You’ve used hashtags on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and on occasion even Facebook. But have you thought about using hashtags on YouTube?
YouTube SEO is a beast in itself. Finding the best keyword, tweaking all parts of your video around that keyword, adding end cards, and linking to other websites and videos are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to YouTube content creation.
And now you need to think about hashtags too. Fortunately, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide that explains what YouTube hashtags are, why they are important, and how to use them properly to improve video views.
Ready to start?
What are YouTube hashtags?
As with many other platforms, YouTube also includes hashtags for category tags and search purposes. By using hashtags on YouTube, more people can find your videos and categorize your videos without necessarily adding them to playlists.
We’ll talk more about the different places you can add hashtags in a moment to further differentiate your videos.
Why use YouTube hashtags?
Why are you using hashtags on a platform? To make your content easier to find, right? It’s really similar on YouTube – with a few added benefits.
While we’ve mentioned a few ways hashtags are used on YouTube, let’s dig deeper into the “why” of this strategy.
Hashtags help YouTube understand what your video is about
Similar to using SEO keyword research on your written content, this also applies to YouTube hashtags. By using relevant keywords as video hashtags, you’re giving YouTube even more information about your video so it can show up in even more potential search results.
This SEO benefit is important in order for the algorithm to keep your video accessible to more and more viewers and grow your audience and subscribers.
Hashtags help you categorize your videos
While many brands might organize their videos into different playlists, hashtags can help categorize your videos in a similar way. Whether you choose a hashtag based on content or video series, hashtags allow users to specifically search for that type of video and display them all at the top of search results.
Hashtags help more users find your content
If you add hashtags based on the subject of your video, there is a chance that your video will appear as a related video to other videos with that hashtag. This can also help you improve your video views and grow your audience.
Lots of people also search for hashtags on YouTube. Hence, it is a good idea to incorporate this tactic into your YouTube strategy in order to reach these people.
How to add hashtags to YouTube videos
There are two different areas where you can add hashtags and improve the potential of your video. The first is right in the title of your video and the second is at the end of the description of your video.
Adding hashtags to your YouTube video title
If you use hashtags in the title of your video, you may be focusing more on the hashtag than on relevant keywords. However, don’t be too quick to dismiss these keywords in favor of the hashtag. A relevant title, preferably with keywords, is still required for a successful search query.
Check out this video on Sprout Social’s YouTube channel for an idea of what this might look like. All videos in the #ProutChat series start with the same hashtag in the title, followed by a short, relevant search term or description.
There are several #ProutChat videos on Sprout’s YouTube channel, all of which can be found by doing a search for that hashtag.
Another popular series of videos that users can search for using hashtags is #AskGaryVee. He adds this hashtag to his video titles so that all relevant videos appear when he searches, as you can see below.
Both channels have created a number around their branded hashtag so it’s easy to remember
One more thing to consider: if you include the hashtag in your title, it will always be clickable on your video page. When users click the hashtag in search results, they will only be directed to your video and not to that hashtag’s search results.
Adding hashtags to your YouTube video description
The other place to add YouTube hashtags is at the end of your video description. Once you’ve optimized your video and added your YouTube keywords, video summary, links, sources, and more, add a handful of hashtags to the end of your video’s description, as you can see below.
If you add hashtags to your video descriptions, they are likely based on keywords that might otherwise appear out of place in your video title.
YouTube also ensures that your hashtags are always displayed above your video titles so that users can click on other videos that use those hashtags.
See what a video looks like when you add hashtags to your description. YouTube takes the first three and adds them right above your video title.
Regardless of how you add hashtags, YouTube makes sure those hashtags are found by your viewers and improves the user experience even further.
YouTube hashtag best practices
Now that you know the technical guide for adding YouTube hashtags to your videos, it is time to cover some of the more specifics of strategically implementing this approach. You don’t want to put a ton of hashtags into your video descriptions hoping to be at the top of search results.
It’s important to note that adding hashtags is a great way to improve search engine optimization. However, that alone won’t magically enlarge your YouTube channel.
Instead, follow these best practices to improve your YouTube marketing with hashtags.
1. Use 3-5 hashtags per video
With YouTube you can add up to 15 hashtags to your description. Google itself – the owner of YouTube – has stated that if you use more than 15 hashtags in your video, it will ignore all hashtags, making adding absolutely pointless.
You only want to use 1-2 hashtags in your video title, and only the first three hashtags in your description will appear above your video title.
Just because you can use 15 hashtags doesn’t necessarily mean you have to. A happy medium with hashtags is around 3-5, so you only include the most hyper-relevant hashtags that represent your video topic.
2. Create your own branded hashtags
While YouTube encourages hashtags to be crawled by placing them in prominent places on your video, it can also mean more viewers clicking on them and being led away from your videos.
Because of this, it can be a good idea to create your own branding hashtags, as we saw above with #SproutChat and #AskGaryVee. When a user clicks to view more videos, they will only be directed to your own video content.
3. Look for your hashtags before adding them
Not all hashtags provide high quality search results, and you don’t want to use hashtags that lead to spam or irrelevant videos. Always do a quick search to see what is showing up when considering a hashtag selection to make sure the content shown relates to your own video.
4. Use YouTube search to find popular hashtags
If you’re not sure how to find the best hashtags for your video, just turn to YouTube’s search bar. Similar to keyword research, you can currently get an insight into the current trending topics if you first simply enter “#”.
While these may not be relevant to your brand or upcoming video, you can enter your keyword or subject to see the most popular hashtags to include in the description of your YouTube video.
Start adding hashtags to your YouTube strategy
Are you excited to add hashtags to your YouTube strategy? Make sure you are smart, include relevant hashtags, and find ways to use branded hashtags that will lead your audience to more content. To make sure your strategy is working, you should check your YouTube stats regularly and track your performance.