As a partner, you have probably asked yourself, “How can I make my videos more discoverable?” “Is it kosher to ask for subscribers?” and “What’s the most effective way to use annotations?” Well, after almost three years since the Partner Program launched, we want to answer some of your questions and offer tips on how you can use YouTube’s arsenal of tools to become a truly great partner.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature a series of blog posts with advice and actionable suggestions regarding what has helped partners be successful on YouTube. You can search the 'tips for partners' label to find the full series. As always, we want your feedback. If there are things we are missing, or other optimization tips you want us to cover, let us know via the comments section in this post.

To kick off our series, we will be covering the first and most important step to increasing awareness of your videos: metadata, which is near and dear to all of our hearts. Find out what YouTube defines as metadata and read on for ways to come up with new tags and descriptions.

Words, Words, Words

YouTube is the second largest search engine, so don’t get lost in the mix, let people find you. Our algorithms are good, but they can only read, they can’t watch your videos. So in order to properly classify your video and index it for search, we need your help.

To do:
  • Have a basic understanding of how we index our search results so you know how we crawl and index your video. Use our tools to your videos’ advantage. 
  • Titles, tags and rich descriptions (all categorized as metadata) will help your discoverability and increase CPMs. Descriptions can include up to 5,000 characters, tags can be 120 characters. Make a goal to use every one of these limits for each of your videos.
  • The more words you include in your description, the higher your chances of being discovered by searchers, which means the larger your audience can grow, and the more potential revenue you can earn.
What YouTube defines as metadata:


  • Use our Keyword Tool to expand on or update your tags. It will give you good suggestions for related queries. You can also check out the Google Insights for Search tool built for online advertisers. 
  • Don’t just include tags upon video upload. If you have a popular video that continues to get views over time, update your tags regularly to take advantage of new searches. Online search behavior is always changing, so your tags should change along with it. 
  • If you have a transcript available, make sure to upload it and turn on captions. This can help your discoverability as it will give us more data points to index your video.
To avoid:
  • Users hate spam. Google hates spam. Spammy tags and thumbnails may help increase views in the very short term, but our algorithm will catch on and punish you for spam. Long term, you want your users searching for videos to find what they are looking for and to associate your channel with accurate information.
  • Don’t repeat words in your description or title, this will not help you. Rather use different words and variations that users might search on to find your video.
Now is a great time to log into your account and check out what your metadata looks like and add some more tags. Tune in this Thursday to hear from one of our partners who’ll discuss first-hand how she uses metadata to increase views. 

Julie Kikla and Mahin Ibrahim, Account Managers, YouTube Partnerships recently watched “Triple Backflip - 60 foot Rope Swing!