Monday, October 7, 2013

Optimizing Your Video Title, Description and Tags for YouTube

I've been on YouTube for around 7 years and I've seen far too many people make mistakes with their video titles, description and tags. Hence, I'd like to share with everyone my tips to best optimize your video title, description and tags to ensure good ranking and high viewership.


The video title is the most important and crucial part of a video. It's after all what Google and YouTube predominately uses in its search algorithm to rank and bring up video results in its search engine.

Make sure your video title is as descriptive and specific as possible and avoid vagueness like the plague. Ensure you don't make the same mistakes I sometimes do and always spell check the title, including any names.

If you're creating videos about Japanese games as I do, you can gain a more diverse international audience by including a split of both Japanese and English in your title. Try to go for actual Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji characters as opposed to Romaji (although certain players will also look up game titles in Romaji). Japanese games are also very popular in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan; so inputting Chinese titles would help too. The only downside to this is that it would dramatically limit your actual title length, as you would have to put two or more languages together of the same thing.

If you decide to skip using Japanese and Chinese languages in your title, or even any other language; don't worry—you can still put them all in the tags.


The description is the least important of everything, but that doesn't mean you can slouch on it or leave it empty. The description helps the viewer the most, as it may decide whether or not they want to watch the video and understand why it was made.

You have a brilliant amount of text length in the description, so try to write down everything you possibly can about the video.


Tags are the second most important aspect of a video for ranking and search. You want to put as much tags as you can that pertains to the video, including things that viewers may potentially look up.

Personally, I tend to put every possible version of the subject title first (including in different related languages), then onto tags that deal with the video itself, also as many in different related languages.

Here is a sample of the tags from a recent video I did:

Notice how I put the game's title as the first tags in English then Japanese, followed by tags that are more specific into the video itself. Also note the extra Japanese of a few important tags (character names, combos, gameplay and chaos).

If your video in question is purely English or another language and won't really benefit from an international audience, you can skip putting translated tags. That way, you can save room for tags that deal more with your video.

Remember: Don't put non-related tags into your videos in efforts to gain more views. Not only will it piss off your viewers, but it's a violation of Google/YouTube TOS and you could potentially be suspended for it.


The thumbnail is the third most important as it may determine whether or not a viewer will actually click on your video to watch it. Unless YouTube happens to choose you an amazing thumbnail (lucky you), please don't use the default three supplied. This especially goes for game videos, where the default thumbnails often looks like a confusing mess because it's taken in midst of random gameplay footage.

You want a thumbnail that viewers can actually understand and be enticed by—i.e. large distinguishable visuals, aesthetically appealing and easy to read text (if any).

The best way to do this is of course create your own thumbnail using software, such as Photoshop or GIMP.

Here is a sample thumbnail and template I used for my Dynasty Warriors 8 - Mega Combos Compilation Vol. 1 video which you can download:

Notice how I used large visuals of the characters and large font. The largeness is mandatory as YouTube can shrink your thumbnail to around 100 pixels, so you want to ensure everything is distinguishable and readable.

If you're still not able to use custom thumbnails on YouTube—what are you waiting for?! Go sign up for monetization and get that very important option! You don't even need to be a partner to do so.


To summarize,  remember and execute these tips for all your videos to ensure good ranking and high viewership, regardless of your subject content. Of course, the most critical part of a video is the actual content, so make sure you have good content first and foremost!


  1. I'll be sure to put these tips into heart for my next youtube upload. This will surely help me in my video optimization in Arizona. I do know about the basics of Search Engine Optimization, but video optimization is practically all greek to me. Anyway, I really appreciate how you explained all these in a language I can understand -- Video Games. Keep up the good work!

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