How To Use Hashtags On YouTube In 2021. Walkthrough + Recommendations

Earlier in 2021, I released a video called “YouTube Hashtags: How To Choose the Right Hash Tags for your videos“.

The reason I created that video is that the YouTube Creators Channel released a video where they said hashtag landing pages had been “rolled out to 100 percent”.

I thought, “YouTube is going in the direction of making hashtags more important“. So I made a video looking at the landing pages for hashtags and seeing how you could choose the right hash tags for your videos now.

Since then, I’ve done more digging and more research, and I’ve changed my thoughts about how I see hashtags on YouTube for small channels. You can watch the video update, “YouTube Hashtags 2021”, here.

The reason for the change is the priority that’s given to the hashtags on your video’s page.

Clickable Hashtags On YouTube Video Pages

You can see the high profile clickable hashtags get on YouTube video pages, which are effectively your pages.

Youtube hashtags on a 2021 video page, example.

It’s one thing to tag your video and hope to appear on the hashtag landing pages.

It’s another thing to have these clickable hashtags appear right under your video.

When people click on those, they go to pages that aren’t yours and aren’t going to feature your videos. But if you use phrases like this, “#hashtags”, “#youtubehashtags”, “#videohashtags”, those are basically exit links from your videos.

Those hashtags links are basically exit links from your video!

Those people that you’ve worked so hard to get to see your videos and increase your video view count and potentially your subscriber count you’re waving goodbye to if they click those links.

Now, that wouldn’t be so bad if you could get traffic from the hashtag landing pages. But my research has shown that it’s actually very hard to get traffic from the hashtag landing pages as they currently exist.

Let’s look at that and a bit more detail.

Getting Clicks From Hashtag Landing Pages

The first point to make is if you actually search for a hashtag on YouTube, you don’t go direct to what is the hashtag landing page. You come to one of these pages.

A hybrid landing page after a hashtag search.

I’ve typed in “#domainnames” and it says “including results for domain names“, the search as if it wasn’t a hashtag. And this has changed since a week ago. Now they include this hashtag icon, which would take you to the hashtag landing page, the actual hashtag page that they talk about.

So this is kind of a hybrid page in between YouTube search results and the actual hash tag page. And that cuts down traffic basically because people who use YouTube to search for hashtags aren’t immediately landing on the hashtag pages.

Yet the only way to go direct to a hashtag landing page is to click on a hashtag underneath a video.

This is the actual hashtag landing page for “#domainname”.

The actual YouTube hashtag landing page in 2021.

If you want to go to it direct, you go to…

But what’s interesting is how these pages show the content that’s on them. There’s the 617 videos from 445 channels. You would think that wouldn’t be very competitive.

Organizing Results On Hashtag Landing Pages

You would think that, by consensus, a hashtag is something that you want to know the most useful, relevant, up-to-date trending information for. That’s what we’ve been trained to use it for from Twitter. So you say, “oh, this hashtag is trending, that hashtags trending”. And if you search for a hashtag, it’s because you want to know what the most current results, the most trendy information is around that hashtag. You’d at least want videos from 2020, or 2021!

But these pages don’t yet seem to be organized that way.

If you look at this content you’ve got one year ago, one year ago, four years ago, six months ago.

The top results are either two or four years old.

The interesting thing is if you go to each of these pages…

Video 1 was put up in 2019. It’s nearly two years old. The interesting thing is that this is a verified member who has 111,000 subscribers.

Video 2 is from 2019. And again, you have the verified tick because the person has over 104,000 subscribers.

Video 3 is from 2016 and is actually by GoDaddy, again, a verified creator on YouTube. A four year old video and, they have 127,000 subscribers.

So you’ve got the top three are by people that have over 100,000 subscribers, and that’s only for a hashtag which has 445 channels that are produced, 617 videos. You wouldn’t think the competition is that intense, but it actually is.

And then the worst part is you say, “OK, maybe I can’t compete for the #domainname”. Once you go to something that’s less competitive than “domain name” that you think you could rank for, you seem to end up with almost no searches at all.

How Much Traffic From Long-Tail Hashtags?

Here’s an example. “Domain names explained”. Someone’s used it as a hashtag, but that video has nine views when it was put up 10 months ago.

A page with very little search traffic.

So the current structure of YouTube hashtag pages in 2021doesn’t really work for small content creators to get traction and to get views.

First of all, there’s the hybrid page in between if someone searches for a hashtag. Secondly, competitive hashtags seem to have content from multiple years ago created by verified creators, so it’s hard to get traction for those pages. If you go for less competitive pages there seems to be no traffic..

