Blog: SEO
Fancy brown tag

How to See What Tags a YouTube Video Is Using

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

If you’re reading this, your company probably has a YouTube channel, and you’re trying to figure out how to make those videos rank higher.

Since YouTube is the second largest search engine (right behind Google), getting every advantage possible can make a difference.

Hopefully, you’ve been renaming your video files from MOV001.mp4 to more descriptive titles like insert-your-keyword-phrase-here.mp4 before you upload them.

Also, you should be optimizing the video title and video description. It also helps to get your videos transcribed, and upload that text file for closed captioning.

I’m sure you are analyzing what your competitors are doing with their YouTube videos. But the one thing you can’t easily see are what tags other people are using on their high ranking YouTube videos.

Tags will help viewers discover your video, and help surface it in search in YouTube. The descriptive tags are hidden from the viewers, but here’s how you can see what tags any YouTube video is using.

Find the Tags of a YouTube Video

1. Go to the video page using Chrome or Firefox.

2. Right-click the page, and select View Source.

3. Hit Ctrl + F and search for keywords in the source code.

4. This should take you to a list of the tags the Creator Studio used on that video.

This list will look like this in the source code:



<meta name="keywords" content="tag one, tag two, tag three, etc">


Another Method for Seeing YouTube Tags

Recently, I discovered the vidIQ Vision Chrome extension.

The vidIQ Vision extention will let you see the channel tags, video tags, and other information about a YouTube video. You need a vidIQ account to activate the extension. You can sign up for a free account, though the Pro and Boost plans will give you some more perks.

Here’s what it looks like when you are watching a video with this extension enabled. The video tags and channel tags for the YouTube video show up above the Suggested Videos column on the right hand side of the page.

Screenshot of YouTube video watch screen with vidIQ Vision extension enabled

So now that you can see your competitor’s YouTube video tags, how do you put that information to good use?

Analyze, Don’t Straight Up Copy

Remember, the idea isn’t to plagiarize your competitor’s title, description, and tags word for word. What you should be looking for is patterns between the top ranking videos for a given search phrase.

If all the top-ranked videos have specific tags that are used by each of them, it might be a good idea for you to use those in the video you are trying to rank.

P.S. Here’s one more tip: Be sure to use your brand name as a tag in every single video you publish. When people watch a YouTube video, it gives them a column of more suggested videos to watch. By having a unique common tag (your brand name), you improve your odds of having more of your own videos in that column of suggested videos.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

18 comments on “How to See What Tags a YouTube Video Is Using

    1. Great question Alaaeddin. Copying tags won’t make your video rank on the first page of YouTube. Not by themselves.

      YouTube is looking at other things with higher value:

      • Is there a lot of engagement on this video?
      • Are people watching most of this video?
      • Do the views on this video look like real people and not spam?
      • Are people subscribing to the channel after watching this video?
      • Does the average watch time for this video exceed the average watch time of other videos with the same length?
      • After watching this video, do people have a longer session time (stay on YouTube for a long period of time)?
      • Is this video leading to more views of other videos on this channel?

      To paint an analogy, tags in YouTube videos are like Schema in a web page. They supply metadata about the content, but the respective ranking algorithms look at other metrics with exponentially more weight.

      1. I agree with everything you say, John. but what about reusable videos? ( Creative Commons ) Do these points apply to them? And may I have your tips for ranking creative commons videos better?

        1. Yes, these apply to all YouTube videos. One other thing I would do is promote those videos hard in the first hour and first day after uploading them. There seems to be a correlation between videos that get a high number of views and engagement when they are first uploaded.

          1. What is the best and cheapest way to promote those videos? If you can recommend a website that sends real traffic at an affordable price please do.

          2. Buying views from services worked five or six years ago, but is pretty low ROI in 2019. YouTube just wiped out a bunch of suspicious views and profiles a couple of months ago. So I would not recommend getting views or engagement like that.

            Instead, I would suggest dumping some money into AdWords and running discovery ads for your videos (if you are a new channel with few subscribers). You want the ads that are at the top of the right hand column of Suggested Videos. Don’t do pre-roll video ads, as people will simply click to skip the video as soon as they are able to.

            If you put 5 to 10 dollars on each video, you should get a good amount of views, and YouTube will treat these as legit views (meaning, those views won’t get wiped out when they do the next spam profile purge).

