How to use SEO for your tags and titles on YouTube? A guide!

Fellow youtuber ‘That guy Matt’ from ‘60 second flicks’ asked us how we have used SEO to gain views. ‘How do you write your tags and titles for your videos?’ A great question that we would like to answer with a few tips in this guide!

 Written by: Marianne Eggink – Doctor Video’s sidekick

The easiest mistake to make

One that we made too. Is to simply start tagging your video with single words that best describe it. For instance: it’s an Iron Man movie review, so you ad:  ‘movie’ ‘review’ ‘iron man’.

While these words are correct descriptions of your video, try to step out of your videomaker mindset for a second. How many videos out there do you think are tagged with ‘movie’ (or game, or vlog etc.)? And how many of those will have a head start of you already? Well YouTube doesn’t even know the exact answer! But this is ‘about’ the number you are up against:


The first hit is a video with over 6,5 million views. That’s not something you can win from when it comes to a single keyword, so don’t put yourself in that position!

Start thinking like a video consumer

The first step for better tags is: start thinking like a video consumer. If you were your audience, what would you type in the searchbar of YouTube or Google to find your video? Coming back to the example of the Iron Man Review you would never just type in ‘movie’ or ‘iron man’ in Google to find a review of it.

And, there’s an easy way to check whether people actually do this. BUT first we have to credit Sam DeZeeuw’s Media Know How channel here, check out his video on how to get more views!

So, how to check what your audience searches for on Google or YouTube? Go to the searchbar and start typing! Try to be as creative as you can and type in any sentence or question that comes to mind, related to your video.

Yes that’s right: your audience does not search by one single keyword, but simply asks YouTube or Google their question, or very specifically what they’re looking for. For instance: ‘Iron man 2008 movie review’.

The key is to copy any of these search sentences and questions, and only the ones that fit with your video and use those as your keywords, or rather key-sentences.

Tell search engines what to look for

Search engines have a system in place with all sorts of attributes that tell them if this video is the answer to someone’s question or not. One of the simplest ways to make that obvious, is to repeat the most important keywords in three places: the title, the description and the keywords. This triple hit is a bonus to YouTube and Google search metrics. And yes that does mean that making a fitting description is an important key to getting found.

And the title of your video is probably more important than you thought. Giving it a catchy name can be fun, but if it’s not working together with your keywords, it’s a bit of a loss. We used to have really short titles for our video’s. But after discovering this, we’ve actually made them more descriptive – without turning them into ugly long blobs either.

Tell search engines that your video is important

You can do this by linking to it from different places. That can be outside websites or social media, but even on YouTube there are ways to link to your video. You might not know this, but a playlist is one example of a link to your video. So structuring your channel with playlists might be a good idea. But your video also ends up in someone else’s playlist when they hit that LIKE button – in their ‘liked videos’-playlist. Each of these is another upvote for search engines.

Of course commentary from your followers is an indication to YouTube as well that there’s something important going on there. And even a downvote counts as ‘engagement’ to YouTube’s algorhythm, so you can thank your haters for stimulating your channel 😉

Use tools to check your keywords

After you’ve done all that, there are a lot of very useful plugins out there that can give you big insights on your channel. Even the free versions of these tools can help you a lot! Our favourites are:

Does any of this actually work?

Let’s take a look at some proof on Doctor Video’s Channel. These are the keywords for our video about swearing in movies. All of the green numbers from TubeBuddy tell you the position this video will show up when that phrase is used to search on YouTube!


When you click on one of them you can see whether it’s a phrase that people use a lot and wether there is a lot of competition from other videos with the same tag out there. The best balance is to find a keyword that is still being searched relatively much, but where you don’t have too much competition to be drowned. Take a look for instance at the metric of the keyword ‘swearing in series’.

Also note that all of the single keywords don’t turn up any interesting results in comparison to key-phrases.


What else can you do?

Well if we’re being totally straight and now that you’ve read everything already… having a website and writing a blog about your channel can help a lot! To us it’s satisfying already if even one of you can learn something useful from it. But at the same time Google is an important reader too. And Google will interpret this blog and all of the keywords in it as another confirmation that Doctor Video is just very important 😉 Kidding! But it does help. Especially if there are regular updates.

If you have any other burning questions for Doctor Video, feel free to ask them on Twitter and share your SEO tips as well!