Do you know how to write a YouTube description like a pro? Most creators don’t, but if you spend a little extra time on it, you’ll benefit from:
- Telling the algorithm exactly what your video is about (even Google agrees).
- Alert potential viewers what your video is all about.
You may get more views from just spending a bit of time on your description. And you can use some of the tips below (including one that automates some of the process) to start crafting descriptions that are worthy of being among the most viewed videos on YouTube.
How To Write a YouTube Description – 12 Best Practices
Your first few descriptions will take some time and effort to create as you go through our best practices list. But the more descriptions that you write, the better you’ll become.
1. Optimize Your First Few Sentences
You can make your description very long (more on that below), but will people read it? Not if it’s super long. Guess what? YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t want to parse your entire video description either.
Focus heavily on your description’s first three sentences.
- Adding your leading keyword in the first sentence.
- Reviewing your title to be sure the description has the title’s main keyword.
Creating a description with a heavy focus on the first three sentences can transform your video’s success because more people will click and watch it.
2. Be Thorough – Write 200+ Words
How long should your description be? Well, there’s a lot of debate for the “ideal” length of a video description, but we found that 200+ word count is the sweet spot. You want to provide a thorough enough of a description that:
- YouTube will easily know what the video is about.
- Potential viewers will know what the video is about.
For reference, the word count in this section of the article is 75 words.
3. Sprinkle in Keywords
Pleasing the YouTube algorithm should be a top priority for every creator. You want to do every little thing you can to get your video seen and gain an advantage over other creators. Your description can help.
Keywords are an important element of every description and should be sprinkled into your description.
Another neat trick that works very well is to go on YouTube or Google and start typing in your main topic of the video. Let’s say that your video is on green tea. You can type “green tea” into YouTube’s search, and you’ll see a long list of recommendations:
- Green tea
- Green tea benefits
- Green tea weight loss
- Green tea recipes
Don’t be afraid to add your main short keyword into the description a few times. However, do not spam your keywords because it can do more harm than good.
4. Be Original – Don’t Plagiarize
Plagiarism is lazy. You’ve spent an immense amount of time creating and editing your video. Don’t ruin your chance of success by plagiarizing your descriptions. You can avoid plagiarism by:
- Writing your own descriptions.
- Stop using AI or cheap writers who may plagiarize
If you do work with someone who makes your descriptions, be sure that you have a strict no-plagiarism policy in place.
5. Offer a Value Proposition or “Why” People Should Subscribe
Each video that you create is a sort of “billboard” for your channel. You want to create a very simple value proposition and tell people why they should subscribe to your channel. For example, you can write, “We’ve been brewing green tea for 200 years in my family. Subscribe to my channel for more great videos like the one you just watched and learn my family’s secret recipes.”
Your value prop should explain how the video will help the viewer and why they may want to watch more.
6. Be Human
If you write like a robot, people will assume that you used AI to write your description. Human writing should:
- Connect with the reader.
- Not just include a long list of keywords.
- Avoid spam at all costs.
After writing your description, read through it and ask yourself, “Does this sound real? Does this sound human?”
Sometimes, asking another person to read through the description is worth the time because they’ll alert you to issues in your text that you overlook.
7. Add a Call-to-Action + Links
Video descriptions grab the viewer’s attention, but what will they do next? You can add a call-to-action to your video that tells viewers the exact steps that they should take.
You should also add links to your other social media accounts or websites.
8. Fill in Your Default Video Upload Setting
Do you have links and other information that you want to include in all of your video descriptions? Updating your default upload settings can help save you time by adding all of this information automatically.
What kind of information can you add? Anything you want, but most YouTubers will use this feature to add:
- Merch links
- Affiliate links
- Links to other channels, social accounts, websites, etc.
- Company or brand description
Updating your default upload settings can help save you a lot of time when writing descriptions and ensure you keep a consistent format that your audience will look for when they view your videos.
9. Add a Few Hashtags
Hashtags can help your videos get found on YouTube. People may search for the tag, or your video may pop up as a recommendation on other videos with the same hashtags.
Adding a few hashtags to your description can help with your YouTube SEO, but don’t overdo it. You only need to add 2-3 tags to your description.
Once you have a few tags in mind for your video, you can add them to your description. All of your hashtags will appear in the description box, but the first three will also appear just above your video title. Another option is to add hashtags to the video title itself.
10. Add Timestamps to Make Your Videos Scannable
What’s one of the best things you can add to your description? Timestamps.
Timestamps will create chapters for your video. Chapters break your video down into relevant chunks, so viewers can skip to whatever part of the video they want to see.
If you create videos that are 10+ minutes, chapters will help improve engagement and keep viewers around for longer.
11. Keep Doing What’s Working
Some of your descriptions will help you get more views and subscribers than others. Use YouTube Analytics to see what’s working and not working for channel. Then, keep doing what’s working.
Maybe your videos with three hashtags, timestamps and three keywords perform best for your channel. You can try using this formula for every upcoming video and see if it continues to work for you.
12. Don’t Try to Hit the Description Limit – Really
A good rule of thumb is to write a description that’s thorough. You don’t need to go overboard and max out your description to achieve this goal. After all, YouTube’s limit is 5,000 characters – that’s a lot of words.
The truth is that your viewers aren’t going to want to read paragraphs of text. They want to watch your video.
So, aim to make your description as long as it needs to be to:
- Communicate what the video is all about
- What people need to know about the video
- Links to other relevant videos
- Other useful information
Most YouTubers find that 200 words is the sweet spot – which is exactly what we recommended earlier.
Use these best practices to write YouTube descriptions that help boost your rankings in the search, attract more subscribers and get people interested in your content. Remember that your description helps viewers understand what your content is all about and provides other important info they need to engage with your video and brand. Maximize this opportunity to grow your reach and channel.