Optimizing YouTube Video Metadata

In our last post in this series we took a look at YouTube in depth. The benefits, limitations, channel options and how they differ.

Video Optimization

Creating a stellar video is crucial, but it’s only half the battle. Remember, a ton of great content lives on YouTube. To help your videos and channel succeed on the platform, you’ve got to optimize them. This means developing an intimate understanding of how audiences discover and engage with your videos, and using all available tools to take advantage of these insights. You’ll also need to monitor performance on both a channel and video level and adjust your strategy as necessary.


Strategy Overview

Why It Works

How To Do It


Strategy Details


Titles help audiences and YouTube’s discovery systems make sense of your content - so be sure to include relevant keywords that help describe your content. It is also important to treat titles and thumbnails as complementary elements that work together to tell a cohesive story about your content. If your video's title and thumbnail showed up in a search, would you click on it?

Video Metadata Optimization


Like the title, a video’s description field is valuable real estate that helps audiences and YouTube’s discovery systems understand what your content is about. Only the first few sentences of your video description will appear in search results and above the fold on a watch page - so make them count!

Video Metadata Optimization - Description

A video description should:

Reminder: It is a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service to use misleading metadata and blocks of keywords in your description field.


Tags are descriptive keywords that help YouTube’s discovery systems surface your videos to new audiences. Create unique tags that distill the most important video topics, characters, talent names, etc. (ex: Psy, Gangnam Style, Dancing, etc.). Also, consider including a set of standard tags that can be applied across all of your videos to help explain what your channel is all about (ex: Music, Korean Pop, etc.).

Note: If you have older videos that lack proper metadata, consider updating them with relevant information. This may increase discoverability, even for videos that have been public for a long time.

In our next post we'll take a closer look at Thumbnail Optimization.


Post Script: Some of this content originally appeared on the YouTube Playbook - We have included it here as part of this series because we believe it is relevant and adds value to this series. It is not intended to indicate that we are the original author of this specific part of the Video SEO Playbook.... So, yeah, Google please don't sue me. That'd be swell! Thanks.