COMPLETE YouTube video description tutorial + tips + template
Written by: Dexxter ClarkIn this article I’ll share with you video description examples, tips that nobody gives you (!), I answer what you can put in your description and I have a free template for you that you can download.
What is a video description?A video description is text under a YouTube video.
The YouTube video description can describe the contents of the video.
The creator can also share relevant information like links to other videos or websites, timestamps of chapters in a video or mention other YouTube channels with the @-sign.
Goal of the YouTube video descriptionSince YouTube tags are phased out, the emphasis on video title, description, thumbnail and speech in a YouTube video has increased.
That’s why it’s so surprising that a lot of YouTube creators keep whining about the YouTube algorithm and not use the video description.
The description helps the algorithm determine the topic of the video.
This is important to determine relevancy to other YouTube videos and a search query.
Although it won’t help you in ranking your videos (other metrics like watch time, CTR and AVD are more important for that), it helps you to be considered by the algorithm for the ranking.
The YouTube algorithm is Artificial Intelligence, you need to feed it data in order for it to learn.
It has to learn what your video is about.
You have 5000 characters to tell the algorithm exactly what your video is about, use it!
If you target certain search keywords for SEO (search engine optimization) for informational content, use those keywords to describe the video content in the video description.
If you are clear about the content of your video, you improve your chances of being found by YouTube search (or Google search for that matter), suggested by the suggested algorithm or suggested by YouTube home algorithm.
Why wouldn’t you want to stack the odds in your favor, especially when you are a beginner?
What do you write in a video description?In short, some suggestions:
- Tell what the video is about (including target keywords)
- links to your social media / website
- links to other (related) videos or playlists
- (affiliate) links to your products and discount codes
- table of contents with timestamps
- tell about the author
- tell about (the goal of) the YouTube channel
- Call To Actions
Above the foldThe first 2 lines of your description are “above the fold”.
Above the fold is used for YouTube search on desktop (pc or mac).
You have 2 sentences to convince viewers (“sell”) to watch your video instead of the others.
In order to “sell” your video to the viewer, make sure that you communicate clearly the value of the video to the viewer:
- What does the viewer get out of the video?
- What is the result of watching the video?
In other words: the perfect place to put your target keywords in different variations.
The text above the fold is always a bit of a puzzle.
The text “needs” to contain as many target keywords as possible, but also be human readable AND convince viewers to watch!
Below the fold
Describe video contentsI would continue to describe the contents of the video below the fold.
The more information you give the algorithm, the more information it has on the video.
Use human readable language.
Try to use as many target keywords as you can without keyword stuffing the text.
You can describe the same thing with synonyms words to target related keywords.
This tells the algorithm the context of the video.
Especially for keywords that are ambiguous, you need to supply some content for the algorithm.
For example, when you talk about a tree, do you mean the wooden pole outside with leaves, or do you mean the organizational structure?
You can use (parts of) your video script or outline of your video to describe the contents of the video.
For the sake of human readability I would put this outline completely on the bottom of your video description.
Refer to other videos in your descriptionOne of the most under utilized functions of the video description is the use of referrals to other videos.
If you want to show up in the suggested videos section, you can to establish a path of videos that viewers will follow.
The algorithm will learn from that path and will suggest it to other viewers as well, which in turn will increase the chances of more viewers viewing more than one video.
This is extremely good for your session watch time (in other words: more promotion).
I refer happily to other videos in the current video and video description for two reasons:
- people have to read the description where my products are, which they might buy.
- I always forget the video cards. But I can’t forget the links in the description because I write those in my video script
Table of contents in descriptionYou can put a table of contents with timestamps in the description of your YouTube video.
This way viewers can navigate through your video more easily.
You can just type a time, like 1:45 and YouTube will automatically convert it to a link and make chapters in the video progress bar.
I’m going into detail about timestamps in your youtube video description here.
A table of contents is optional, but I often use it, because … it describes the content of the video perfectly for the algorithm.
LinksYou can put links to your website in the description, but also (affiliate links).
Links to your social media and crowd funding platform.
FAQAnswer the most common asked questions in the description, especially when you have a commercial motive (wink).
For example, “what equipment do you use?”.
You can put affiliate links to the products in the video description.
DisclaimerApparently you are obligated to wave any responsibility when you are a US citizen.
For example if you use affiliate links.
