YouTube SEO part 3: How to write YouTube tags, playlists, annotations and more


This is the third in a three-part series on maximizing SEO for YouTube.

Also: See part one on keywords. And, part two on titles and descriptions.

Now that we’ve explained how to identify powerful keywords and how to write YouTube titles and descriptions with keywords in mind, it’s time to focus on the extra steps that can improve your search engine rank.


Tagging your videos with related topics and keywords can help your videos appear under the “related content” sidebar, allowing you to reach viewers watching other videos or not actively searching for your content. YouTube tags are not displayed on the page, but are entered when you upload a video.

  • Think of keywords and topics related to your video content.
  • Add suggested tags from YouTube that are relevant to your video.
  • Aim for about 8-10 tags per video.

Playlists, annotations and more

Playlists are a good way to organize related videos.

  • Sharing links to playlists can help increase watch time, since YouTube will automatically play the next video.
  • Playlist titles and descriptions provide more real estate for keywords.

YouTube playlist example

YouTube playlist example

Annotations can direct people to watch a related video. They only link to other YouTube destinations (such as another video, click-to-subscribe, a Google+ page, etc.), not to external websites.

  • Add annotations to direct people to related videos (especially when there is a part two or an update to the existing video) or playlists.
  • Prompt people to subscribe to your channel.
  • Make sure annotations reinforce the viewing experience – add them when it makes sense, such as at the end of a video or right before a high drop-off in viewership.

Annotations are not visible in the YouTube app on mobile devices; however, this may change, as some annotations were made viewable on iPad in May 2014.


YouTube annotations example


Advanced settings allow you to include video location and date.

Subtitles and closed captions are another way to add searchable text. YouTube enables you to do this manually by typing all that is said in the video, or by uploading a text file with a transcript. Choose Edit > Subtitles and CC from the Video Manager.

YouTube subtitles and closed captions

This was the last post in our three-part series on YouTube SEO. For more general information on SEO, read our blog post on the top things you need to know about organic search today. And of course, feel free to contact us. We’d love to chat about how SEO fits into your digital strategy.


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