Optimizing YouTube Videos for Impact: Tags, Cards, and More!

When it comes to digital media, one of the most common questions we hear is, “How do I get more YouTube video views?” The obvious answer is to create compelling video that resonates with your audience. Elements such as storyline, length, production quality, and target audience all help achieve that resonance.

In addition to the product itself, there are several tactics you can use to customize your YouTube videos to get the biggest impact — including tags, cards, and end screens.

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Why Are YouTube Tags Necessary?

Tags are keywords or short phrases that tell viewers what your video is about. More importantly, tags tell YouTube what your video is about, which can increase organic ranking, help YouTube associate your video with other similar videos, and serve the appropriate video when users search for a particular term.

To best optimize your tags, lead with the most important keywords and mix in some long-form phrases whenever possible, such as “How do I… [what your video is about]”? Tags have a 500-character limit, which might seem long, but you should use that to your advantage. Try to use as many characters as you can to add more specificity and clarity.

You may think of using irrelevant keywords to get more views, but this could severely damage your organic rankings on Google and lead to issues on YouTube as well. Search for relevant keywords by looking at top-ranking videos directly competing with your video. YouTube hides those keywords, but there are tools (such as vidIQ) that can give you more insight into the keywords that will help your video rank higher.

Cards Are the New Annotations

Cards allow users to interact with your content while they watch. They replaced annotations, which didn’t work well on mobile, in 2017. When watching a YouTube video, Cards appear in the corner of the screen as a white bar with text at predetermined times. These Cards give the creator the ability to promote their channel or other relevant videos while the user is still watching the current video. Depending on your goals, there are several different card types to use.

Channel Cards

Channel cards give you the ability to link to other channels you would like to highlight for your viewers. Use this type of card to thank another channel for their contribution to your video or showcase another channel similar to your own.

Poll Cards

Engage with your viewers by introducing a poll. For example, if your video is promoting multiple products, you can share a poll prompting your viewers to vote on their favorite product. Poll cards allow you to include a title and five choices. After voting, viewers will be shown the breakdown of votes directly in the card.

Video or Playlist Cards

These cards allow users to link directly to another public YouTube video or playlist that might interest your viewers. You can also link to a specific time in that particular video. For instance, if you have a longer video that pertains to multiple topics but you want to share just one specific section, you can set a time that the video will start when the user clicks on the card. This card is best used to highlight similar videos within your channel.

Link Cards

Link cards create links directly to your website or other web properties that might interest your viewers. To use link cards, you must be in the YouTube Partner Program, which requires channels to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watched in the previous 12 months.

End Screens Keep Users Engaged

End screens are similar to cards but are more visual and occur at the end of your video. These screens get your viewers interested in other videos you have produced or highlight a specific playlist that might interest them. They can also be used to prompt viewers to subscribe to your channel.

End screens can be placed during the last five seconds of a video, but your video must be at least 25 seconds long to have an end screen. Within the end screen, you can have up to four elements that promote your videos, playlists, or channel. These elements show up as overlay images during the final seconds of the video and can link directly to other videos in your channel, a specific playlist, or simply a way to get viewers to subscribe to your channel. Viewers have the ability to expand the elements to show more information.

LaFleur Can Create, Optimize, and Manage Your YouTube Presence

At LaFleur, our marketing professionals have years of experience creating and optimizing YouTube videos — internally and for our clients. We follow the best practices outlined above (and many others) to get the most impact and engagement out of each YouTube video. We also develop a holistic approach in tandem with other marketing campaigns that will help you reach your marketing goals.

If you are interested in learning more about LaFleur and how we can help your YouTube presence, please contact us by call (888) 222-1512 or completing this brief form.


Zantal-Weiner, A. (2017, May 31). YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search. HubSpot. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/youtube-seo