Tags are one of the foundations of a successful YouTube channel and getting these right can be the difference between a video being surfaced, watched and shared or fading into the background.
In this article I’ll tell you about a free tool that will help you create YouTube tags like the pros and outline how to use the tool for maximum results.
The tool is a free Chrome extension called VidIQ Vision
Back in August 2012 the YouTube creator blog announced that Meta tags for videos would be made private, having been previously public for everyone else to see.
The reasoning wasn’t explicit but we can assume there was lots of shady SEO going down.
People copied tags wholesale from popular videos and added them to videos that they weren’t relevant for. The copycats hoped that their video would now show up in the search results and suggested videos of the original.
I think the move from YouTube makes perfect sense. I ‘ve always advocated keeping squeaky clean and would never suggest trying to game YouTube’s algorithm.
However, I genuinely believe that you can learn from seeing other people’s tags without plagiarism (I’ll show you how shortly), which is why I use this free tool to view other people’s tags and why I recommend you do the same.
Here’s a very short video showing you how to install it.
Disclaimer – the tool is free but does require you to sign up for a free account.
Once installed you have this amazing on-screen widget every time you play a video on YouTube.
There’s lots to see on the widget and I’ll go through how to read each section later but the main benefit of this tool is seeing the YouTube tags that were previously private.
Get started by looking at some of your favourite YouTubers’ videos and see how their stats differ from yours. I’d also have a quick look through current trending videos and most importantly your competition’s.
Don’t be disheartened when comparing your ratings to the seasoned YouTube pros or viral hits. The numbers they put up can be staggering, but they were newbies once too and everyone has to start somewhere.
4 ways to use VidIQ vision to achieve better YouTube results.
1) View previously private tags
What keywords are your competition (or similar channels in your niche) utilising that you have overlooked?
Add them to your default tags (where relevant) and retrospectively to videos that are already live.
Note that I said “where relevant,” above and not just copying YouTube tags wholesale.
Every tag that you use should be hyper-relevant to your video, as you don’t want them to be diluted by keywords that aren’t applicable.
Secondly, you don’t want to appear for irrelevant searches because people click on your video and leave early after not getting what they searched for. This leads to negative audience retention rates that hurt your videos’ chances of being recommended by the algorithm in the future.
Lastly on this point you shouldn’t copy tags indiscriminately as it’s not fair to the original poster. They worked on their tags as much as they have their video and like any original creation it shouldn’t be ripped off.
2) Monitor your Descritption Link Count
The link count tallies up all live links posted in your description and you’ll see that the widget encourages a high link count.
Remember to add “http://” before the link to make it clickable and so that Google can find it.
Make sure that your description includes links to your website and social media accounts but also other external links where relevant.
YouTube, like Google, want content that provides value to users and if you’re linking to useful resources, even off-platform, you’ll be rewarded in rankings. This is a fine balancing act though as any external link could result in a shorter session length.
3) Track your “Creator Suggested” stats
The stats here represent the number of Suggested Videos featured that belong to the uploader of the video playing. The higher the ratio the more chance your video will be clicked on next, so you want this number to be as high as possible.
This is more a symptom of best practice rather than something you have direct control over, but you should see this increase over time if you:
- Have solid SEO – Tags, Titles, Descriptions
- Link to your own videos in annotations and descriptions
- Keep consistently high audience retention
- Publish a consistent content output
- Curate your content using playlists and Shows pages (where applicable)
4) Listen to social signals
The amount your content is shared can be hard to influence, especially early on when you have less of an established audience.
When starting out, instead of trying to be everywhere, I’d suggest focusing on a few social networks and having more meaningful engagement there rather than spreading yourself thin over a number of networks.
But which one to chose?
This part of the widget is a place to get a quick snapshot of where your content is and isn’t being shared and it can tell you if you are having traction on a network where you aren’t currently present. This would be a good place to get started.
You could also check your competitors’ videos to see where their fans are sharing videos and make sure you have a presence there too.
The rest of the boxes in the widget are pretty self explanatory so I won’t touch on those but I will give a quick mention to the vidIQ score.
This is a rating based on all of the measurements in the widget and if you want to know how the score is calculated you can check that out here.
The tool can be addictive and somewhat distracting when you first start to use it but soon it becomes second nature. In no time you’ll be able to quickly size up the stats when watching a video and judge its strengths and weaknesses.
If used for nothing else, the ability to see YouTube tags is a tactic that comes at no cost but can be a huge benefit to your channel.
vidIQ Vision is still a relatively unknown and underutilised tool so you will no doubt have an advantage over the competition if you add it to your arsenal.
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