YouTube Metadata Optimization – Increase Your Video Views

YouTube Logo - Broadcast Yourself

You finally uploaded your first video to the world’s second largest search engine. Congratulations! Personally speaking that is sometimes a very big step to overcome but you did it! You took up YouTube’s “Broadcast Yourself” mantra and now you are just waiting for the views to come in and maybe it will even go viral. You were so excited in posting the video you didn’t put any thought into the title of the video – even left on the .mp4, you put a few words in the description – “This is so awesome!”, and didn’t pay any attention to the Tag section.

Well, my friend – chances of your video being seen by anyone let alone having it go viral are slim to none.  Without Metadata your video is lost among billions of videos.

What is Metadata?

YouTube metadata optimization
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YouTube describes Metadata “as the information that surrounds your video.” Metadata includes the Title, Tags, and Description. This data set informs YouTube’s algorithm of your video’s content, indexing it for search, promotion, related videos, etc.

Creating your Metadata is not as fun as creating your video, but very necessary for your videos to be found.

Here are a few of my optimization tips when creating your Metadata.


This is where it begins. Titles (green section in image) should be descriptive, relatively short phrases that tells the viewer what it is they are about to watch. Keywords should also be included. To find popular keywords start typing a keyword related to your video in YouTube search. The words that start appearing are usually the most common searched keywords. Another way to find keywords is to use YouTube’s Keyword Search  tool.


Most viewers will drift down to check out the description (blue section in image). Here is your opportunity to enter as much text as you need to describe the video, who you are, calls to action, etc.  The first couple of sentences are the most important as most viewers will skim and scroll downward. Do not put a halfhearted effort into the description.


The order of tags (orange section in image) is weighted in the search algorithm – use the YouTube keyword tool to find relevant specific keywords or phrases to your video and enter those keywords  first in the tag area. Add more generic tags at the tail end. For example if you have video related to high risk driving the first few tags would be high risk driving, tactical driving, etc and use generic terms like cars, automobiles, driving at the end.

Extra: YouTube Custom Thumbnail

Custom thumbnails (purple section in image) are available if you setup Adsense on your YouTube account and monetize at least one video. They are not Metadata but I think they are necessary to stand out from the crowd in the search results page. Capture those eyeballs. The thumbnail should be colorful, bright, clear and depict the video. Displaying a thumbnail not related to the video content can get big thumbs down with viewers, and YouTube will notice that viewers are leaving within seconds and potentially shut down your channel.

Creator’s Tip

After you have created your videos don’t let them sit idle. Don’t “set it and forget it”. Visit YouTube analytics and see where people are viewing your video, how long do they watch it, etc. Adjust the tags based on what people are searching for and finding your video; make other keyword adjustments in the title or description.

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