If you’ve been on social media in the last decade, you’re all too familiar with hashtags. The tricky part? They’re used differently across every social platform. By now you’re probably an expert when it comes to Twitter and Instagram—but what about YouTube?
YouTube SEO is an entirely different beast to wrangle. There are a lot of moving parts, including hashtags. But don’t worry—we’ll walk you through the best ways to use them!
The Obligatory Basics
Just like with other social platforms, hashtags help categorize content so it’s easier for users to find what they’re looking for. So, for example, let’s say you’re an ASMR YouTuber—people searching for “ASMR videos” are more likely to find your videos if you’re using relevant hashtags.
Try using hashtags that will categorize your videos into smaller subcategories:
These kinds of hashtags will help users find exactly what they’re looking for—you! One thing that separates YouTube hashtags from hashtags on other social platforms is that they help YouTube learn more about your video.
Much like Google, YouTube will trust you and your content more if they know what your video is about. Using relevant hashtags is a great way to let YouTube learn more about your content, and therefore show it to more people.
The Nitty Gritty of YouTube Hashtags
There are two places to put hashtags in your YouTube video: in the title and at the bottom of your description. Let’s start with the title.
Now, this can be tricky because relevant keywords are important, too. Don’t throw out all your keywords and replace them with hashtags. A solid strategy would be to pick a recurring hashtag to include in all of your videos—or all of one type.
Let’s say we start a series on YouTube called Uptick Tips, where we share bite-sized marketing tips anyone can use. A great title would be: #UptickTips: How to Use YouTube Hashtags. The next video in that series could be: #UptickTips: How to Write Compelling Ad Copy.
This way, anyone who searches for this video series will see all of the videos in the series. But we left the relevant keywords to the specific topic part of the title. When it comes to the title, branded hashtags like #UptickTips are a great way to go.
Okay, now on to the description:
Once your video is optimized—as in, you have your video summary, relevant keywords, links, sources, etc., it’s time to add a handful of hashtags at the bottom. The hashtags you choose should be based on your keyword research, but maybe they’re keywords that didn’t work very smoothly in your copy. Also, don’t worry about them being at the bottom—they’re doing their job anyway. Plus, YouTube will put those hashtags above your video’s title, so people can click on them to find similar videos.
YouTube Hashtags: Best Practices
Alright—you know why you want hashtags in your YouTube videos, and you know where to put them. Here are some best practices to follow:
How Many Hashtags You Should Use
For starters, YouTube and Google allow a maximum of 15 hashtags—any more than that, and they’ll straight up ignore all of your hashtags. You don’t want to stuff your video’s title with hashtags. Try to keep it to one or two so things don’t get cluttered. Also, be aware that only the first three hashtags in your description will pop up above your video title—so put the most important ones first!
After that, feel free to add as many as you’d like (up to 15). But the basic rule of thumb is 2-5 hashtags per video.
Create a Branded Hashtag
Yeah, we mentioned this already—but it’s important!
Think about it. The hashtags above your video title are clickable, which means people might click on them to see other, similar videos—but they’ll be other people’s videos. Creating a branded hashtag will give people an easy route to find more of your videos.
Search for You Hashtags
We know you can come up with great hashtags. You know your audience and what they’re searching for! But it’s always good to double-check. Popular hashtags don’t always mean what you think they mean, and some hashtags that sound good only lead to spammy or irrelevant videos.
Don’t Sleep on the Search Bar
One of the simplest ways to conduct keyword research is by searching for stuff yourself. Open YouTube, go to the search bar, and type “#.” See what comes up! The suggested search will show you what’s trending. Pay attention to popular videos in your niche, too. See what hashtags they’re using and which ones might apply to you as well. Similar to Instagram or Twitter, you don’t want to use hashtags that are TOO saturated.
Need Some Extra Help?
Whether you need social media and search engine optimization, or you want some killer videos for your YouTube channel—we’ve got you covered. Let’s grab coffee and talk about what results we can get together.