Good video content is not the only thing you have to think about when creating a viral video for YouTube. Of course, the content is important and if your video is not interesting, funny, shocking or otherwise intriguing then nobody will want to watch it. However, just as important as the content is the way in which you present your video through the text you include with it. If you want people to be able to find and watch your video you need to know how to write an effective title, description and tags.
Think of YouTube as the white pages. Just as nobody will be able to find you in the white pages if your number is unlisted or your name is misspelled, nobody will be able to find your video on YouTube if you don’t include text or relevant tags. When it comes to YouTube, optimization is key. Learn to tag, title and describe your YouTube video for success and you can increase your exposure exponentially.
Tags are the best way for people to find your video. When people search for a specific word or phrase in YouTube, the results include relevant videos based on the tags that go along with the videos. For instance, if you made a video of a funny cat and tagged it with the words “funny” and “cat”, your video will appear in the results when a user searches for “funny cat.”
So how do you know which tags to choose? Start by putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do you think the people who would want to watch your video would search for? Lets look at the funny cat example again. People who are looking for funny cat videos may search for cat, cats, kitten, kittens, or lolcats. These would all be relevant tags that are commonly searched. You can also use more specific tags to tell your viewers what the cat is doing, such as “treadmill” if the cat is running on a treadmill. Think of all the different things that people might search for when looking for a video like yours and include the words as tags.
It is important, however, not to be misleading with your tags. Some people like to include popular tags, even if they have nothing to do with the video, just to get people to watch. An example of this would be adding the tag “Lady Gaga” to your cat video, just because a lot of people search YouTube for Lady Gaga videos. The same goes for tagging a video with “Doritos” just because there happens to be a half-second shot with a bag of Doritos in the background, without any relevance to the underlying meaning of the clip. Not only is this annoying for viewers, but misleading text and tags can also result in your video being disabled.
If you are unsure about which tags to use then check out similar videos that have gotten a lot of views. See what these successful clips are tagged with and use them for your own video.
When coming up with a title for your YouTube video the title should be catchy, but also descriptive. You want viewers to have some idea of what they are in store for when they see your title. For instance, don’t call your funny cat video “Hermia Acting Up”. Nobody knows who Hermia is or that she is a cat, and from this title you can’t tell what the cat is doing. A much more effective title would be “Funny Cat On Treadmill.”
Try using a couple of your most relevant keywords in the title as well, as this will help with YouTube search results.
Your description should explain exactly what is being shown in the video, plain and simple. You want your description to be short and concise so that viewers can easily read it to find out what they will be watching in your video.
Bear in mind that only about twenty-five to thirty characters of your description will be visible in YouTube search results, so the shorter the better. If you want to share a long description, explaining how the video was made or where you were when you shot it, that’s ok too. Just make sure that the first couple of sentences are attention grabbing and descriptive, as this is what will show up in the search results.