YouTube Descriptions Best Practices and Tips

April 22, 2020 — 6 mins read
YouTube Promotion

Creating good content is not enough to get many views. Many YouTubers don’t pay enough attention to writing video descriptions. In fact, it is an important ranking factor. In addition to the title and tags, the description of the video plays a key role in YouTube SEO. SEO-optimized text tells YouTube search engine what your video is about.  Descriptions also appears in Google search results and in other search engines.

It’s a big mistake to not research keywords before creating a video on YouTube. Text in description is a YouTube SEO ranking factor. How to find the most popular words?  Discover keywords using Google or YouTube Search suggestions as clues for good  queries. It shows most popular search queries. Using such queries in the headers or in the description of your video you will increase the likelihood of your video getting into the top and get more organic views.

Another good way to find words or phrases related to your video is Keyword planner - is a free Google Ads  tool. This  service helps find keywords that are most relevant for the video. 

To sign in you should have a GoogleAds account. In case you have already logged in, you can find Keyword Planner in the upper right corner. Click on the tools & setting tab and the “Planner” will be under words “Planning”.

After you open it, You will be prompted to enter keywords into the form, or upload a file.Enter and click on “Get started”.

To get a forecast, specify location (one or more), language and date range.

There is an example of Google forecast:

Estimated advertising costs are not needed for YouTube SEO. Let's go to the Historical metrics.

There you can find historical statistics for your keywords. As you can see, the query “best exercises at home” is in trends now. This topic is definitely worth a look. Videos that have text with popular search queries in the description have a greater chance of getting into the YouTube top search.

Alternative of Keyword planner is Instead of manually entering different keywords one after another, this tool searches for hundreds of variations of your keyword automatically, resulting in hundreds of autocomplete suggestions. These are  phrases searchers use when they're looking for information. That's why it's so important to use keywords in your content.

What is the perfect keyword density? Repeat keywords at least 2-3 times in description to give search engines a clear signal what your video is about. However, don’t forget that the text should be written not only for search engines, but primarily for your audience. Make the description as useful and informative as possible.

YouTube allows you to add a maximum of 5’000 characters to the description. But this doesn’t mean that it is needed to write a long read with irrelevant information. People want to watch videos, not read essays. We recommend writing a text with a minimum 150 words (it’s about 850 characters). This is enough to add 3 keywords and to rank your video in search.

The first 3 sentences are most important for search engine optimization and CTR of your video.

Put the most important keywords toward the beginning of your description. Try to make the snippet catchy and compelling to click on. As a result you’ll get more organic views.

I think that it will not be a revelation for you that the description of the video should be original. Use comments as an additional tool for self-expression. Do not use the same text in different YouTube videos. Do not copy-paste a text from your competitors or elsewhere. It’s better to sneak a peek and write an improved version. Use a unique description.

CTA, or Call-To-Action is an URL in description. Such links can follow viewers on other YouTube videos, websites or social media. Also you can ask your audience to turn on notifications or subscribe to the channel.

As well as the description, the purpose of hashtags is to let the search engine understand what your content is about. Besides the SEO, hashtags can be used as playlists. Just add a special hashtag to videos that share one theme.

Hashtags can be added during uploading of the video on YouTube. Also, you can edit them at any time after downloading. Add as many variations of tags as you can.

The number of hashtags is limited to 500 characters.

Timestamps are super helpful. They allow users to jump to desired sections of your video. Timestamps can be added in YouTube Studio. Find the place and take a note of their start time in the video. These may be spots where you start a new topic. 

Just write the time and a short description for that timestamp. 

For example: 04:04 -  How to add timestamps to the description? 

After saving, the timestamp will become clickable.

This feature will be useful for long videos with several topics.

This is a good way to fill out a description with useful material as well as improves engagement with your video.

Another best practice is using the same keywords as your competitors. Create a description on the base of your competitor’s videos. Find a channel like yours with a similar topic and about the same number of subscribers. Find on his channel the TOP-3 most viewed videos. Take any of them and create a similar video. 

The trick is that your video will be shown in YouTube suggested. It’s a column on the right side of the main video player. Your video gets a lot of views from this placement, since people often click on these recommended videos.

To understand how to improve your channel or see how the new promotion method worked out, you need to use your YouTube Analytics.There you can find all statistics about traffic sources, retention, demographics, and watch time reports to improve video performance.

Well, you know age, gender, and it’s location. Use this information for creating new videos. If you know who your audience is, then you are halfway to success. 

One of the metrics shows the most popular keywords. This helpful tip helps you understand which keys bring you more views. It’s a key metric, because you'll be able to analyse your statistics properly and create content that will be ranked higher on YouTube. 

Let's test the impact of the well optimized description on the YouTube SEO ranking. We enter a query into the search and see how many keywords are in the first 4 videos and how it relates to the number of views.

On the TOP of the list is a video that has keywords both in the title and in the description. Also, it has a long description with a large number of words and links. This is a good example of a competent SEO.

In second place is the video in which only 1 keyword matches. It is also in the title and in the description. Despite the fact that the first video has the least number of views from these four, it will appear in the first place due to the best hit by keywords. 

On the other hand, 3 and 4 videos do not contain a single keyword and still hit the top. So this example shows that keywords is not the only ranking factor.

However, we recommend writing rich keyword descriptions. Since this helps to promote video through the recommended videos, which can bring you a significant % of views.