15 Must-Dos For Fantastic YouTube Descriptions


Video is a huge part of any business these days, but for a company jumping into video all of it can seem daunting. While some of it is getting over the hurdle of making videos, some have some more technical issues.

One such example is descriptions and attracting people to your videos.

Over the years there have been all kinds of different strategies. Some “hack” into the algorithm, while others get you to take advantage of live streams. But I think the most sensible and most effective strategy is really writing good descriptions.

If you want people to come to your Youtube channel or see your videos, you need solid descriptions. And there are two different types of descriptions:


  • Youtube channel description – the description that gives readers an understanding of your brand and what they can expect. It’s your channel’s “About” page.
  • Youtube video description – the description in every video. It helps viewers find your content and lets them decide whether to watch it or not.


When you have both of these descriptors down, Youtube descriptions can boost SEO, views, watch time, and most importantly subscribers. Your videos can also rank on Youtube’s search as well when you have good descriptors.

So how can you make this possible? It all boils down to having a solid strategy for your descriptors. Here are some tips for that.


Still “Rank” Keywords

Youtube is owned by Google so you can expect there to be some similarities in terms of ranking. Like with blog articles, you want to be ranking a series of keywords. The only difference is that for Youtube descriptions you want to focus on up to two keywords and have it/them:


  • Accurately describe the content.
  • Have the keyword(s) be in both the description and title. Once in the title two to three times in the description.

Have this same strategy apply to your channel description as well. The algorithm places more emphasis on the keywords on your about page.

And if you’re not sure what keywords you should be using, Google has created tools to help. One great starting point is turning to Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Trends. Since Youtube and Google are virtually the same, it makes sense they’ll use similar engines.

All you need to do is type in the words you think best describe your channel or video and it’ll give you some related keywords and some other data on the search history.


Repeat Keywords

As I suggested above, repetition of your keyword(s) is important. Especially if the keyword is absolutely relevant to your channel. However you don’t want to go overboard. Stating it more than three times could get your content flagged for keyword stuffing – overuse of a keyword.

What’s also important to note is repeating the keywords over multiple videos. This won’t get you flagged and it can tell the system that you want to rank for this particular keyword.

Again this is all similar to blog articles and ranking them.


Don’t Neglect Complementary Keywords

These keywords aren’t your main keywords, but they do provide extra information about your content. These keywords are keywords that will still rank you on Google and Youtube as well so don’t neglect them.

Going into detail, complementary keywords are qualities that describe your business. They also give some idea of the product or service that you provide.

Is your product good for the environment? A complementary keyword can be “eco-friendly solution.”

Do you provide customer-oriented services? A suggestion for a complementary keyword could be “customer friendly service.”

Ideally you want these complementary keywords to appear once and ideally in the first sentence of your description of every video.


Avoid Clickbait

Clickbait in both the thumbnail, title, and your description should be avoided at all costs. That’s not to say you can’t create tantalizing titles, descriptors, or thumbnails, but you want them to be honest. You want them to engage followers the right way.

A description gives viewers an idea of what to expect. If you don’t deliver, they may leave partway through the video. This hurts your rankings but also your reputation as well. Especially if you stoop to clickbait.

The thing with descriptions is they work over the long-term. This means that Youtube’s search algorithm will eventually get to your videos and rank them accordingly. If you use such underhanded tactics, your videos will suffer. Have solid strategies for keywords and Youtube will boost the video over time.


Be A Human

When you are writing, you want it to be genuine. This means understanding your audience and using language that your viewers will understand. The more your audience can relate to your words the more they’ll want to check your videos.

What this means is weaving your keywords into the description itself rather than making a list of them  tucked at the bottom.

Fortunately if you’re not that great of a writer, there are tonnes of writing resources you can use to polish those skills. Hootsuite posted a list of tools that help with writing skills specifically that’s worth checking.


Have All The Important Words Upfront

If you’ve looked carefully at Youtube search results, you’ll notice that the first three sentences are basically what you’ll see first. Even when going to the video itself, you’ll only see the first three sentences or so there too.

What you place in those first three sentences is crucial as Youtube’s algorithm prioritizes that section above everything else.

What this means for you is you want to make sure that you:


  • Provide a decent summary of your video;
  • Have your complimentary keywords included;
  • And have your keywords included mentioned once in the first three sentences.


Have Links And Metadata

What I mentioned above is stuff that should be “above the fold” meaning this is the first thing people are exposed to.

