The internet is a beautiful place. It gives you easy access to mountains of information that was previously unreachable. All you have to do is fire up your browser, choose your preferred search engine, type in your query - and you're good to go. You can find articles, images, locations, and videos about anything and everything.
However, if you're creating bits of information and content, you have to do some work behind the scenes. The internet isn't human. It can't just "find" the perfect results to your search queries out of the blue. As content creators - especially when it comes to video content - you have to help the search engine find you. You can do that by using "Meta-Data."
Meta-Data isn't just a buzzword. If you've read our blog long enough, you've seen it in virtually every single blog post. We can't stress the importance of using it appropriately enough. Then again, we can see why people choose to ignore this vital aspect of creating and uploading content. If you don't understand what it is, you can't see the point of using it.
In this blog post, we'll explain everything there is to know about Meta-Data in YouTube videos. We'll also elaborate on the proper ways to use this priceless tool to increase exposure and discoverability on search engines. After all, Google not only owns YouTube - it's also the second largest search engine on the internet. Billions of people use YouTube daily, searching for new content to consume. It would be a shame if your content went unnoticed because the search engine couldn't find it. Oddly enough, this mistake is more common than you'd expect among new creators on YouTube.
Generally speaking, "Meta-Data" is a fancy way to discuss information about the information you're giving. Thus, YouTube video meta-data refers to information about your the video file you're uploading and sharing on the platform.
Your video's meta-data abilities aren't beneficial for the platform's internal search engine alone. Video meta-data is also vital for discoverability on "external" search engines such as Google, DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo.
Meta-data helps the search engines' algorithms to organize content and expose it to targeted audiences using search queries and keywords. Whenever a user types a query or a keyword into the search engine's search bar, the algorithm "crawls" all over the internet to scan and extract relevant meta-data from videos.
This process helps the algorithm find the perfect matches for your queries and keywords. Sometimes, the platform might even suggest matches you didn't actively search. 70% of the time on YouTube is spent watching videos suggested by the algorithm according to keyword matches.
If you don't fill in your video's meta-data effectively, the algorithm will never find your videos while performing search crawls. Consequentially, your content gains zero exposure, which also means you have no chances of growing your channel and reaching new viewers.
When it comes to YouTube, the most critical meta-data factors are your video titles, descriptions, and tags. There are other aspects, of course, such as thumbnails, cards, and annotations. However, these three factors are meta-data foundations. Without these, your content won't be discoverable, no matter what.
Your video title might take a split-second to read, but it makes a substantial first impression on the viewers. You'll want your title to be eye-catching and intriguing. However, there's more to titles than that. You'll also want to mix in some strong, high-volume keywords. To find these keywords, you'll have to conduct some extensive keyword research - but trust us, it'll be worth the time and effort.
As it is with titles, your video descriptions must incorporate keywords as well. Each description for a YouTube video can have up to 5,000 characters, but only the first 120 characters will appear in a "snippet" on the search engine results page. Those 120 characters are the first 1-2 lines of your video description, so you'll want to "hook" your viewers in by using them to the best of your ability. Moreover, your titles should give your viewers a good idea about specific things they will see in your video and why it's worth their while. You can use those 5,000 characters for that, and even include "time-stamps" if your video is longer than average or covers more than one specific topic. Sprinkle in some product links and webpages if you're using any and help your viewers find what they need.
Studies found a significant, albeit small, correlation between tags and ranking placements. Tags are vital when it comes to meta-data, and they play a huge role in ranking your videos at the top spots in search engine results pages. Your first tag should always include the keyword for which you're trying to rank at the top. You should use both long and short tail keywords in your tags to make your video more discoverable.
Since using Meta-Data has proved itself to be beneficial, this technique has also been susceptible to some form of "abuse." YouTubers looking to improve their ranks on the platform's SERP started using keywords and tags that had practically nothing to do with the actual content of their video.
According to YouTube's Terms of Service and policies, creators can no longer use meta-data that's contextually irrelevant or misrepresenting to their videos. This policy prevents YouTubers from "tricking" viewers into watching their content. Practically, this means that YouTubers aren't allowed to "stuff" keywords into titles, descriptions, and tags anymore without risk of penalty or demonetization.
Visibility on search engines depends entirely on using the most relevant keywords. To make sure you're always on top of your competition, make sure to keep your keywords fresh and relevant to your content.
Before you upload your video file onto the platform, remember to change the file's name, so it has your keyword in it. Although this never proved to be effective for video SEO, this could help you stay organized. Also, if you end up stuck without a good video title - YouTube might offer a good one based on the file name!
Not a lot of people know that this is something you can do on YouTube, but it is. GEO-tagging your video will help the algorithm expose you to local audiences who are also interested in the keywords you used in your video. Go to your video's advanced settings, and enter the location you want to tag your video in (it could be anywhere in the world!). After tagging the location, the algorithm will expose your videos for the locals to find and enjoy.