The flow of YouTube traffic for hashtag pages.

So that seems to be what’s going on with the hashtag pages at the moment. Maybe YouTube are going to roll the feature out more fully or they’re going to add to the hashtag pages, or organize them differently. Perhaps more recent content will get more of a boost, something like that.

Conclusions About YouTube’s Hashtags

But at the moment, it’s not quite useful enough to actually have the prominent links underneath the video that take people away from your pages.

And if you’re a popular channel, you really wouldn’t want people leaving by clicking on those links. You’d be better off either not having hashtags or having hashtags that you’ve created yourself to brand yourself on YouTube.

So those are my up-to-date thoughts about using hashtags on YouTube if you’re a small content creator. I don’t currently suggest using hashtags on YouTube in 2021.

Those three clickable links underneath your video will take traffic away that you worked hard to get to your videos, and also the payback I don’t think will be very good.

Obviously, you can test it if you wish, put in some hashtags, see if you get traffic from those hashtags and whether it’s worthwhile or not for you to potentially lose traffic to the links and your videos.

I’ll keep an eye on how hashtags are used at YouTube and if my perspective on hashtag changes, I’ll let you know.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed the video and got something useful out of it.

If you have leave a comment below.

Let me know you enjoyed it.

Leave a thumbs up.

Subscribe to the channel so you’re notified of future YouTube videos.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll talk to you again very soon. Check out more of my YouTube tips videos here.

Thanks for watching.

Neil Shearing

How To Get More YouTube Subscribers In 2021

Neil Shearing here from InternetSuccess with another YouTube tips video for you. Here’s a tip for linking to your YouTube channel to get more YouTube subscribers in 2021.

Now, I presume, you’re not just on YouTube. You’re also on places like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, your own blog and a million other places online. I expect you often link to your YouTube channel and say, “hey, check out my videos”. 🙂

There’s one small piece of code you can add to the end of the link, which will provide an auto prompt when people land on your channel that says, “do you want to subscribe”?

Using that tiny extra piece of code could easily gain you many more YouTube subscribers. It’s much more impactful than asking people to click a “subscribe” button at the end of your videos.

How The YouTube Subscription Prompt Works

So we’re on my blog here, And yes, I know it badly needs a makeover. I have that on my list of to do things! 🙂

There’s a link that says “Click this link to visit my YouTube channel with an auto prompt to subscribe if you’re on desktop”.

An auto-prompt link to get more YouTube subscribers in a blog post.

This only works on desktop. It doesn’t work on mobile. People who click the link on mobile just see a regular standard link to your YouTube channel. But if you’re on desktop and you click this link, this is what happens. A prompt appears which says, “Confirm channel subscription. Are you sure you want to subscribe to Neil Shearing? Cancel or Subscribe”.

Confirm channel subscription prompt at YouTube.

You can click “subscribe” or you click “cancel”. Either way then you’re on the channel and you can follow around and look at the videos.

What auto-prompt code do you need?

I can quickly show you. This is the URL of my YouTube channel…

Channel URL with additional sub_confirmation code added.

The additional code I added to the URL was…


If you don’t know your channel ID, you can visit your YouTube channel to see it in the address bar. If you’re logged into YouTube studio, you can click on your profile icon and then the channel ID will come up in the address bar.

All you do is highlight the address, click “control+C” (or “command+C) to copy it, then simply paste it in somewhere such as Notepad. Next, add at the end this piece of code…


Use the full URL around the Internet to link to your YouTube channel.

How The Auto-Prompt Increases YouTube Subscribers

People on desktop will see the auto prompt that says “would you like to subscribe”, which will increase the number of subscribers that you get for your channel. The auto prompt is more powerful than them just seeing your channel, having to find and click “subscribe” themselves.

You know, having the auto prompt is kind of like when you visit a website and after a while you’re thinking, “yeah, this content is good” and a pop-up appear saying, “Would you like to get our newsletter”, or something like that? And you think, “yeah, OK”!

People who click from your social media accounts or blog to visit your YouTube channel are already warmed up to you. Therefore, they’re more likely to click yes to a subscribe prompt than regular YouTube visitors.

The subscription prompt will mean you’ll get more YouTube subscribers in 2021.

I hope you liked this quick tip for YouTube. If you did, please leave a thumbs up, subscribe, share that kind of thing. Please check out the other blog posts on creating a glowing outline effect for YouTube thumbnails, how to increase audience retention and the Creator Academy.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll talk to you very soon.

Thanks for watching.

