Writing a video description for YouTube

Lewis Wake
Wednesday 1 July 2020

Video descriptions can be as valuable as a video title. A video description helps viewers, and YouTube’s algorithm, understand the content of a video.

Explain what the video is about in a short sentence

The first part of the video description should be a short introduction. This can be a single sentence describing what the content of the video is.

This should be the first part of the description as it will display alongside your video in search results on YouTube.

Give an overview of your video using natural language, not just a stream of keywords. This is the bare minimum of what should be included in a YouTube description.

Example video introduction description

For example, a video with the title, “How to build a rocket”, could have a video description like:

Dr Harold Bishop from the School of Bio-nuclear Poetry provides a practical experiment to children on how to build a rocket as part of the Junior Astronauts programme.

Include links

Don’t just leave a user hanging after they have watched a video. It is important to keep the journey going if you want a user to take action after they have finished watching.

Links help increase views, highlight collaborations, and grow your subscriber base.

If the video mentions or includes any web links in the actual footage, it would be best to include these links in the description.

All links must be prefixed by ‘http://’ or ‘https://’ for them to be clickable in YouTube.

Chapter timestamps

Chapters break up your video into sections, each with an individual preview. These chapters can help viewers by giving more info and context, and by allowing them to rewatch different parts of the video.

Chapters work best for videos that have distinct sections in them.

YouTube has recently updated timestamps to appear at the bottom of the video player. This is very helpful for videos over ten minutes in length.

If you add chapter timestamps, you should include at least three timestamps and titles in your list. The first timestamp must be marked as 0:00, and each chapter needs to be at least ten seconds in length.

Example chapter timestamp

0:00 How to build a rocket
2:31 How to launch a rocket
5:45 How to retrieve rocket from neighbours garden

Use hashtags

You can use related hashtags (#hashtag #example) in video descriptions to help viewers find your video when they search for a specific hashtag.

Hashtags in the video description are links that users can click on to go to that hashtag’s search results page to see more videos on that subject.

Ensure that you only use hashtags related to your video. For example, if you upload a review of a specific movie, do not add hashtags related to different or unrelated popular movies, actors or unrelated topics to falsely increase views.

Keep it simple though. YouTube will ignore all hashtags on a video if it has more than 15 hashtags.

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