Reviews, Tips, Tricks & More

Do Video Tags Work?

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The simple answer is yes… but not as much as you think.

First lets have a quick recap of what tags are and the history of them. Okay, so tags were originally used on YouTube as a way to search for videos on a subject but they were massively open to abuse and so YouTube cracked down on it by hiding from public view the tags that videos use and by giving them less weight when it came to SEO.

So, we still have tags, they’re still important but just not as much. The way YouTube looks at videos from an SEO point of view is this:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags

So it’s right at the bottom of the list but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them on your videos, you really really should because YouTube looks at a big combination of things when it decides to show your video as a search result, and by using the correct tags that match up to your title and description then it helps YouTube decide the relevancy of your video to a search query.

It’s a tool, it’s useful (in a sense) and it can’t do any harm (unless you try to spam with irrelevant tags).

So, now we know they’re useful here’s the 5 different types of tags you should use:

  • Specific
  • Generic
  • Compound
  • Misspellings
  • Constant

So, lets break these ones down. I’ll go through them in order of importance (which order they should be put in on your videos)

1. Specific

These are one-word keywords that represent the topic. So if you were doing a Ninja H2R Review you’d put “Motorcycle” “Kawasaki” “Ninja” “H2R”

2. Compound

These are multiple-word tags. I copy the title and use it as a tag, leaving out words such as “of,” “in,” “and,” because YouTube ignores these. For the Ninja H2R example we’ll go with “2016 Ninja H2R Review” “H2R Review” “Kawasaki Ninja H2R Review” “H2R Motorcycle Review” “Motorcycle Review” “Kawasaki Superbike Review”.

3. Generic

These are words like “how-to”, “tutorial”, and “vlog”. YouTube offers suggestions, so use them. So for the Ninja H2R example we’d use things like “review” “vlog” “Video Blog (Industry)” and the like.

4. Misspellings

Misspell words on purpose because people search for these words. So for the Ninja H2R Review we’d go with “Nindja H2 Review” “h2rreview” “Kawasarki Ninja” “ninga h2r” and the like… think like a Jeremy Kyle guest for the UK lot or a Jerry Springer guest for the US lot ;).

5. Constant

These are your upload defaults, ones that will be on every video you ever do, choose them carefully.

Examples for us motovloggers are “motovlog” “motovlogger” “motovlogging” “NationName motovlogger” “motovlogs” “yourownchannelname” “CityName Motovlogger” “CityName Motovlogs” etc…

Here’s the caveat, only use tags that are relevant to your video, because if you mis-sell a video to YouTube and a viewer comes on from that and it’s not what they wanted by clicking off as soon as they get on, then YouTube punishes you.

You only have 500 characters to play with in the tags section so choose wisely.


I’m a Manchester based Motovlogger on YouTube, with over a decade of marketing and design experience including SEO, analytics and branding, my mission is to help out fellow YouTubers with their own YouTube channels and to help them grow as much as they can.

Learn more. Do more. Be more.

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