A Guide to the Basics of YouTube Metadata

If you’re just starting out with your new YouTube channel, you’ll need to consider how you intend to make it profitable by reaching the right audience. The key here is to use metadata to your advantage.


What is Metadata?


Metadata is the information that you include in your video that makes it searchable for your viewers. This could be your video’s title, description, thumbnail, your username, or any tags that you’re using for search terms.


Getting your metadata right can really contribute to how many people see your video and is actually more important than your video content for viewer and subscriber count.


Your Title


Your title obviously needs to represent the content within your video. However, don’t just write the first thing that springs to mind. You’ll need to tailor your video to a specific target audience.


Think about your target demographic:


  • What age are they?
  • What do they want to achieve from watching your video?
  • What are their interests?


Build a picture of your ideal subscriber and talk to them. You’ll need to use words that are easy to understand and leave out the jargon.


Keywords in Your Title


Keywords are also important here. Leave out your branding – it’s unlikely that your viewers will search directly for you. Instead, add keywords that accurately reflect the content.


For example, if you’re operating a ‘fails’ compilation channel, make sure the word ‘fails’ is in the title. If you’re running a cooking show, add words like ‘cooking, baking or BBQ’ to reflect the actual video content.


If you’re creating serial content, it’s also best to put episode numbers within the title so that your viewer will work their way through the whole thing.



Write Detailed Keyword-rich Descriptions

Keep your description short and to the point. Sure, you could write a giant essay about what the viewer will see when they watch the video, but honestly, your viewers won’t read it. They’re browsing through YouTube because they like to watch content, not read it.


The likelihood of someone reading the description at all is pretty slim, frankly. However, it’s a great place to get in those all-important keywords to boost your rankings in the search engine.


Your description should contain:


  • 2-3 sentences at a maximum.
  • Describe the content.
  • Include a link to your channel to increase subscribers.
  • A call to action – pointing people to subscribe.
  • Links to other related videos.
  • If you’re running an affiliate program – links to the products on Amazon.


Make sure you use the space wisely to think about the keywords included. If you have a baking channel, you’ll probably want to include keywords such as ‘cake’ or ‘cake decorating’ and, of course, ‘baking’ itself. That way, you’ll show up when people type those words together.


Keyword Strings


Adding keyword strings is a great idea too, as there are likely to be fewer videos including the whole string together, and you’ll rank higher if someone searches for the words in the same order that you wrote them.


For example, if you wrote ‘how to bake a chocolate cake,’ you’ll rank higher than someone who just includes ‘cake’ in their title when someone searches for ‘chocolate cake.’


Think long and hard about what your audience wants out of your video and give it to them on a plate.


Use Tags that Your Competitors Use


  • Channel Tags


YouTube allows you to use standard tags that you can apply to all of the videos on your channel if they’re broad enough.


Tags aren’t things that your viewers will pay attention to but will allow you to display exactly what your content is about and will mean you show up in the search if someone searches for those words.


You’ll want to create a bunch of standard tags for each video to tie them together. In the case of baking, you might want to include ‘cake, baking, cupcakes,’ etc.


  • Video Tags


You’ll also want to add tags that are specific to the video content for each individual video. This draws people in and narrows down their search terminology to ensure that your video is exactly what they want to see.


This will boost your subscriber following as you know that they’ll be happy with your video.


Narrowing down your tag terms might mean that you still include ‘cake, baking and cupcakes,’ but you might also add ‘birthday, chocolate or eclairs,’ depending on the specific video content.


When adding your tags, it’s essential to do it in order of relevance so that it’s obvious what your video is about.


It would help if you also tried to match some of the keywords in your description and title. The more often your keyword appears, the higher you’ll rank.


Metadata Top Tips


1. Gone are the days that you could just write the same keyword over and over again throughout your title, tags, and description and rank higher based on the sheer number of times that you’ve written ‘CAKE.’


YouTube’s algorithms have been developed to be much more intelligent these days, and you need to ensure that your content flows naturally. Otherwise, your video will be discounted due to a blatant sabotage attempt.


Write sentences in your description as you would say them, just be clever about the words you use. Try to mirror the same language in your title and tags, so your format looks neat and professional across the board.


2. Update your metadata on older YouTube videos too. Just because you made them a while ago                     doesn’t mean they can’t still gain traction through YouTube and boost your profits.


People might still want to see the same type of content, but the way they search for that content might have changed. Ensure you keep on top of language changes and trends and try to slip some more relevant keywords into your metadata.


It could mean the difference between 5 people per week and 500 people per week watching the same video, just by amending a few words here and there.



If you’re unsure of the current trends, you can find more information using Google Analytics, or there are even YouTube videos to keep you up to date with the most relevant search terms… Check out their metadata. How many views did they get?

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.