How to Categorize YouTube Videos

How to Categorize YouTube Videos

Organize and Categorize YouTube Videos

Updated: 11/15/2017

Please note: The YouTube interface has changed a bit, and so the tutorial below may reflect the older desktop version. As time permits, this post is being updated to reflect those changes.

Video marketing is huge and it’s easy to see why. YouTube is a great way to achieve brand recognition by creating great content for which users are looking. Plus videos are free advertising for your business and great for SEO.

If you are new to YouTube, this post should help you understand how best to upload and organize your videos. You’ll learn how to categorize YouTube videos into playlists and sections.

If you’ve had a YouTube channel for awhile, you probably have noticed that YouTube has rolled out some changes over the past year or so. You may have noticed that your channel layout has changed, or the way to tag your videos has changed.

This post will hopefully address any questions you have about how to categorize YouTube videos. And if you are interested in learning more about the stages of video production, check out this helpful article about the entire process.

This post is divided into five topics and will show you:

1. How to Upload a Video to YouTube
2. How to Add or Change YouTube Video Tags and Settings
3. How to Categorize YouTube Videos into Playlists
4. How to Create a Section in YouTube
5. How to Create a Video Thumbnail

You can also find a link to our accompanying video tutorial at the end of this post.

Once you’ve set up your YouTube channel, it’s important that you organize your YouTube library. When you start uploading videos to YouTube, you’ll want to make sure they are tagged properly and put into playlists or sections for several reasons.

First, properly tagged videos will ensure your content gets found in YouTube searches and suggested videos. Second, visitors will be able to easily view your playlists and find additional content.

The easiest way to tag your videos is when you are uploading them to YouTube. You can also tag your videos through Video Manager by editing Info and Settings. Or through Video Manager by choosing More Actions > Tags and appending your new tags. We’ll look at how to use each of these methods in detail below.

1. How to Upload a Video to YouTube

As long as your video is saved in a supported file format, you can upload it using the following steps:

Upload Your Video

Once you are logged into your YouTube channel, follow these steps:

1. Click on the Upload button located in the upper right corner.

2. Hover your mouse over the large arrow until it turns red.

3. Choose your privacy settings. Public is the default.

Upload YouTube Video Screenshot

4. When the arrow turns red, click on it.

YouTube Upload Screen

5. Browse to find the file to upload and click on it. Or drag and drop the video files into the upload window:

List of Files in Browser Window

You can upload videos up to 15 minutes in length. If your video is longer than 15 minutes, you’ll have to increase your limit first.

Add a Description, Additional Tags, and a Message

Next, you should add a description, tags, and a message to your uploaded video. If desired, add the video to a playlist.

Upload and tagging YouTube video

Tag Your Videos

Adding tags to your video categorizes it and will help make it searchable in YouTube.

You can check out a short video tutorial by YouTube guru Derral Eves where he explains the types of tags you can add to your video. He also recommends adding each type of tag to your video in order to optimize your YouTube channel:

Types of Tags

    • Specific Tag: a one-word tag. For example: “WordPress”
    • Compound Tag: a tag with several words. For example: “WordPress Tips and Tricks”
    • Generic Tag: such as How To, or Tutorial. For example: “How to Turn Off WordPress Comments”
    • Misspelled Words Tag: which tags your video by commonly misspelled words. For example: “Wordpres”

Properly tagging your video will ensure that it gets optimal exposure as people search for your content.

2. How to Add or Change YouTube Video Tags and Settings

Sometimes it’s necessary to edit your video settings and information once you have uploaded a video. Maybe you want to add more tags, change a description, or add a message.

