Metadata determines the ranking of a video in search results
The term ‘metadata’ is associated with every single video on YouTube. For someone to see firsthand the content of a video, they must watch it. When they watch a video, YouTube suggests a number of other videos to them on the watch-page. After being done with the current video, the viewer may choose another video to watch. In this case they rely on a few factors, like the title and the thumbnail of a video. They choose the one which interests them the most, upon taking a look at the titles or the thumbnails or both. These two aspects (title and thumbnail) are parts of the metadata of a video. There are two other aspects of a video which are not seen when the viewer takes a glimpse on the suggested videos: description and tags.
Details of metadata of a YouTube video
So these four aspects of a video form its ‘metadata’. In other words, the metadata of a video has four parts: title, description, tags and thumbnail. Ideally, the description text of a video should be able to properly describe the video itself. It shouldn’t contain anything irrelevant to the video. Some YouTubers put the links of their social media pages or websites in the description box, some even use the same paragraph(s) for all their videos to describe their company’s status, activities and the purpose or vision of their YouTube channel.
Although these are not extreme violations of YouTube’s community guidelines, but these must not be done only to game YouTube’s search algorithm, i.e. to get more views or to increase traffic artificially. Now about the thumbnail. It’s a pic that should briefly represent the video as a whole, once the viewer takes a look at this. The last part is ‘tags’. The tags of a video are a bunch of keywords or phrases which are closely related to the video. Once a viewer runs a search with any of these keywords, they should (ideally) be able to find that particular video.
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Metadata can lead to account terminations when misleading
Sometimes the metadata of a video is so designed as to deceive YouTube’s search algorithm, or to place the video higher in search rank improperly. Then this sort of metadata is considered misleading. Deceptive practice done on any one or more of the four parts of metadata makes the video ‘misleading’ as a whole.
As we know metadata of a video consists of four parts: title, description, tags and thumbnail. Now as a YouTuber you should make sure that the title properly describes the video. If the title doesn’t properly represent the video and it was designed only to game YouTube’s search algorithm, i.e. only to increase views artificially, then surely it is a violation of community guidelines. Because the primary purpose of such doing was to introduce/present a wrong video to the YouTube’s viewers’ community. This sort of scam is called ‘Artificial Traffic Spam’. The same thing is true for description part of the video.
Misleading metadata in the name of SEO
Some people put repetitive texts in the description of their video, like repeating the same word or sentence. They even put some text in the description box which has nothing to do with the video. That means these texts are no way connected/related with the video itself. They do it in the name of SEO (search engine optimization) in order to get more views than they actually deserve. Thus they deprive the innocent YouTubers of their rightful share of views. Putting the tags in the description box also helps to increase views artificially, that’s why this practice is forbidden by community guidelines.
Now about the tags of a video. Tags must be relevant to the video. Irrelevant tags may tend to increase views artificially. That’s why the practice of using such tags is not appreciated by the YouTube authority. If they find irrelevant tags in a single video, they may remove it. If they find this malpractice in all or many videos on your channel, they may simply choose to TERMINATE it.
A Fixed set of tags for all videos can lead to misleading metadata
Some YouTubers use a fixed set of tags for all their videos, this practice should be avoided. Since your videos vary from one to another in content, so the tags used for individual video should also vary. The practice of using the same set of tags for all your videos may render one or more tags of the set irrelevant to one or more videos of your channel and thus may violate community guidelines.
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The last part we are going to consider is ‘misleading thumbnail’. A thumbnail that does not properly represent the video, or one that is sexually explicit or provocative and it was chosen only to artificially increase views, will surely be considered ‘misleading’ by YouTube authority. They may choose not only to remove the thumbnail, but the whole video as well and place a ‘community strike’ on your channel, or simply to suspend it.
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Example of misleading metadata
Look at the following image:
The above image is being used as the thumbnail of a YouTube video. The text on the image means ‘8 islands that are mysterious and forbidding’. The title and the content of the video depict this particular theme. Well, as you can see in the image, an island is situated on the back of a whale, which is never possible and never will be. This sort of thumbnail is being used only to deceive the audience and have more views than the video deserves.