How to Write Effective YouTube Descriptions

Looking to boost your YouTube stats? Leveling up your video descriptions can go a long way to getting you seen by the audience that matters to your brand. 

If you’re looking to boost the performance of your company’s Youtube channel, it’s crucial to brush up on your knowledge of YouTube SEO. While thumbnail images and titles can initially capture attention, a compelling description further draws viewers in. Stronger video descriptions will also help your videos rank better both in user searches and the suggested content sidebar. 

Not sure what information to include in a video description, or how to create it to ensure the best results? Here are some of our top suggestions on how to optimize your video descriptions and get your content noticed. 

Video Descriptions: The How and The Why

YouTube offers excellent features to enable the right videos to reach the right people. After all, it’s in the platform’s best interest to keep viewers happy and coming back for more. 

Your job is to provide enough information so that both potential viewers and the platform’s algorithm understand your video content and the purpose of your brand. This is crucial in helping your content reach your target audience. Aside from the video itself, there are two other places on the platform where your descriptions are important. 

The channel description section gives an overview of your company and what viewers can expect from your channel. Those who visit here will already be familiar with your videos and will be looking to find out more about you. The channel description section is important to viewers who may be visiting your channel to learn more about you and the content you offer. 

But the video description section may be even more vital as it helps ensure that your video gets watched and your content is found in the first place. 

With a massive 5,000 characters to play with, you can really go to town. Yet, it’s the first 150 to 200 characters that really matter here. These are the ones that will sit directly below the video above the “see more” button. Let’s see how you can make those characters count. 

Make Good Use of Relevant Keywords

If you’re no stranger to SEO, you’ll already know how vital keywords are for ranking. They enable the platform to categorize your content and suggest it to relevant users. The right keywords and where you place them will determine if the algorithm will work in your favor – or not. 

You need to be very specific with your word choices. While it may be tempting to hook onto a trend, if your keywords don’t match your content, your viewers will quickly wise up and ditch your videos. This can really harm your future ranking. So, by all means, do a little research to see what’s currently capturing your audience’s attention, but ensure it fits in with the content of your videos. 

Once you have homed in on your primary keywords, make sure they appear both in your video title and two or three times throughout the description – no more. Otherwise, you might be penalized for keyword stuffing. Keywords should be placed, at least once, in the first 200 characters – this is the sweet spot. Hashtags can also help here, but use them sparingly as too many will turn potential viewers off.

Avoid using pointless lists of keywords as your full description. Remember, you’re not just writing for the algorithm – people will be reading them too. Keep your copy in line with your brand’s voice and ensure that it reflects the same voice you use on your other social networks. If in doubt, draw inspiration from video descriptions from other channels aimed at a similar target audience to yours. 

With your description in place, keep an eye on your content analytics to see which of your keywords are driving the traffic to your channel. This will inform future content.  

Find Out What Your Audience is Already Watching 

According to YouTube’s analytics, suggested videos have been the top source of traffic for most channels since 2021. Take advantage of this by finding out where your audience already is and use these videos to link back to your content.

Keywords can be an excellent way to do this. Using the same (relevant!) keywords for existing popular videos helps the algorithm categorize them similarly and makes it much more likely that  your content will show up in the suggestions for these videos. 

Give People A Clear Reason To Engage With Your Content

Maybe your brand is driven by humor which means that you will have no shortage of videos lined up ready to make your audience laugh with glee. Or perhaps, you have a more professional tone and brand identity, and your content will have more of an educational and informational focus.

Whichever approach speaks more to your brand, ensure that your video description communicates the core value that your content delivers to your target audience and compels them to consistently tune in for more. Think about why your viewers should take the time to watch your videos. What’s in it for them? How will it benefit them? These are the questions you should be addressing in those first 200 characters. 

However, even a stellar description cannot make up for poor video content. Avoid clickbait. You need to be able to deliver on your promises. Misrepresentation will only serve to damage your reputation as well as your rankings.  

Once you have your audience’s attention, use it. Below, the “see more” button is great for adding a call to action. This can be as simple as encouraging viewers to like or share your videos to asking them if they would like to subscribe to your channel or visit your website for more information.

Links to your social media or online store are useful here. Also include links to similar videos you have posted that the viewer might be interested in checking out. Ensure you always include a strong and clear CTA  for your viewer to click these links – to find out more information, purchase the product, etc. 

Focus On User Experience

No one wants to plow through big blocks of text, and multiple single-liners can be equally as irritating. To make your descriptions eye-catching and easy to read, keep your text varied. If in doubt, take a look at some existing examples. Pay attention to what catches your eye and the bits you skim right over. 

Once you’ve done all of that, preview your video across multiple devices to check that it does well on mobile and desktop. You especially want to check the description right below the video – is it compelling enough to help your content stand out from the crowd? 

Another excellent way to boost your user experience is with timestamps indexed in the descriptions. Both people and algorithms love timestamps as they make videos more user-friendly by allowing the viewer to skip to the part they want. Keywords placed in timestamp descriptions can be seen in Google too. 

With so many ways to connect with your audience, video is fast becoming the best way to get your brand out there. If this medium is new to you, we can help. 

Whether you’re trying to decide between YouTube and TikTok for your business’s content marketing or looking to create killer marketing content to help make your videos shine, get in touch to see what we can do for you.