Neil Shearing

How To Create A “Glowing Outline Effect” For Free, Quickly. Better Thumbnails!

This post was most recently updated on February 9th, 2021

Hello, Neil Shearing here from InternetSuccess. In this video I’ll show you how to create a cool glowing outline thumbnail effect for YouTube videos. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates about new videos by clicking here.

Thumbnails are very important on YouTube. People often decide whether or not to watch a video based on the thumbnail alone! They ignore the text description next to the image! The content of your video is vitally important. Having good audience retention is an important metric at YouTube. Another important metric is “clickthrough rate” (CTR) from your thumbnail. A great thumbnail will have a high CTR, and a glowing effect makes your thumbnail “pop”!

In this video, what I want to do is show you a couple of thumbnails. There they are. What I want you to see basically is the difference in the picture of me.

Comparison thumbnails, before and after cool glowing thumbnail effect is added.

So I’ve got an image here, which is just a flat image, and I’ve changed it over here for a more dynamic image with a glowing outline thumbnail effect to it. And in this video, I want to show you how you can do that rapidly online for free. You don’t have to download anything, you don’t have to install anything and it won’t cost you anything. In the next couple of minutes we’ll just go rapidly through this and how you can do it for free.

So check it out.

OK, so I want to show you this tool, RemoveBG, I’ll show you another tool in a second, which I think does a better job, but anyway, I’ll show you this one first which is quicker as long as you’re happy with its limitations when it comes to downloading the image you’ve removed the background from.

So you got the choice of two. This one’s RemoveBG.

RemoveBG – A Free Online Background Removal Tool

RemoveBG, a quick, free online background removal tool.

What we need to do is upload an image and remove the background because whenever you take an image, if you want to cut out the background, you can either do that in Photoshop and take ages or pay someone to do it, or you can come to a tool like this and do it really quickly.

So just click on “upload image” and find the image that we want to use, which in my case is this one. Click to open the image and it uploads and removes the background, then you can compare it to the original with the background to see how good a job the actual software has done.

Okay, so there we go. It’s removed the background. See the original and comparison with removed background below.

Removal of the background from an image, leaving a transparent background.

No problem at all. I’m happy with that. It did a really good job of removing the background.

Unfortunately with this tool you can then download a preview image of only 666 by 375 pixels, or you can download the full image of 4624 by 2604 pixels, which is an awful lot bigger, an awful lot higher definition, but that will cost you credits.

So if you download the preview, it downloads instantly as a PNG file with the background removed. Perfect. If that’s the only size you want to use it’s done in a few seconds.

If you want to download the full image, it costs credit. I haven’t gone on to look at how much credits are because there’s another tool where you can download the full sized image for free after removing the background.

So let me show you that tool.

Adobe Express Online – A Free Photo Editing Tool

Photoshop express, an online background removal tool which requires you to have an account.

OK, so this tool is at If you don’t have an account, they will ask for some details such as your name, your email address, stuff like that. Sign up for free account. It just takes a few seconds. I think they may also get you to validate your email address, something like that.

So you come to this tool and click to open the file you want. Again we’ll go with the same file and if you want to, you can click to remove the background.

OK, so again, it’s done a really good job.

Unlike the other tool, though, there’s two different sides to this Photoshop tool. First of all, you can play around with things like doing touching up, which will allow you to do the basic Photoshop stuff. I’m not going to demonstrate here because I’m trying to keep this rapid, but I’m just showing you there’s a lot of other things you can do with this tool. For example, there’s Contrast, Desaturation, Aged and different colour effects, vivid, matte, black and white, vignette, plus artistic effects if you want to play with them such as oil paint, canvas, pop art, colourised and stylize.

The important thing, though, is that you can download the actual file where you’ve removed the background full size so you don’t have to worry about credits as you do with the other service. So just click the download and the dimensions are full sized… 4624 by 2604 you can download as a PNG file and that downloads without a problem.

So there you go.

You can run around quickly to RemoveBG with just a couple of clicks if you only want a small image, but if you want the full size image at RemoveBG, you would need to pay a credit.

Whereas with this Adobe Photoshop Express you can remove the background and download the full size image, almost exactly the same service but also there’s a bunch of other tools that you can play around with.

Adding the Glowing Effect In Canva

OK, so the other tool we need is Canva, which I’m sure you’ve heard of., a free graphics creation and editing tool.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to create a new design custom size and I’m going to use 1280 by 720. Then we bring in our uploaded image, and apply an effect.

So you click on effects, and what we want to apply is the duo tone.