But Youtube description boxes can hold significantly more than just three sentences. This isn’t Twitter where you have a limiting character count.

You can use this opportunity to promote your business and include all kinds of other links. While some may argue you want those links above the fold, there is a case to be made for keeping them hidden.

First of all, if the video description is longer than those three sentences, viewers will have a button that says “show more.” While this means it’s an extra step for viewers to get to those links, the overall quality of those people will be higher.

Sure you may get more traffic if you have those links above, but that might not convert to sales, or subscriptions. By having people click the show more button, it tells you these people already love your content and want to support you and your business.


Optimize For Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

Last year, Google stated that seventy percent of millennial Youtubers use videos to learn new things. With this in mind, your videos should be geared to solve real problems. Your description and your thumbnail should make it tempting for people to click for those reasons.

An example of this is having a thumbnail that shows how a person does something. Teaching someone how to tie a tie? Your thumbnail could be a man preparing to tie a tie. Pair that with the other tips in this post you can make a solid and helpful video people will want to click.


Offer Value

This goes without saying for the specific video of course, but you need to think about the bigger picture too. After all, you want people to not only watch and benefit from your videos but subscribe as well.

Why should someone subscribe? How will they benefit from watching?

If you can answer both in a description then that’s ideal.

Use Default Descriptions (But Keep Them Original)

One big time saver is default descriptions. Instead of going to another video and copying and pasting the description to another, Youtube has a section devoted to you creating a default description.

Upon every upload, what you place in that description box will appear in those videos.

This is important to keep in mind as you want to be keeping your descriptions original. While there is nothing wrong with a template, you still want to be putting some effort into writing unique descriptions.

With that in mind, have your default description be used for metadata but also to include all those important links. Contact info, site links, social media links. Those kinds of things you can include in your default description.

Just make sure that the rest of the description – the stuff above the fold – is fresh every single time.


Use Timestamps For Long Videos

Each generation has shorter and shorter attention spans and as a video creator you need to adapt to that. Youtube makes that easy for us by giving us timestamps. All you need to do is insert a time in your description and you’ll create a timestamp.

How you use this is up to you, but I’d suggest using it to break up certain topics.

For interviews you can include timestamps for each question you ask. You can also use timestamps for when you change the topic in the video.

Or maybe you uploaded a playlist of music. You can include timestamps for when certain music starts.

Timestamps make is easier for people to get an idea of what’s in your videos and if they find something that interests them they can quickly skip to that part.

Now the big question is when should you be using timestamps? To answer that, you need to ask what is considered a long video?

For me, I’d say anything above 20 minutes would be worth putting timestamps if you can.


Add A Few Hashtags

One feature you may not have realized is that hashtags are relevant on Youtube. You will see them right above the title of a video whenever you go to the video itself.

They are another quick way to add topics and further define your video. It’s similar to tags in blog articles.

You also don’t want to go too crazy with them. Stick to less than 15 and make sure they are appropriate. Hashtags still rank your Youtube video so if you use misleading hashtags, it can frustrate viewers.


Add Links To Helpful Resources

While your product or service, and resources are surely helpful, you still should spread the love a little. Pointing to various tools and resources that you really like shows a geniuses to you and that you’re not focused on always selling your stuff or showing off your business.

Let’s face it, some businesses are larger and have created some amazing videos, blog posts, and tools. If you uncover some, be sure to point them out. People will thank you for them.

Better yet, include a link to those particular resources in your descriptions so users can find them easily.


Credit Sources

We all use other peoples resources to enhance our videos. From research to music, images, or other footage. Make a habit of crediting those individuals below the fold of your videos whenever its appropriate.

If you’re not sure whether to credit them or not, best to be safe and do it anyway. Not only is this a good practice, but it can foster future collaborations.


Use Youtube Analytics

My final tip for you is to take advantage of your Youtube Analytics. Writing a description takes time and like with anything with marketing, it takes some experimentation and testing.

If you’re not getting the results you are looking for, you can make adjustments. And thanks to Youtube Analytics, you can accurately and quickly track your results. If you’re not satisfied with them, you can go back and revise them some more.

Here is a crash course of Youtube Analytics that is worth checking out. It’s part of Youtube’s Creator Academy so it’s free and readily available any time you need a refresher.


Build Solid Descriptions

Video is important now more than ever before and if you want your business to thrive and grow, it’s important to consider video into your strategy. And if you can make some great video descriptions, you will grow your business more than ever before.


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