Rise and Shine

HOW TO: Make the Most of Youtube Video Description (from Basics to Advanced Tips)

A video is one of the most powerful content re-packaging tactic. It creates a completely new marketing channel for your brand: Youtube, one of the most popular sites on the web.

Youtube marketing consists of many little things: smart tagging, targeting related videos and of course on-page optimization – which we are looking into today.

A video description is a little section below the video that can make the real difference. Let’s find out how to make the most of it!

In this article:

Quick basics:

1. Youtube description = search snippet

Mind that your description will make it to the video search snippet when / if it ranks, so make sure it is good enough to deserve a click (and probably don’t start with your URL to avoid looking spammy)

Youtube video description in search results

Blended results: Video description makes up the search snippet

2. Is there word limit?

Total character limit is ~5000

3. How long should it be?

As far as you manage to be within the character limit, you are good to go.

Important: Make sure to put your call to action in the first ~180 characters of the description to encourage viewers to click to continue reading.

How long should it be?

First ~180 characters of the description is the only visible part (it should encourage the user to stay and keep reading!)

Now let’s move forward to more advanced tips:

1. Include your keywords (meaningfully)

Youtube page doesn’t have too much text content for search bots to crawl, so make sure you include some of your most important keywords in there (to determine those keywords, run this free and easy Suggest Tool: It has Youtube support too if you care to rank well both in Youtube and Google search)

Keyword suggest tool

Google / Youtube / Bing Suggest tool: Your brainstorming dashboard!

2. Include names

If you mention a name in the video or if you hold an interview or a Google Hangout, make sure you mention all the names (and even Twitter handles as those are usually brand names) in the description (and most active participants in the title) of the video.

Keep in mind that people may search themselves on Google or Youtube, that’s how your Youtube video suddenly becomes important for them (That’s the basics of ego bait in it’s most positive sense!)

Include names

List all the names in the video: Ego Bait!

3. Provide outline & “Jump to” clues (Video Navigation)

Gold: Whenever you include time mm:ss in the Youtube video title, it gets converted into “Jump to” link:

Video navigation

Video navigation links: Engage!

Suddenly your Youtube video description is much more engaging: I imagine many of the viewers will enjoy clicking those links to fast-forward the video.

Video navigation

Video navigation in action. Try youself!

Note: This is a good way to encourage people “unfold” your whole description too because the moment they click the “time” link, it will open in full.

4. List  links

This is another way to make your description engaging: Link away! You can include links to your blog, to your client booking forms, and social media accounts.

Additionally, List all the links and tools you were mentioning. Not only will it be helpful to the reader but also make your video more resourceful.


Make the description more useful: List resources

5. Repurpose your video descriptions

Feedburner lets you import your feed into an HTML to create a constantly updated page. The same can be done using Youtube feeder and Youtube Channel gallery.

In all the cases, video descriptions will be the actual content of the text:

Repurpose your video descriptions

Repurpose your video descriptions on your page!

Any tips on creating Youtube video descriptions? Please add them here!

Gail Gardner
Connect at


  1. Wonderful, detailed post Ann! This is one to bookmark and refer to often as I have been wanting to get into making more YouTube videos this year.

  2. Do you have any video of that? I’d love to find out
    some additional information.

  3. I am only 10 years old but this helped out my youtube channel a lot ill make sure to leave the link in my discripton here tysm

  4. Thanks for this Ann I am only just starting out with Youtube so this is a well needed article on how to optimize the description.

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