As far as I understand, you have to declare the video a lie and the viewer a moron for believing you, otherwise you can get sued.
I’m not a legal professional, nor am I a US citizen, so I can’t say anything useful about this.
By the way: a little disclaimer.
This article is a lie and you are a … well, you get it.
Channel descriptionDescribe the content of your channel.
This helps the algorithm to determine the topic of your video.
It helps also a little bit with the relevance between videos.
But this is mainly to inform viewers about your channel content, so they might consider subscribing to your channel.
About the authorTell a little bit about yourself in a couple of sentences.
Just like with the channel description, this is mostly for the viewer, but it won’t hurt you in the algorithm.
Call to actionsYou can do another call to action to subscribe, or to buy your product, if you haven’t done so already.
Ask for engagement (like, leave a comment etc).
You could also ask viewer to participate in a raffle or any other lucrative happening to engage your viewers.
YouTube video description tips
Use text markup in your video descriptionRegretfully you can’t use bold, italic or stricken through text in your video description.
Weirdly enough, nobody talk about this.
But you can use all-capitals, emojis and dashes (-) to structure your video description.
This makes your text more readable for the viewer, especially if you tend to use the full 5000 characters of the YouTube video description.
If you refer to your website, use the globe emoji.
If you refer to a video, use the camera emoji.
If you can book a video call, use the telephone emoji.
Limitation breeds creativity.
Video description templateI want to make your life a little bit easier with a video description template or sample.
But you have to remember that there is no 1-size-fits-all template, you always need some customization.
i.e. If you refer heavily about other videos, don’t put it on the bottom of your video description.
I wouldn’t also put it at the top, if you sell a product, put your product at above your video links somewhere in the middle, viewers see the product when they search for the links in your description.
You can find the free video description template here.
Upload defaultsUse the upload defaults-setting in YouTube Studio.
Then you have kind-of a template, that you adjust on a video-to-video basis.
This is especially handy for standard links like social media, websites and other videos you want to promote.
HashtagsHashtags are search terms without spaces that are preceded with a hash -or pound sign (#).
You place hashtags in your YouTube description.
Since there is no use for the viewer to see the hashtags used in your description, and the algorithm always picking up on them, I would suggest using the hashtags completely at the bottom of your video description
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is video description on YouTube on PC?When you view a YouTube video you can view the video description of a video under a video.
Only the first 2 sentences are shown.
You can see the rest when the viewer clicks on: “see more”.
Those 2 sentences are called: “above the fold”, if you click “see more” you’ll see the rest “below the fold”.
When you search for a YouTube video, you can see the first 2 sentences as well, but the viewer can only read the whole description after clicking on the video.
The description isn’t shown for recommended videos, YouTube home or your channel homepage.
Where is the video description on YouTube in the mobile app?The video description is only visible on mobile when you click on a video and click on a tiny arrow down icon.
Where can you write a video description for YouTube videos?When you log in into YouTube Studio and go to the “videos” option in the menu on the left side, select a video (pencil icon).
In the screen where you can also find also the video title box, below the video title box is a big box where you can write your video description.
What is the character limit of a YouTube video description?5000 characters, use them wise to get better promotion in the YouTube algorithm.
The character counter on this website can help you to stay within the limits.
How can you use a website link in your video description?Just type in a link like you normally would, starting with “https://” in the video description in YouTube Studio.
For example, when I want to link to socialvideoplaza.com in the video description, I would type in: https://www.socialvideoplaza.com.
You will not notice a difference, but once the video appears on YouTube, the link is automatically converted to a clickable link for the viewer, without any additional action required from your side.
YouTube will “shorten” this link automatically for you, so don’t worry about using url-shorteners.
For example, this url: https://www.socialvideoplaza.com/en/articles/youtube-video-comment-timestamp-chapter
will become something like this: https://www.socialvideoplaza...
How can you mention another YouTube channel?In the video description box in YouTube Studio, type in the at-sign (@).
Now start typing the name of the YouTube channel.
YouTube will try to do an auto-complete with channel names, just like in the YouTube search box.
Select the channel name you want from the drop-down list.
If you are new to youtube, I suggest you read my complete youtube beginners guide here.
When you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my video training program: Viral Strategy.
The program takes you step-by-step through the process of getting views, subscribers and going viral.
For new creators I included a module that guides you step-by-step through the process of starting, creating and setting up a YouTube channel.