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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 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 YouTube 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 SEO.

36 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, 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.


    2. Hello sir:

      I am new YouTuber and blogger and my YouTube channel name is “dear guider” and I always trying to rank my video and post. But my videos do not rank. If you have any suggestion then please please help me and send any suggestions.

      Thanks a lot.

      1. Hi Yash:

        If you get a lot of engagement and people seem to watch most of your video in the first 48 hours after you publish a video, that seems to help. Have good sound and video, give people something interesting, entertaining, or valuable to watch. Check your videos and see how much of each video people are watching. Is it at least half of the video? If not, make them shorter and more concise, or deliver better value.


    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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  6. Hi when I use this and search the word “keywords” I get three different results. The first two results show different tags. The first one shows stuff like “video, sharing, camera phone, video phone” while the second option actually shows tags that relate to the video. Is this a thing? Should I be looking at the second one?

    1. Hi Nick:

      The first tag that is a meta tag, that looks roughly the same on all videos. Ignore that one.

      The second and third instances are copies of one another. One looks like JSON. The other is markup, but the same keywords — these two are the actual tags for the video. These are both the same, but coded differently.

  7. Hey John- valuable tips, mate.
    Please I am struggling with one particular thing for my fresh new Movie Review channel (therefore it has less than 10 subs and 200 views). I have found some “good” compound keywords to use BUT the main single keywords (99%) for my niche are very competitive such as ‘movie’, ‘review’, ‘netflix’, ”, etc. are extremely common and rank most of the big channels. Do you think shall I use them anyways or skip them and use the specific/compound ones for this beginning? Thanks heaps and take care! Cheers, Marcos

    1. Hi Marcos:

      I would use compound-word phrases in your tags. Using the single words by themselves wouldn’t be how people would search for movie reviews. For example, “[movie name] movie review” and similar tags.


  8. Hi John,
    Was just doing some research on youtube keywords. I had a look at a popular video on a major, well-know broadcasters channel – did a view source and looked at their keywords. They’re obviously trying to rank for some of the celebrity names connected with their video but they’ve done it in a way I haven’t seen before where they’re running one name into another. For example, like this:

    “keywords”:[“Kanye”,”West Post”,”Malone Bono U2 Coldplay Chris”,”Martin Lewis”,”Capaldi Justin”,”Bieber


    Can you shed some light on why its been done like this? Maybe something really obvious, I’m a newbie to all this. So apologies if that’s the case 🙂


    1. Hello Nick:

      It could be they are just throwing random keywords in as tags. That doesn’t mean it has any effect (from what you’re saying, it probably doesn’t.) If this wee me, I would keep the keywords more in one topic. They may have success despite this keyword tagging, not because of it.


  9. Hi John,

    Love to see the valuable information you are providing in your articles as well as in the comments.

    I have a question that I am researching for some time to find a good niche for me to start a YouTube channel and find a niche it is in the gadgets industry, my question is would it help me to put word gadget or something related in the channel name?

    1. Hi Prayag:

      You can name your channel whatever you want, but I would make it something catchy and easy to remember. The bigger thing to focus on is making each video useful, and fitting into a larger collection of discussing technology and gadgets. YouTube looks for engagement on videos, and also likes videos that keep people on YouTube longer (so they can serve more ads). The first 48 hours of each video are important, as videos that get views, engagement, long watch time compared to videos of the same length, and videos that lead to a longer user session may be “pushed” more over the lifetime of the video.

      Engagement is adding a video to a playlist, sharing on social, thumbs up or down, leaving a comment. Channel subscribers are important too. They want to push channels that have an active audience, that publish regularly, and grow an audience, because this leads to users spending more time watching videos and spending more time on the platform.

      Things that seem to help with videos: eye-catching well-designed thumbnails, good audio (more important than 4k video quality), good editing, deliver value and give people what they came for.

      Wish you best of success with your new channel.

      – John

  10. Thanks for the tag idea. It really worked for me and I used this with all my video on YouTube. Now I am better satisfied with the Video…

    You are a great man. Keep providing useful articles.

  11. Hi John,

    1st off, thanks for this great info!
    Secondly, I run my channel as a record label for my various music projects, & have had material on there up to a half-dozen years now. I learned SEO principles a while back, picked up YouTube strategies, & have a decent idea of my target audience. When I set up my video tags originally, I tried the “right-click” method, but nothing about viewing sources showed up. Since I don’t have much video in my content (though hoping to increase that more), how can I best utilize the music path on YouTube?

    1. Hi Andrew:

      YouTube seems to push a video forever towards people who like similar videos, if it does well in the first 48 hours after upload. I would do whatever you can to hype up new video releases for a while before they drop. Get as many views and as much engagement as possible in those first two days. YouTube doesn’t seem to push videos as much if they fall flat in those first 48 hours.

      Many people release videos on a schedule. If you have an album dropping, consider dropping the main videos first, after hyping the release date and building anticipation – during a weekday in regular business hours seems to be best. Release the other tracks after that, perhaps every second or third day, and try to drive views and engagement.

      Last part I would say is focus on making high quality thumbnails that have good artwork, capture a cool frame from the video, or show the artist in a cool promotional shot. Having a good thumbnail can be the difference between people clicking and not clicking on a suggested video in their feed.


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