  1. The tag doesn’t seem to exist. An easier way is: Go to a video, open the console (see https://webmasters.stackexchange.com/q/8525, hit `F12`), copy-paste JSON.parse(ytplayer.config.args.player_response).videoDetails.keywords in there, hit Enter. You’ll see an array of all the keywords the video is using; you can expand it by clicking the arrow next to it.

    1. Hi Sebastian:

      I tried that, and on Chrome I got:
      Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'args' of undefined

      On Firefox, I saw:
      TypeError: ytplayer.config is undefined
      though it’s very possible that I’m doing it wrong.

      If you right-click and View Source on the page, look for a line that begins:
      var ytplayer = ytplayer || {};ytplayer.config = {"assets":

      The keywords are part of that array. It’s a long array of values, which is why I find it easier to do Ctrl + F.

      Even easier yet is to use the VidIQ extension for Chrome.

      I appreciate you writing in.

      Thanks,
      John

    1. You can post a video to YouTube without adding tags, so if you don’t see tags for certain videos, the video creator probably did not add tags to that video.

      Thanks,
      John

  2. Is it true that YT pushes a particular video to more people, based on how frequently people are viewing that video?

    1. Hello Pavanakumar:

      Great question. That is one factor for sure. YouTube seems to base a portion of how hard they will “push” a video based on it’s first 48 hours after publishing. This is why you see that in your Dashboard when you log in (stats for latest video vs last 10, stats for last 48 hours.)

      A few things the YouTube algorithm is looking for:

      • How much engagement does the video get? Does it get likes, comments? (Even dislikes count!) The goal is to have a video that people interact with.
      • Are people staying on the YouTube platform after watching this video? The longer viewers stay on YouTube, the more ads YouTube can serve. So, videos that result in people staying on the platform longer during a session get pushed harder.
      • How much of the video are people watching? When you look at the Analytics for each video, see how many people watch the video to the end. The more people watch the whole video, the more likely that video will show up in Suggested Videos for viewers who like that type of content.
      • Subscriptions and views. In my opinion, views are most important for the long-term push of a single video. But YouTube also wants to reward people who are building a community, so if people are subscribing because of that video, that will also help it show up in Suggested Videos.

      Thanks,
      John

  3. I click, ‘View Page Source’ then ‘CTRL+7’ … but when I try to type ‘keywords’ the type is highlighted in red, and the computer just keeps going BONG BONG when I type anymore than key ….
    When I proceed to type w, o, r, d, s, … it’s just ‘BONG BONG BONG.
    That method doesn’t work.

  4. Can I copy all the tags of my competitor and paste them in my video? Even if he writes his channel name in his tags?

    1. Hi Imran:

      You can use the same tags as your competitor, if you wish. I probably wouldn’t use their channel name as a tag. It might be better to use your channel name or hashtag as a tag in all your videos. That way, the videos from your channel may appear in the Suggested Videos sidebar instead of your competitor.

      Thanks,
      John

  5. Hi, how are you? Can you suggest to me how to make a new YouTube channel successful? I uploaded two videos, but there are no views yet. I’ve also added my own tags related to the videos, and some copy in the video description. I’m trying to gain views and subscriptions, but not getting a lot of traction so far.

    1. Hi Mash:

      The first 48 hours after you publish your video are very important to how the YouTube algorithm will push the video for the lifetime of the video. So, the more engagement you can get in the first 48 hours of the video, the better That means comments, thumbs up, shares, and people watching as much of the video as possible.

      Always have a custom thumbnail for the video. Create a graphic for the thumbnail. Make that graphic interesting, so more people click on it.

      Prepare yourself for a long haul with videos. With an earlier YouTube channel I had, we had to upload several hundred videos to get traction. On my current channel, we’ve uploaded over 400 videos, and we have about 356 subscribers (as of October 13, 2019). Once you get above 300 subscribers and 1000 subscribers, YouTube seems to push your videos more.

      Post your videos on a regular schedule. If you are going to post one day a week, make it the same day each week. If you post videos two days a week, make it the same two days a week. Think of your YouTube channel as a TV show: people expect to see new videos on the same day on a regular schedule.

      One final piece of advice, the video quality is important, but the audio is extremely important. Invest in a good microphone and make sure the sound is good, and for video, make sure you have good lighting. It makes a positive difference.

      I wish you best of luck and much success.

      Thanks,
      John

Join the Conversation

Your email address will be kept private. Required fields marked *.