If you need to add or change tags to a video that has already been uploaded, or if you want to edit settings, follow this procedure:

Log into your account, and click on Video Manager located just above your channel image and follow the steps below:


1. Check the check box next to the video you want to update.

2. Click the EDIT dropdown.

3. Select Info and Settings:

YouTube Info & Settings Screen

3. Add or change the video tags or video info and settings as desired:

Add Tags to YouTube Video Screenshot

Another Way to Tag Your Videos

1. In the Video Manager, select a video by checking its check box.

2. Click Actions

3. Click More Actions

YouTube More Actions Screenshot

4. Choose Tags:

YouTube Select Tags Screenshot

5. Select Append and enter your tag:

YouTube Add Tag

Now your videos will be tagged and and more easily searchable in YouTube.

Next, we’ll look at step-by-step instructions that show how to categorize YouTube videos into playlists.

3. How to Categorize YouTube Videos into Playlists

By grouping your videos into categories of like topics, your YouTube channel will be organized and provide a better experience for your visitors. A simple way to categorize YouTube videos is through the use of playlists or sections. We’ll first talk about using playlists.

You can create a new playlist by following this procedure:

Create a New Playlist:

1. Log into your YouTube channel and click on Playlists
2. Click on + New Playlist
3. Add your playlist title
4. Choose privacy settings: Public, Unlisted, Private
5. Click Create

YouTube Playlist Screenshot

You can also create a new playlist from Video Manager once you have selected a video.

Log into your account and click on Video Manager located just above your channel image:


1. Check the check box next to the video you want to categorize:

2. Next click the Add To button at the top.

3. Select the desired playlist:

YouTube Playlist Screenshot

4. Or create a new playlist:

Create YouTube Playlist Screenshot

Simply enter your playlist title:

Add New YouTube Playlist Screenshot

Now your video will be streamed alongside videos of similar content. It will also appear in search results and suggested video results.

Next we’ll look at how to use sections and why you might want to add sections to your channel.

4. How to Add a Section on YouTube

Sections is a YouTube feature that lets you organize videos and playlists into groupings. Your channel can contain multiple sections. Sections can hold one or more related playlists, channels, and/or videos.

By using sections, you can control the layout format by choosing how you want your sections to display; for example, in a horizontal row or a vertical list. Or you may want to feature a trailer on your channel home page.

You can learn more about sections in YouTube’s online help.

1. To create a YouTube section, navigate to the Home tab of your channel.

YouTube Channel Home Screen

2. Next scroll down to the bottom, click Add a Section:

YouTube Add a Section

Note: You have to have browse view enabled on your YouTube Channel in order to add a section. This quick video tutorial explains how to enable that setting.


1. Click on the CONTENT drop down and choose the content type you want in the section; for example Videos, Playlists, or Channels

2. Click on LAYOUT and choose the desired layout format; for example, Horizontal Row or Vertical List.

3. Depending on the type of content you selected in step one, an additional selection box will appear; for example Playlist Selection.

Create YouTube Section Screenshot

Select the playlists, channels, or videos you want added to the section.

Now you have effectively grouped your content into well-defined sections on your channel.

5. How to Create a Video Thumbnail

Creating a video thumbnail is optional, but it’s a nice way to attract attention and get some brand recognition. Otherwise, you are limited to the 2 or 3 thumbnail snapshots that YouTube generates when you upload a video.You have no control over the type of thumbnail that YouTube creates.

Once your video has been uploaded, choose your thumbnail:

YouTube Custom Thumbnail Screenshot

Create a Custom Thumbnail

In order to create a custom thumbnail, you must first verify your account. Once verified and if you are in good standing, you’ll be able to upload your custom thumbnail. Your thumbnail image should be a JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG with a minimum width of 640 pixels.

It’s best practice to create your image under the 2MB limit with a 16:9 aspect ratio for best viewing.

Watch Our Video Tutorial:

In Summary

Hopefully this post has helped you learn how to effectively manage your YouTube channel by showing you how to tag your videos and categorize them into sections and playlists. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but once you’ve uploaded a few videos you will see how easy it is to keep your YouTube channel organized.

Have a question or comment? How do you keep your YouTube channel organized? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2013. It has been rewritten as a compilation of several YouTube posts and updated for accuracy.

Image credit: Fotolia

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