What content strategy and technology will leading brands use in 2024?

The state of digital content 2024

Marketing technology

YouTube metadata: Locate, edit and use it to boost your search rankings

by Casey Schmidt  |  May 27, 2021

5 min. read
A video with data on it.

Did you know that metadata is both highly relevant and accessible in YouTube videos? As a matter of fact, there are ways to look at all sorts of interesting pieces of information about your favorite vids. There are plenty of different ways YouTube metadata can be helpful. This guide will give you all there is to know.

What is YouTube metadata?

YouTube metadata is information that is used to describe each video uploaded to the platform. Basic examples include things like title, channel name and date uploaded. More sophisticated YouTube metadata includes things such as geographic coordinates, camera make and frame rate.

Gaining a deeper understanding of YouTube metadata

YouTube metadata exists to help both uploaders and users learn valuable information about a video. This includes both in relation to the YouTube platform and the video file itself. For uploaders, or “creators” as they’re called on the platform, the metadata is a way for them to measure potential success and ensure that the way they’re addressing audiences makes sense in terms of the video they’ve made.

An illustration of a video with data underneath.

At a bare minimum, metadata both informs current viewers and signals to potential viewers details of the video. When we think of metadata, it usually pertains to hidden information that users have to dig up. Though this is often the case, YouTube metadata can be one of the most prevalent things on the platform, at least in its most basic form (titles, descriptions, etc.).

This very visible metadata ensures uploaders put effort into correctly describing their videos, and gives their audiences a chance to use metadata to preview what they’re going to watch or understand more about the video after viewing it.

Let’s go over how to find YouTube metadata in all its forms.

How to locate and view YouTube metadata

Let’s start with some of the accessible pieces of information attached visibly to each YouTube upload. When someone puts a video onto YouTube, the video file changes at the user’s discretion. For example, “Video.mp4” usually becomes “Family Reunion 2021.” This is the most visible form of metadata on any YouTube video file, since it’s meant for public viewing.

After that, other pieces of metadata are in the hands of the uploader as well, such as the description and the tags. To view the basic pieces of YouTube metadata, you’ll need to go no further than the intended video page. In the picture below, you’ll see an example of different metadata on a YouTube video.

A YouTube video with key elements boxed.

Boxed in green are visible metadata, things such as (from top to bottom): video length, date uploaded, uploader and description.

Of course, these are merely scratching the surface of available information about a video. To dig a bit deeper, right-click on the page anywhere next to the video screen. Select the “View Page Info” option.

The "View Page Info" option.


This will open a pop-up window, and under the “General” tab will be more pieces of metadata.

The General tab of YouTube.

Boxed in green in the above picture are some key metadata elements, including (from top to bottom): The web address, date modified (this pertains to the video file, not the date uploaded) and the keywords.

This gives you an easy way to peruse the common metadata types without any assistance. However, it’s not the easiest method. For those looking for an even less technical route, there is another way, and it involves using available technology.

Software tools that help this process

Because of the availability of YouTube metadata, not many people have developed a system to assist the process. However, there is one helpful tool I found that makes it easy.

The Mattw interface.


It’s called mattw.io, and it is a browser-based service that allows users to paste a YouTube video and view all the metadata in one place.

Editing metadata

Fortunately, editing YouTube metadata is very accessible without any special software tools. Of course, understand that this is different than editing video files. Control over a YouTube video’s metadata is reliant on the platform. If you’re watching a random YouTube video, you won’t be able to edit the metadata of it since you don’t have ownership of it.

The only users capable of editing the metadata are the original uploaders. In order to go about this, open a browser page to YouTube, sign in and then click your profile icon in the upper right. From the menu, select “your channel.”

The menu in YouTube profiles.

Next, click the “Manage Videos” button.

The "Manage Videos" button.

Locate the video you wish to edit and click the “details” tab.

The "Details" button.

In the resulting popup window, you’ll be able to edit your title and description, as well as a few other basic elements.

A description on a video.

Lastly, let’s check out the ways you can use metadata to boost your video rankings in YouTube search.

Using metadata to increase your video’s ranking

The content of your videos and the consistency of your uploading is usually the main driver of YouTube rankings, but metadata does have an impact as well. Again, there is no one, exact answer that can be counted on, but there are some sound principles to follow, similar to the principles we follow for video metadata.

A man searching for videos.

Remember that the audience is key. We mistakenly believe that our attempts should appeal to some type of algorithm, but the reality is that the algorithm is directly influenced by user behavior.

Therefore, make sure that your titles don’t mislead viewers, otherwise they’ll turn off your videos. Also, make your descriptions appeal to a human audience that will understand it and not be annoyed by a jamming in of keywords or misleading words. Finally, give your video a chance to be used in different search queries on Google. This can be done by making videos that answer questions someone might search for on Google.

Getting started

Knowing that the information is available to you is the first step. Now that you know, it’s time to take action. Look for videos you’ve always been curious about and discover more.