If you don’t have duo tone installed or connected at your Canva, you will need to click on one of these different effects. It will say duo tone and you say to connect it and then you’re ready to go.

What you need to do is first of all, come to the image, click “control+C” and “control+V” to make a duplicate of the image and then come to duo tone, click on see all and choose a colour that you like.

This is going to be the blur effect colour that you’re going to use. I’m going to go with Amber. The next thing to do is to play around with increasing the size of the duplicate image slightly. Next, click to position that “backwards” so you’ve put the actual duo tone image behind the main image.

Click on adjust to adjust the blur effect to blur the background of the image.

The next thing you need to do is select both images. You click for the background image and then you click again and hold shift for the foreground image. You then click on group and it turns into one image.

Putting The New Glowing Image Into A Thumbnail At Canva

OK, so as you can see in Canva, I already have my thumbnail, because this is where I create my YouTube thumbnails. You would need to upload your thumbnail if it’s from your PC. I’m going to make a copy of this thumbnail to show you how I incorporate this glowy image.

The first thing I do is click to visit the glowing image select it, press “control+C” at the same time, come back to “home” and open up the new copy of the old thumbnail. Then delete the photo of me, which I’m going to replace by pressing “control+V” to paste into that image and then it’s just a matter of positioning it.

So like I said, I wanted to use just the top left hand corner, so I’m going to enlarge it, move my head into the corner, and then “position” the glowy outline image where I want it in the image composition by moving it “back” behind objects until it’s in the right place.

Positioning the new image within the old thumbnail visually, including layer adjustment.

That is how I replaced the flat photo image with this image, with the glowing outline thumbnail effect.

So that’s how you go from the thumbnail on the left to the thumbnail on the right

Please let me know in the video comments which one you prefer, which one you’re more likely to click on. If you like this one quick YouTube video, please leave a thumbs up, subscribe and share the video.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll talk to you again very soon.

Thanks for watching.

YouTube Audience Retention Tips 2021: More Watch Time!

This post was most recently updated on February 9th, 2021

Hello, Neil Shearing here from with another “One Quick YouTube Tip” video for you, this time about “Audience Retention” (AKA: Stop my audience running away!). Please subscribe to my channel to get notifications if you like this video. You’ll find more YouTube tips in a playlist on the channel. 🙂

In this video, I want to go through some of YouTube’s analytics to show you one of the woes a beginner producer and content creator can have and what we can do about it to try to improve the audience retention of your new videos on YouTube.

So let’s dive right in.

Example Of Falling Audience Retention

An example video I published has got 24 views so far. If we scroll down and have a look, the key moments for audience retention, show us one of the reasons why this video is doing pretty badly and not getting a lot of traffic.

There’s a massive viewer drop off in the first few seconds. So after 12 seconds, I’m down to 64 percent viewer retention. I don’t know, maybe that’s just my face that people don’t like or maybe I was asleep at the wheel when I recorded this intro or something like that.

But worse than that is the retention then drops from 71 percent down to 29 percent. So there is a massive drop. People start watching the video and then the number of viewers drops like a rock.

Audience retention drop

So why does it do that? Let’s do a bit of digging.

Locating the part of the video responsible for viewers leaving

I opened up the video and the time point at which it drops like a rock is from 45 seconds.

Locating the segment in the video responsible for viewers leaving.

I’ll get to forty five seconds on the video and play it for you.

I’ll save you. It’s boring!

That’s the problem.

People were being turned off because that part of the video was dull.

Don't have dull bits in your video!

From then they managed to retain pretty much through to the end of the video without a problem.

Don’t have dull bits in your video.

Using the YouTube editor to remove the boring part of the video

What you can do instead of having to edit the offending video, re-render it, upload it and create a new description which will have a new URL for a new video at YouTube, is you can just come into the editor. What you do is you move this pointer to the start of the piece that you want to cut out, then you click trim, then click split and then you move the pointer to the piece where you want the removed segment to finish.

When you’re happy, you click preview and you check that you’re happy that you’re cutting that piece out.

Once you’re happy with your edit, you click save, and then you have to click save again.

Using the YouTube editor to excise the dull part of the video.

I think it’s not possible to undo it. Once you’ve said you want to actually finish the save because YouTube will then slice that bit out of your video.

Update your video timestamps

After you’ve edited your video, it will be shorter. So if you’ve put timestamps in the description of the video, you’ll need to go and update those so that you don’t upset everybody who’s watching your video and clicking on the timestamps. The timestamps are very important because they result in the jumps in this part of the video where you’re seeing a spike for the audience retention.

