Top 5 Video Content Tagging Do's and Don'ts


Modern media companies searching for organic and referral traffic are more reliant on tagging than ever before. Effective tagging is now the foundation of quality assurance for many search solutions & discovery algorithms.

As we know, third-party search/discovery and social distribution channels are driving more traffic than the majority of sources today. When you take the average of all the statistics floating about and factor in conjecture, that statement is proving to be accurate – and will continue to be for some time into the future.

If video content is the anchor for the onsite consumption and the lifeblood of premium monetization for the growing majority of websites, tagging is the backbone of content discovery/search and key for AI-based personalization and curation. However, AI solutions are only as good as the raw material you provide it, and this is where the human touch is essential.

In this regard, without proper and consistent tagging, your team (not to mention end-users) will never be able to find the right content when they go looking for it.

Tagging may remind some of SEO, but the old-fashioned tricks in the early 2000’s do not apply. i.e. Adding hundreds of tags for individual posts that may not have anything to do with them. It is important to be detailed but also to be concise. Users and search engines will both react negatively to irrelevant content.

In considering what is essential for video content tagging, here are five tagging do’s and don’ts to help in the tagging process.


Ensure your tags are useful

Good content keeps people watching, but the right metadata is what entices people to watch in the first place. When approaching tags, think of information that is not in the title or description that relates to your content. Proper nouns (People, Places, Brands, Events, etc.) and words that do not appear in the title or description that reflect the content are the most useful.

In the example below there are some tags (highlighted) that may appear obvious but are not in the title and description. Without these tags, the user may not find the video in a simple search for ‘vegetarian dip’ in your library, or the video may be excluded from a dynamic vegetarian playlist you are building for your website.


Ensure your video tags are useful

Plan beyond the individual video

No one knows your content, and its value, better than you. Quality metadata helps convey this value, and a strong plan will help keep your offering consistent. It is unnecessary to plan every single tag, especially if you cover current affairs or other constantly evolving topics. However, creating a taxonomy that links your content, grouping series, and styles, is vital for making sure it keeps its value. Establish a standard format, keep a glossary and then update it.

In the example below ‘Summer Cooking with Chef Jones’ appears as a tag in each video in the series, which makes for more efficient searching, sorting and grouping of content. It can encourage longer viewing sessions and time on site with a series playlist for example. Without this tag, it makes it more challenging to auto-create that playlist.

Plan beyond the individual video

Consider other use cases

When licensing your content, tagging can ensure the different topics and subtleties of your content travel with it. This covers the grey area between a very general category and the specifics of title and description. Although the video may be tagged sufficiently for your website, considering how it may appear in a search off your website will encourage you to add some salient tags.

In the example below, you may be running a Mexican culture website, meaning it would be logical for you to tag ‘Making the Perfect Guac’ as 'Food'. However including the tag ‘Mexican Cooking’ will ensure your video is more likely to surface for everyone searching for it on any possible platform.

Consider other use cases

Add categories to tags

Categories are different for each website, and there is no guarantee that a website you will be distributing your content to will categorize your content in the same way. It doesn’t hurt to include your content category in the list of tags to make sure this categorization gets the most use. The same approach is useful for any information you have for a video beyond the title and description. This will ensure the work you’ve already done helps those choosing your content without relying on the specifics of a certain database or site.

In the example below, ‘Recipe’ is added as a tag. Some websites may not have a “recipe” category, opting instead for the more general “food.” Simply adding this increases the video’s potential to be found and added to a relevant playlist.

Add categories to video tags

Stay relevant with the tags you use

Tagging is fantastic for ensuring the knowledge you have of your content travels with it. However, the way people classify and refer to content is evolving all the time. Therefore it is important to consider how content is being categorized on the wider web. Terms like “fails” and “hacks” originated online and are now entire content industries. Some content creators tend to angle towards purely informational tagging, or even tagging that would make more sense in a traditional broadcast context. Including tags that reflect how a savvy web audience refer to your content will give you an edge.

In the example below, ‘Quick Recipe’ and ‘Hands & Pans’ have been added as tags relevant to how people may search for this type of content today.

Stay relevant with the tags you use

What about best practice?

Below are some great examples of the video tagging best practice in action. These examples will help you to measure the quality of tags in your own video library, be they your own content or third party content you have licensed.

Provider Spotlight: Aljazeera

Provider Spotlight: Bloomberg

Provider Spotlight: Wibbitz

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