about hashtags – they can boost your videos’ discoverability, but they can also take users away from your videos.
The best YouTube tagging practices
In this section, we’ll take you through some of the best practices to follow when it comes to adding tags to your videos. While there’s no guarantee that following them will turn your YouTube channel into an overnight success, they can certainly improve your channel’s chances in the long run.
Incorporate both short-tail and long-tail keywords as tags
Your tags should consist of both short-tail and long-tail keywords. While many SEO experts recommend focusing exclusively on long-tail keywords, the fact is that short-tail keywords are just as important. Short-tail keywords, i.e., phrases containing up to three words, are referred to as ‘head terms’ as well. These keywords are generic and broad. For instance, ‘street food’ is a short-tail keyword. On the other hand, long-tail keywords are more specific and are defined as keywords or phrases that have more than three words. For example, ‘Latin American street food’ is a long-tail keyword. Through the inclusion of long-tail keywords, your content will become more discoverable to your target audience. However, by including short-tail keywords, the discoverability will go up for users outside your target audience group.
Order tags based on their importance
In the ‘Latin American street food’ example, the most important keyword is Latin American street food. The names of the street foods such as chorizo and tamales are less critical. So, when arranging the tags from start to finish, it’s best to begin with Latin American street food and take it from there. The reason for doing this is simple – when looking at tags, the YouTube algorithm focuses on the first 2 – 3 tags. It is within this space that you’d ideally want the algorithm to determine your video’s relevance and context based on users’ search queries.
Don’t include lengthy long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are important, as we mentioned just a while back. However, including too many lengthy-long tail keywords isn’t a good practice. After all, you only have 400 characters worth of space to incorporate tags. So, if you include 3 – 4 lengthy long-tail keywords (more than 4 – 5 words), you’re significantly depleting the tags space. Studies from 2018 by Briggsby suggest that 2 – 4-word phrases make for the most effective tags.
Limit your tag use
It may be tempting to use the entire tag space, i.e., 400 characters, to include as many tags as possible. However, we recommend not doing, as too many tags can result in the YouTube algorithm becoming confused as to what your videos are really about. If you want to use more than 30 tags, make sure that you’ve included ones that don’t cause any confusion in terms of communicating the context of the videos to the algorithm.
Draw inspiration from currently-ranking videos and YouTube auto-suggest
If you don’t know the keywords that would work best as tags across your videos, why not turn to other content creators on YouTube? Check out similar content creators in your niche whose videos are ranking high on YouTube search results pages and observe the tags they’ve used. You can use similar tags to give your videos a better chance of doing well. Also, pay attention to YouTube’s auto-suggest feature, which comes into play when you start typing a particular keyword or phrase in the YouTube search bar.
The suggestions generated automatically are often indicative of what audiences are looking for, so make the most of them.
Use tag generators
While there’s no reason why you can’t come up with your own tags, it’s always better to use tag generators for efficiency’s sake. After all, you’re a content creator, and any time you save on doing mundane work like figuring out tags will become the time you spend honing your video-making skills. There’s a wide variety of YouTube tag generators you can experiment with. Some of the most notable tag generators for YouTube include TunePocket, VidIQ, TuBeast, Tube Ranker, and Rapid Tags.
Keep experimenting, testing, and tracking
You may find that your videos aren’t ranking even after following all the practices we’ve shared with you so far. In such a scenario, it’s important that you keep experimenting with different tags, as there’s no specific formula to make tags work. Apart from experimentation, we also recommend testing and tracking the effectiveness of the tags across all your videos. These activities will provide you with deep insights into the things you can improve in terms of structuring your tags to facilitate the YouTube algorithm finding your videos faster.
So, that’s about it for this article. We hope you learned a few important things about what YouTube tags are and what you can do to make them work for your videos. Ultimately, however, we have to stress the importance of your content and its quality. Simply put, without high-quality content, it’s difficult for any YouTuber nowadays to get attention on the platform. That’s why it’s important to focus on content first and then move on to other things such as tags and hashtags.
Before we bid you goodbye, we’d like to tell you about the services offered by SubPals – a software tool that can serve the purposes of both beginner and experienced YouTubers. SubPals offers a terrific solution to YouTubers faced with the problem of limited followings and low user engagement rates. The tool allows content creators to get free YouTube likes and free YouTube comments, which are important for boosting user engagement on the platform. Additionally, you can also buy YouTube subscribers from SubPals.com.
So, if you’re interested in taking your YouTube channel to the next level, consider using SubPals. It can give you the solid foundation you need to grow on YouTube, which has one of the most competitive digital landscapes right now.
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