Update your video timestamps after deleting part of your video.

That’s people clicking on the timestamps and starting to watch that little bit compared to other people that would just otherwise be a straight line.

So what I’ve done is I’ve looked at the analytics for the video. I found that there’s a steep drop off. I’m not happy with the drop off. I’ve cut out that bit from the video that can save you a lot of time compared to doing it inside your editing program on your raw file, cutting out the piece you’re not happy with, re-rendering the video and re-uploading to YouTube.

It would get a fresh URL and you’d have to do a new description in your thumbnail etc. You have to do all that extra work again. So using the editing tool that is in YouTube studio allows you to slice out the bit this dull and boring and then make sure you don’t do that dull and boring bit again in future videos!

Don't do the dull and boraing part again in future videos!

OK, I hope you enjoyed this one short tip for YouTube beginners.

Good luck with the rest of your video creation and marketing and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Hit the like button if you like the video.

Thumbs up, give it a subscribe if you like, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Thanks for watching.

How To Join The YouTube Creator Academy

This post was most recently updated on February 9th, 2021

Hello, Neil Shearing here from with another “Quick YouTube Tip” video for you, this time about joining the YouTube Creator Academy. Please subscribe to my channel to get notifications if you like this video. You’ll find more YouTube tips in a playlist on the channel. 🙂

In this video I want to talk to you about the YouTube creator academy.

Do you know what it is? Do you know how to find it? Have you been through it? Have you got your certificates from taking all the exams? 🙂

So basically, I was hanging around on YouTube looking for tips and tricks, as you do, to grow my views and grow my subscriber count. I have 162 subscribers, which isn’t many, but it is growing because there’s a plus sign next to the number of subscribers, and I’m focussing on that!

162 Youtube channel subscribers!

Although, I do like that “view time” and “watch time” are both greater than 999 percent increase! 😉

Like many of you I’ve gone through YouTube typing in inquiries like “how to improve thumbnails” “how to get more watch time”, “audience retention“, stuff like that, going through, listening to different YouTubers. You pick the ones you like and you watch their videos and they’re promoting tons of stuff to you. I can be overwhelming.

Then today, in the dashboard I saw, “ideas for you make your next production shine”. So you click on “Get Started” and it takes you to the “creator academy“.

I don’t know, maybe everyone else has heard of this. I hadn’t. So if I hadn’t, maybe you haven’t.

YouTube Creator Academy First Impressions

YouTube Creator Academy

It says, “Welcome, Neil, to the Creator Academy”, and you’ve got your community engagement toolkit (“take a look at these tips and tools to connect with your community, explore more”), and then they’ve got these recommended videos for you.

It’s not just videos, they’re organized into tutorials. So you’ve got “the basics” of four lessons, which is 90 minutes, then there are more basics of getting discovered with “your channel optimization” and “is your channel ready to earn money”?

Academy courses recommended for you.

Information In One Place

This is all quite ironic for me because I’ve had my channel since 2007! I’m finally doing stuff with it now, so I need to know the basics, and rather than jumping from YouTuber to YouTuber, taking some information from one and some information from another, and you get redundant information and then they’re trying to sell stuff, this “creator academy” is very useful in everything structured and organized.

So you’ve got here, “explore our courses”, “getting started”, “content strategy”, “production”, “channel optimization”, “business and money”, “policies” and “guidelines”.

Multiple Academy courses available.

You can go through all of those. You can click on “catalogue” and it shows you all the different courses that you can take. And there’s loads.

Get started with this if you haven’t done it already! And then as you go through, you watch the videos, you take a quiz, and then if you pass the quiz, you get a letter of completion and it says, ‘awarded to Neil Shearing for the completion of “during a shoot” February the 6th, 2021’, which is nice, is kind of like a little token that you’ve achieved something, kind of like gamification, that you’ve levelled up slightly on your step towards becoming a proficient YouTube creator.

Letter of course completion.

So I think that’s a really good idea on behalf of YouTube, and I’m going to be going through all of these step by step.

What Do You Think?

Let me know if you think there’s part of it that I should tackle first. If there’s part of it that you found really helpful, leave a comment on the video.

And so this “Quick Tip” video introduced you to the YouTube Creators Academy.

And while it is fun to learn from your other favourite YouTube, there’s a lot of them putting out great content and you can be inspired by their success, I would say this is a great place to get your foundations about how to start and grow and market your channel on YouTube.

So I hope you find this video useful.

If you did, please leave a thumbs up and subscribe.

Share it with your friends and I’ll talk to you very soon.

Thanks for watching.