What Are YouTube Hashtags?
YouTube Hashtags (often referred to with the “#” symbol) are tags added to video titles and descriptions that denote a video’s topic or category. According to YouTube, hashtags can improve a video’s discoverability on the YouTube platform.
Hashtags on YouTube work like other social media platforms (for example, Twitter and Facebook). When you click on a hashtag, it takes you to other posts that also use that same hashtag.
Hashtags are shown in two places on a YouTube video page.
Above the video’s title:
Or inside of the video description box:
Can YouTube Hashtags Help You Get More Views?
The big question is: do hashtags help your video’s YouTube SEO?
According to the YouTube Creator Academy, hashtags can improve your SEO.
Hashtags can help you get more views in three ways.
First, hashtags can lead people to your video from other videos that use the same hashtag.
For example, let’s say you just uploaded a video about marketing. And you added the hashtag #marketing to that video.
Well, when people click on other videos with the #marketing hashtag, there’s a chance that will lead directly to your video.
(Especially if you rank for that hashtag)
Also, people actually search in YouTube using hashtags as their keyword.
So when you optimize your video around that hashtag, you can rank for those hashtag searches.
Finally, just like with normal YouTube tags, hashtags help YouTube better understand your video content.
For example, hashtags like “#diet”, #paleo” and “#keto” help YouTube understand that your video is about health and fitness.
And besides the SEO benefit, hashtags are a neat way to tie videos from your channel together… without playlists.
Gary Vaynerchuk uses the hashtag “#askgaryvee” to make it easy to find all of the Q&A videos from his channel.
That said, hashtags aren’t going to magically result in more views. In fact, YouTube has warned that hashtags are not a guarantee for success.
In other words: hashtags have the potential to help you get more views. But they’re not going to overcome other key factors in the YouTube algorithm (like Audience Retention).
How to Add YouTube Hashtags To Your Video
There are two different ways to add hashtags to your videos.
First, you can add hashtags to your video description.
When you do, those hashtags will be linked inside of your description, like this:
Also, the first 3 hashtags that you use in your description will show up above your video title:
You can also add hashtags to your title itself. When you do, it will appear in the title itself.
And, like any hashtag, the hashtag in your title is clickable.
How to Find Hashtags to Use In Your YouTube Videos
Here are a few actionable tips to help you find hashtags for YouTube.
Trending Videos: Check out YouTube’s trending videos category to see what type of content is trending right now.
The downside of this is that most of the videos on this list probably aren’t super related to what your channel covers.
Which is why I recommend checking out trending videos on topics that you DO cover. Then, using some of their hashtags on your videos.
For example, we run a YouTube channel about SEO and digital marketing. And when you search for “SEO” on YouTube, you can see that the results are a mix of old and new videos.
To zero-in on new and trending videos, set the “upload date” filter to this week.
That will ONLY bring up videos that came out in the last week.
Then, it’s just a matter of focusing on the handful of videos on that list that have an above-average amount of views.
And if you find any related videos that use hashtags, consider adding those hashtags to your video.
Popular Competitor Videos: This is similar to the strategy I just showed you. But instead of ONLY looking at trending videos, you look at a channel’s all-time best performing videos.
Then, use those same hashtags on your video.
For example, this video from So Yummy has over 100M views.
And if you’re in the cooking or baking niche, you might want to use some of the hashtags from that video on your video.
YouTube Suggest: This is a great tip for finding popular topics and trending hashtags.
All you need to do is type in “#” into YouTube search. And YouTube will show you hashtags that are most popular on YouTube right now.
If you want to take this to the next level, type in “#a”, “#b” etc. to get even more hashtag ideas.
Be Aware That Hashtags on YouTube Have Downsides
One downside of using hashtags is that it can send people away from your video.
(Which can hurt your video’s Audience Retention)
For example, let’s say you add 3 hashtags to your description. Well, these hashtags are prominently displayed right below your video.
Which makes it tempting for someone to click on one of those hashtags, which will send them away from your video.
The boost in views you get from using hashtags can offset this loss. But it’s something to keep in mind.
Create a Branded Hashtag
One way to get around losing views from hashtags is to create a branded hashtag.
That way, when someone clicks on your branded hashtag, they go to search results that are dominated by your own videos… not videos from other channels.
For example, BrightSide uses “#brightside” as one of their 3 main hashtags.
And, when you click on that hashtag, you get a list of more videos from their channel.
That way, even if the hashtag hurts a particular video’s Audience Retention, it won’t hurt their Session Time.
Tips and Advanced Strategies
- Don’t Overdo It: You don’t need to go crazy with hashtags. In fact, if you go above 15 hashtags (what YouTube calls “over-tagging”) on a single video, YouTube ignores all of them. I recommend limiting your hashtags to 3-4 per video.
- Use Relevant Hashtags: In other words, every hashtag should relate back to your video. Otherwise, you can get dinged by violating YouTube’s “misleading metadata” policy. So while it’s tempting to hop on a trending hashtag, keep in mind that every hashtag needs to be closely related to the content of your video.
- Try Hashtag Tools: The strategies I covered here should give you plenty of hashtags to work with. But if you want even more hashtag ideas, a tool like Hashtagsforlikes.co can help. Just type in the topic of your video, and the tool will generate a list of hashtag suggestions:
YouTube Hashtags – 5 Best Ways To Use Them: Actionable tips to help you get the most out of hashtags on YouTube.
YouTube Hashtags For Views: Short video that outlines a unique, data-driven approach to using YouTube tags for SEO.