In this week's Creator's Tip, we want to show you how you can find the meta tags that a creator is using on any of their YouTube videos. Why is this information important? Well, there may be some specific search terms that you want your video to rank for but you are consistently being outranked by other content. A crucial component of video optimization involves research; discovering and confirming the tactics that others have used to optimize their content. Learning from others can really help in your own efforts especially for the more obvious features like titles and descriptions. Tags are also a ranking factor, but because they are now hidden, you'll need to do a little extra detective work to uncover them:

Are YouTube Meta Tags Still Important?

Back in August of 2012, YouTube decide to remove the tags section from the video watch page.

How to Find the Meta Tags for Any YouTube Video youtube tags

Keane from YouTube announced in a YouTube Help thread that they decided to remove the tags from showing up on the video watch page because some are abusing it.

Tags no longer appear on this page - this isn't a bug, but a change that went out this week. Having them on the watch page, in some cases, gave users an opportunity to abuse tags by copying them from other videos. We also didn't see much usage of tags by the average viewer.

But that doesn't mean that you should not tag your videos. YouTube will continue to use it for discovery and search purposes. Keane explained:

Though tags don't appear on the video page, anyone who uploads should keep adding them to your videos. Tags are still used to aid the discoverability of your videos like they have before, the only difference now is that they don't appear on the video page.

Finding The Hidden Tags For Any YouTube Video

There are two ways to discover the tags now hidden by YouTube for any video on the site (provided the creator/uploader used any tags in the first place of course. One is very simple and one is slightly more technical, but they both give you the same results:

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The Technical Way

  • Using your Chrome browser, just visit any watch page on YouTube, and right click to find the drop down menu.

How to Find the Meta Tags for Any YouTube Video youtube hidden tags chrome 750x360

  • Click on 'View Page Source'
  • Then, use your browser's 'Find Feature' - - and type in the word "keywords". This will bring up two instances on the page, the truncated and the longer version. Select the second, longer version.
  • This will give you access to the tags used on that particular video.

The Simple Version

Go to and install their free Chrome extension if you haven't already downloaded it. This extension will show up on any YouTube video watch page after you've installed it and will give you a lot of data about the video so it's worth installing for this kind of info at your fingertips

The tags for the video (if there are any) are listed at the bottom of the pop-up menu.

Meta Tags Are A Ranking Factor - But Not The Only One

Do not just copy and paste the tags from another video - you wouldn't do it with the title or the description and it's the same with this feature. There are a huge amount of ranking factors that YouTube take into consideration before returning your video for particular search result. Just using the tags that another creator has uploaded isn't going to make a great deal of difference if you haven't optimized elsewhere, and of course, if your video is boring, irrelevant or of poor quality and so attracts a consistently poor watch time metric, no amount of video seo is going to make you rank #1 in a highly competitive field. However, the use of tags is important so use the knowledge gleaned from other videos as part of your optimization strategy.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

  • Marsh Road Creative

    Thank you for the information.

  • Thomas Murphy

    Thank You! That was helpful how to find tags

  • marcus

    thanks man for your valuable informations. I follow your steb by step on youtube for a long time. I personanly use the jackpot keyword machine but the problem is it cost $25. By the way, do you thing youtube use subtitle transcript to rank the videos in 2015?

  • WordpressExamples

    Hi Tim, thanks, but how can I see the category of existing videos?

  • Linked Media Group, Inc.

    As usual, great insight and thank you for sharing.

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  • Rashmi Ranjan Bisoi

    thanks man, you are amazing i didn't know that chrome had an extension and can you tell me that how some of the youtube videos get top ranking even they have less subscribers, how do they do it, for example "funny vines"

  • Carl Hartman

    Well, maybe. Since YouTube isn't using the tags as its only factor for ranking, it is only part of it. I look at the tags in the top videos when doing optimization and found the tags used to be really useless in about 1/2 or more) of the cases and are mostly of little use.

    I get my videos to organically rank in the top search results for my clients in about 12-24 hours and while I choose keywords carefully, I am not depending on those top ranked videos as my source. In fact, we have about 14 different factors we use when getting videos to rank well.

    You have to be really careful. Since YouTube tracks your browser use and account, you will likely be getting a false read. Use tablets and other devices to do searches that are not logged into any accounts. Yes, double check at a library or other place too. You will get different results.

    I am more interested in the related videos on the right side. Those tell me a lot. However, I am not lifting my keywords from those related videos. I am more interested in the overall content of both videos, their descriptions and keywords; but, ONLY as a reference.

    Here is the problem with all the hype over ranking videos. People are under the illusion that you can use tricks, like the old SEO people used, to rank videos. And, while you might do that, you are likely to get caught by YouTube. There are no short cuts. Everyone wants a quick path to success and it just isn't there; at least not for long. Until you and your customer are sitting on the curb in digital handcuffs because you took the short route that cost them in the long run.

    It took us many years to develop multiple systems of getting traction with video on ANY platform. (YouTube should not be your only path to traction on-line). Understanding the psychology of how and why people watch or engage with content is more important. If you don't know how to structure quality content, your video will eventually die.

    There are many factors in understanding how to rank a video for longevity, which is what I want. I could probably write a book on that (actually, I do have a best selling book on digital marketing for creating effective foundations to create great content) but the actual mechanics are more than tagging keywords to content. I wish I could say more about the mechanics, but unless you have that quality content you are just spitting in the wind. Sure, video is hot, but it has been for 100 years. Images can evoke emotions that trigger a buying response. But, video is like foreplay. There is no shortcut to the climax. If you are using tricks you usually end up in a bitter divorce.

  • Michael Vera

    Should we be filling the maximum # of tags for every video?