Growing on YouTube is a challenge and there’s no way around that. That being said, there are quite small and easy things you can do to nudge the algorithm in your favour just a tiny little bit more. You might not have expected this but a good video description on your YouTube videos can help more people find your content. You’ll want to do anything that’ll help the algorithm, no matter how small it might seem. In this article you’ll learn how to format your description and optimize it to eventually bring in more views.
You will always want to start your video description with a hook (no, not Captain Hook). What I meant with a hook at the start of your description, is something that will hook your potential viewer if the thumbnail and title might not be sufficient for them to click. It serves as an extra measure to try and get people to click.When your video shows up in search results the first things a potential new viewer sees are the title and the thumbnail (which are obviously important). However, there is a third thing they’ll see. That’s right, the first 150 characters of your description.
The best thing you can do for a video description hook is either; to ask an important and intriguing question that you’ll give an answer to in your video OR to just state what the video is about in an interesting way. For example, (see the images below) I made a video on the world and lore of a video game. Attractive thumbnail, solid title and a description that lets the potential viewer know exactly what will be happening in that video. Another example, a video about the same game where I ask an intriguing question. That is how you can hook a new viewer if at first they might not click for the title or thumbnail. Asking a question could also give you an edge with the algorithm because people often google questions, repeating those questions in your descriptions has the potential to make you score on YouTube.
After my hook I have one or two links to things I’d like a viewer to do, the first link is always a direct link to the subscribe button of the channel (to do this, add ?sub_confirmation=1 to your channel link for example my channel link is www.youtube.com/c/mrcobblewobbles but the link directly to the sub button is www.youtube.com/c/mrcobblewobbles?sub_confirmation=1).
The second link can be a call to action you did in your video. I often mention my Twitch channel in my videos, so that’s usually my second link. I also use a link shortener (in my case bitly.com) to make the links less intimidating and by doing this I can track how many clicks they get.
I’ll be honest, timestamps themselves won’t really help you get more views and grow on YouTube. However, they look professional and are very helpful for your viewers and could potentially increase your watchtime on a video. Where some people might click away your video, instead people could click a timestamp to go to a part of the video they might want to see.
Furthermore, you can incorporate more keywords (words people will enter in the search bar of youtube) in your description by using them in your timestamps. “Coral Island”, “world” and “lore” are three important keywords for this video in particular so I used them in the timestamps to reinforce those words in my description and at the same time, it helps people find what they’re looking for in my video and what to expect. Adding these timestamps is super simple, you just type out the time (minutes:seconds) of the video where your next segment begins. In the example below you can see that the section about the world of Coral Island begins at 0:33 in the video, I just typed “0:33” in the description box and YouTube will automatically incorporate it in your video.
Deeper in the description I usually place a longer piece of text that gives more context to the video and provides information about the subject of the video. I do this to further reinforce the keywords that viewers will be using to find my videos. In the description of our example video, I again use “Coral Island”, “lore” and other terms that could help the algorithm recommend this video to more people.
After the actual video description, I proceed to make sure to select a few playlists people might enjoy on the channel and below that I add all my social links. You may have noticed I use emojis as accents which is something you don’t have to do but it does make everything look a bit nicer. And of course, don’t forget an email address for people to contact you about business inquiries, you never know!
The answer is yes. Tags can really help your video get discovered, not as much as they used to but all small details matter because when you put it all together you’ll have an edge over people who don’t. I usually use a lot of hashtags in relation to the keywords (yes, again, they’re important) but also the video tags that I give my video.
And now, you have an amazing description template that you can use on your videos. You don’t even have to type it out every time. If you go to YouTube Studio > Settings > Upload Defaults, you’ll be able to type out a description that will automatically be applied to every video you upload. You can then edit it when you upload your video and change the things that need to be changed.
Ever since I started doing all these things I’ve seen an increase in traffic on my channel and now, you can use your video description to lend the algorithm an extra hand to show your video to more potential viewers. Happy content creation!