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Links in YouTube Description – A Guide

Crafting a YouTube description and including links in the YouTube description for your latest video often can feel like an afterthought. You put so much work into planning, shooting, and editing your video; understandably, fine-tuning that description can almost feel like a nuisance. You want to get started promoting your video. We understand that.

But, getting that YouTube description right is super important. Done right, your YouTube description helps your video rank better in search engines (yay SEO) and hopefully get more people to watch your video. Getting the SEO optimization right is one of the critical enablers of receiving endless views and the subsequent passive income.

That is not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about the links in your YouTube descriptions.

Because those links in your YouTube description can be the single most powerful strategy for you to monetize your work. Of course, making great videos is most important. However, properly optimizing the links in your YouTube descriptions allows you to maximize the amount of revenue you earn from every single video you post.

Done right, you do this work once and then get to benefit from it for years to come.

Done wrong, your YouTube descriptions are like a leaky bucket that do nothing but leave money on the proverbial table.

So let’s do them right.

Here is why and how.

1. User experience is super important.

Don’t overdo it with your links in YouTube description, and be respectful of your viewers. With every link you include, the odds of people clicking on a specific link goes down. You know that saying, “When everything is important, nothing is.” That’s true for links too. Also, having worked with thousands of YouTubers, I can tell you that nothing is more frustrating than having to maintain hundreds or thousands of links.

So limit the number of links you include in your YouTube descriptions.

Take a look at this video description by our client Linus Tech Tips.

youtube descriptions linksIt contains two links, a short description, and ample disclosure of both an Intel sponsorship and the fact that these links are of the affiliate kind.

Now Linus Tech Tips is a legit super brand in their space, so SEO is likely less important to them. A smaller YouTuber might want to be a little bit more wordy and intentional with both their video title and description.

Having a standardized description makes it super easy to stay organized, and change broken links if necessary. Jeven Dovey does a great job explaining how building out a standardized format for your video descriptions and having that template can make adding, tweaking, and removing affiliate programs (and affiliate links) super easy in his video: Maximize Your PASSIVE INCOME on YouTube.

2. Put your highest-earning links first.

I got a surprise for you. That video above has a ton more links, which you’ll see when you expand the description.

links in youtube description

Woah.

There are a lot of links. And yet, I’d argue that it’s a pretty good user experience as essential links come first and are separated. All the other links are well organized and properly formatted. Of course, many of them are Genius Links, so commission-boosting superpowers are in full-force. I never said this game was fair.

Here is the main takeaway. Put your most important links, and place them at the very beginning of your description. Many people won’t press “show more,” so just take your one or two most important links and place them at the front of the line. They’ll thank you and keep thanking you with commissions for years to come.

3. Properly use affiliate links in YouTube descriptions

Rather than link to all of the gear you’re using to make your videos, link to a site like Kit.co where you showcase the equipment you use in your videos (and also easily earn affiliate commissions). By the way, if you’re not listing the gear that you use, you’re leaving money on the table. Also for full disclosure, Geniuslink bought Kit a couple of years ago. It was just too useful of a platform to be shut down.

Rather than link to many different storefronts, use an interstitial page (like a Geniuslink Choice Page) to allow your viewers to pick their storefront of choice. The Linus team could and maybe should be doing this as well. Rather than have separate links for Amazon and BestBuy, they could simply use one Geniuslink that opens an interstitial choice page, where consumers can then pick their storefront of choice.

Here is an example:

choice page links

You should also be respectful to your international fans. When they click on an affiliate link, and it goes to an Amazon store in a different country, well, you’re frustrating them and likely lowering your potential earnings. So take a look at your YouTube Analytics, see where your viewers are coming from, and link to a storefront in their country (Amazon now exists in 19 countries!). But please don’t do that by including a bunch of different links (remember, rule #1). Instead, use a global smart link tool like a Geni.us link, and have it automagically route people to the right product in their local storefront.

One last thing, whenever possible, use short links. Your real estate is limited. Save those extra characters for compelling copy.

4. Set-up monitoring for broken links

A broken link does no one any favors. One way to limit the number of broken links in your YouTube descriptions is to use fewer links. Check. We also recommend that you set-up some sort of monitoring (especially when you link to stores) to help you find any broken links. That has been hard to do with Amazon links on YouTube, but we heard that our friends at AMZ Watcher are working on a solution there. Stay tuned.

Oh, and of course, if you are using Geni.us links, our Link Health tool will automatically detect broken links and makes it easy to update them. It’s pretty magical, to be honest.

amazon link health

5. Get your disclosures right

When you’re linking to something that allows you to earn a commission, you need to disclose that. Every affiliate program has its own rules there, but we think this is just good old common courtesy. The FTC does too. There are many ways to do this, but we usually recommend being more transparent than not. One more thing, if you are using Choice Pages, then you’re able to include an affiliate disclosure message on there.

6. Include links in all your YouTube descriptions

A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with one of our YouTuber clients. That conversation partially inspired this post. Near the end of it, he said that he would be much more strategic about optimizing his YouTube descriptions moving forward. And while that was music to my large, increasingly hairy German ears, it’s not enough to just do this moving forward.

Why?

Because people are watching your old videos too, and if you aren’t taking care of the links in those YouTube descriptions, you are still leaving money on the table. We know that can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Trust us.

While we can’t do that work for you manually, our engineering team did develop a handy script that allows you to automatically turn all your old Amazon links into commission-boosting, user-friendly, trusted, globally aware, and properly monitored Geni.us links.

If you’re a customer, ping us, and one of our client success experts can get you up and earning.

If you’re not yet a customer, ping us, and one of our client success experts can get you up and earning.

Btw, we also love and often recommend the Find and Replace functionality TubeBuddy offers.

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