24 February 2023

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Understanding YouTube Tags: A Crucial Component of Video SEO

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What are YouTube tags?

A seasoned content creator on YouTube will tell you that success is not just about creating great videos. It’s also about understanding how the platform works and using that knowledge to improve visibility. One often overlooked but crucial aspect of this is the use of tags or “video tags.”

YouTube tags are words or phrases that provide YouTube with insight about your video. They are a significant part of the metadata you can supply to YouTube and Google, informing them about your video’s subject matter, category, and other elements. They are integral to YouTube’s search algorithm and can significantly impact your video’s ranking.

Optimizing your YouTube tags

To optimize your YouTube tags, there are several key strategies to keep in mind. First and foremost, your target keyword should be your first tag. YouTube pays particular attention to your initial tags, especially the very first one. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that this tag matches precisely with the keyword you wish to rank for. If you want to rank for “public speaking tips,” make sure your first tag is that exact term.

Strike a balance between focused and broad tags

In addition to your target keyword, it’s important to strike a balance between focused and broad tags. Focused tags help YouTube discern your video’s specific topic, while broad tags contribute to the larger context of the video’s category. For example, if your video is about “how to do a pushup,” include variations of that keyword in your tags. Incorporate broader terms such as “fitness” and “workouts” as well.

Avoid tag stuffing

One common mistake among new YouTubers is stuffing their videos with an excess of tags. However, this can actually be detrimental to your video’s performance. An overload of tags can confuse YouTube’s algorithm, making it harder for it to understand your video’s content. Stick to 5-8 accurate descriptive tags for each video, encompassing a combination of focused and broad keywords.

Consider tag length

When it comes to tag length, data suggests that 2-3 word tags work best for SEO. While not every tag needs to adhere to this length, it provides a guideline for optimal tag length. Tags that are too short might not provide enough information, while excessively long tags may overwhelm YouTube with too much information.

Utilize tag generation tools

To help generate relevant tags, there are several tools available such as TagsYouTube and VidIQ Boost. These tools generate related tags on-demand, saving you valuable time and ensuring SEO effectiveness. They not only offer convenience but may also uncover keywords you hadn’t thought of incorporating.

Review your tags for accuracy

Periodically review your tags without referring to your video title or description. If they accurately reflect the content of your video, you’re on the right track. It’s also beneficial to include 1-2 long-tail variations of your target keywords if possible. However, accuracy is key; misleading tags can lead to penalties from YouTube.

Tags for Suggested Videos

Remember that tags aren’t only important for YouTube Search; they’re also essential for appearing as a Suggested Video. If your tags match those of a popular video, you’re more likely to appear next to it in suggestions. Tools like TubeBuddy can help you identify relevant tags from popular videos.


In conclusion, understanding and properly utilizing YouTube tags are essential components of video SEO. While producing quality content is paramount, ignoring these aspects of using the platform could limit the reach and impact of your content. By leveraging these insights about YouTube tags, you can set yourself on the path towards improved visibility and success on YouTube.