Writing Smart Descriptions for YouTube

by | Jun 24, 2020

This is part three of our four-part YouTube series. Read Why YouTube Matters for Nonprofits and Creating Titles and Thumbnails for YouTube if you missed them. In this series, we’re discussing the why and how of YouTube. If you don’t have a channel or are just looking for ways to get more out of YouTube, this series is for YOU.

Remember in part one when I said YouTube is the second most popular search engine? Think about what you type in the YouTube search bar when you’re trying to find answers or searching for a video. How does YouTube know which video is most relevant to your search? That’s SEO, baby. 

A well-written video description helps viewers find your videos and channel. Video descriptions are part of the metadata that helps YouTube understand the content of your videos. 

Your video’s description needs to share valuable information that helps viewers find your videos in search results and understand what they’ll be watching.

Here’s what to include in your video description:

  • Use the first few lines of your description to explain what the video is about using search-friendly keywords and natural, conversational language. This is what people see before clicking “Show More” on the description..

  • Use the rest of the description for important information that viewers need to know about your channel and/or organization. We strongly recommend including one sentence about your organization (keep it simple and straightforward), links to your website, donation page and newsletter signup. You can add commonly asked questions about your content or organization here, too.

If people are watching your videos, it means they want to know more. Tell them about your organization and how they can help! Include calls to action. 

Here are two quick tips to save time (please share the knowledge!)

  1. Create a default video description. Ensure each video has the same description by uploading a default video description. Do this by clicking on Settings, then Upload Defaults.

  2. Add a link to your descriptions that allows users to subscribe to your channel right there. Copy and paste this link and add your YouTube channel name in the URL:

Other quick tips to note:

  • Always add http:// to the beginning of links or else they won’t be clickable.

  • Add related hashtags in your descriptions to help viewers find your videos. The max is 15 hashtags, any more than that and YouTube will ignore all hashtags on a video.

Remember, the more content your viewers watch, the higher the chances of them subscribing to your channel and making a donation or purchase. The same concept applies to YouTube’s algorithm, the more people watch your channel, the more YouTube will promote your videos. 

Here are some channels that get it right:

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