Hashtags for YouTube have evolved over the past few years. It is now easier for content creators to classify their videos and make them more recognizable, and it is easier for viewers to find the content they want.
We’re going to explore what hashtags are for YouTube, why you should use them, and how to find the best ones so your videos will appeal to the right audience.
What are hashtags for YouTube?
As with hashtags for other social media platforms, hashtags for YouTube are words or phrases with a hash mark, also known as a number sign. You will see these hashtags in three places:
- above the video title
- within the video title
- within the video description
As with hashtags on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, hashtags on YouTube inform viewers about the topic of the video.
How do YouTube hashtags work?
A hashtag acts as a hyperlink.
Instead of directing you to a specific website, hashtags on YouTube will take you to a search results page that will display all videos with that hashtag.
How to add YouTube hashtags
When you upload a video, you have the option to add hashtags to the title or description. You can also add hashtags to the video itself during the editing process.
If you add hashtags to the video description or within the video, YouTube will display them above the video title in the search results.
Keep in mind that adding a hashtag to the title is not enough to increase the number of views. You still need to write excellent video titles that will grab users’ attention.
How to Track YouTube Hashtag Performance
Go to YouTube Analytics, click Traffic Sources, then click YouTube Search. This will show which hashtags you are using and which have the most views.
How viewers use YouTube hashtags
Viewers can search for videos on a specific topic using hashtags in two ways:
- Enter a hashtag in the search bar
- Click on an existing hashtag
With both search methods, the viewer sees a list of videos with the same hashtag in the search results.
Suppose you want to make sourdough bread. Before trying a recipe, you’ll want to see how sourdough is made. You go to YouTube and type #sourdough in the search bar. Dozens of results are displayed. These videos use that hashtag or phrase in their video information (title, description, etc.). The YouTube algorithm displays videos in search results based on a user’s previous views, video performance, engagement, etc.
Why are YouTube hashtags important?
Three reasons: the importance of YouTube and the popularity and effectiveness of hashtags.
YouTube is one of the most visited websites on the internet with over a billion users. Millions of people use it to upload and consume content every day. It’s also a powerful search engine in itself. When people are looking for a video, they go to YouTube first.
Hashtags also allow you to classify content as it is spread across other social media platforms. They’re practical too. Adding a hashtag to your video will make it quick and easy for viewers to categorize your video.
Using relevant hashtags will also make it easier for viewers to find your video, increase brand awareness, drive visitors to your website, and drive conversions.
Hashtags can increase video views
I mentioned earlier that hashtags can make videos easier to find, but they can also improve your video views in two ways:
- Your video will show up when people search for that hashtag.
- People click the hashtag when they watch a related video.
For example, let’s say you’ve made a video on a topic like digital marketing. During the upload process, tag the video with #digitalmarketing, like in this video:
A day or two later, a viewer is watching someone else’s video about how to increase conversions on their website. The video they see is also tagged #digitalmarketing. You click the link and a list of videos with that hashtag will appear, including yours.
How to find the best hashtags for Youtube
Relevant hashtags are key to getting found on YouTube. How do you know which ones are most relevant to what users are looking for? How do you choose from the hundreds of options?
Search on Youtube
Start researching. Think about the topics you are covering. Are there hashtags for these topics? Once you’ve identified the possibilities, find them on YouTube. This search leads to old and current results.
Find the latest videos with the hashtag you choose by filtering your search. Set the upload filter to “this month” or “this week”. When you’ve narrowed your search, make note of the videos with the most views. What hashtags are they using in addition to the one you just searched for?
You can also find relevant hashtags for YouTube by watching your competitor’s most popular videos. Using the same hashtags as these videos can help you increase audience numbers.
Use a hashtag generator
If you’re not sure which tags are most relevant to your video, use a hashtag ideas generator.
A hashtag generator is an internet-based tool that developers can use to find the right hashtags for YouTube. Enter your video theme and the generator will provide a list of possibilities.
You can find dozens of free hashtag generators online including:
Create a branded hashtag
As the term suggests, a branded hashtag includes your brand’s name in the hashtag, e.g. B. #NeilPatel.
The main benefit of a branded hashtag is that people who click on it will only see videos that you have uploaded. Competitor videos will not be shown – provided none of your competitors have used your branded hashtag on their videos.
Note that any other YouTuber may be using your branded hashtag in a video that criticizes your brand or in a video that doesn’t align with your brand’s image or values. There is no copyright protection for hashtags, as I explain below.
Use location-based hashtags
Is your audience location specific? You can use hashtags to target them.
With location hashtags, it’s important to be specific. While you can think of London as England’s capital, 28 other cities around the world share the name. If you’re in London, Ontario and posting a video about the city’s top eight restaurants, #LondonOntario can help local viewers find your video.
What you need to know about hashtags for YouTube
Keep these five points in mind when using hashtags on your videos.
Hashtags aren’t a guarantee of YouTube’s success
YouTube makes it very clear that hashtags “… are not promises or guarantees of success.”
It is not enough to just add a few hashtags to the description or title of your video. You also need to know YouTube’s hashtag rules and community guidelines.
YouTube sets rules for hashtags
The main rule of YouTube video hashtags is to only use hashtags that are related to the subject of your video.
To increase the number of views, it might be a good idea to add a hashtag to a trending topic, even if it’s unrelated to your video. It is not. You just turn off the viewers you might be reporting on YouTube. Your reports could result in your video being removed.
Another thing to remember is that a little goes a long way. If you fill in the description section of your video you will not get more views. On the contrary, YouTube ignores any post with more than 15 hashtags.
Instead of using as many hashtags as possible, stick with three or four hashtags that are relevant to your topic. If it is a related phrase to your video, try the ones your competitors are using in similar, high performing videos.
Also, enter your hashtags correctly, with no spaces between words. It may sound like something small, but if you type quickly, you can make mistakes. If the hashtag is incorrect, the search results will not display the correct version.
Follow YouTube’s community guidelines
Like other social media websites, YouTube has community guidelines to help protect its users. These guidelines apply to all content on the platform, including video hashtags.
There are four main groups of guidelines:
- Spam and Fraudulent Practices
- sensitive content
- violent or dangerous content
- regulated goods
Following these hashtag guidelines will keep your video from being removed and kicking you off the platform.
Hashtags can affect audience engagement
At the beginning of the article, I talked about how a hashtag can lead viewers to your video. If someone is watching a video from another content creator with the same hashtag, the viewer can click on the hashtag and be directed away from that video.
You may encounter the same problem. A curious viewer can search for related content by clicking the hashtag attached to your video. This action lowers target group loyalty.
To combat this problem, use branded hashtags to make sure viewers find your content and try to use related hashtags on multiple videos so yours keep getting results.
You can’t own a hashtag
Creating a hashtag doesn’t give you ownership. Yes, you can apply for branded hashtags, but approval is not a given. The rules for marking hashtags vary from country to country. So check your jurisdiction.
Even if you use a hashtag as a brand, you can’t expect it to be used exclusively. Nothing prevents other YouTube creators from using hashtags you’ve created – even if they’re branded. McDonald’s found this out in 2012 when a hashtag they created for Twitter backfired.
Hashtags for YouTube can be a free and effortless way to attract more viewers to your videos. You increase your chances of success by searching for the right keywords after YouTube optimization and tracking hashtags performance to make sure you are using the right ones.
Experiment with the type and amount of hashtags to see if they affect your YouTube video analytics.
What hashtags are you going to use to get more viewers?