Tag, You’re It: Tips for YouTube Tagging


We spend tons of time developing content, but if we don’t get the expected engagement, it can feel like a failure. This is exactly what I experienced when it came to my “Water Cooler Wednesdays” series. I spent hours coming up with topics and content and then filmed and edited each weekly episode. After 30 episodes, I hit a wall. Even after boosting posts on Facebook, I didn’t get the response I hoped for. So, I put the series on ice to focus on other content.

Last week I had an amazing meeting with some rock stars in the association space. During our brainstorm on creating content for YouTube, it became clear to me how much traction I was missing by not using tags correctly and consistently.

So now I’ll pass along my knowledge and resources to prevent your social media melancholy. In this post, we’ll focus on You Tube videos.


What is a Tag?

A tag is a keyword used to describe and highlight the content in your video. Tags should be relevant to your content. Tags help increase your views by expanding the search targets for viewers who are searching or scanning content.

There are three types of tags: Specific, Compound and Generic

Specific Tags – These are focused on your specific content. If your video is on how to make a dog costume for Halloween, specific tags would include “Halloween”, “Dog”, “Costume”, “DIY”, and “How to.”

Compound Tags – These tags use two or more words together. Using the same example, compound tags would include “Halloween Dog Costumes”, “How To Dog Costume”, “Dog Costume”, “DIY Dog Costume.” If you are using compound tags, take out filler words like and, or, as, the. YouTube ignores these words in their searches. With a 500-character cap in your tags, choose your words wisely.

Generic Tags – These tags help to classify the theme or genre of your video. If your video is instructional, your generic tag would be “How to” or “DIY.” Be consistent with your themes to increase your subscriber list. When people know what to expect from your content, they’ll keep coming back.


Now that you know your tags, you can plug them into your posted content. If you’ve already published your video, click on “Edit Video” and enter in each tag in the “Tag” field.

You’ll want to lead with your strongest tag. If you’re unclear about this, think about if you were a viewer of your video. What terms would you search for and want to find it?

Don’t be afraid to explore and play. You can always change your tags.


Track your data.  Look for upticks. What tags did you use? What is your most popular content?

Test Out Your Tags. Plug in your tags and see what comes up. If your video doesn’t work in that tag, try to rework it.

Look for Examples. Which videos do you love to watch? What can you incorporate in your own video? What tags are they using?


If you have a YouTube channel, feel free to post it! I’d love to view it.