The Typography Taboo: Should You Italicize YouTube Video Titles for Better Rankings?

Cover Image for The Typography Taboo: Should You Italicize YouTube Video Titles for Better Rankings?
Taja Team
Taja Team


While everyone's obsessing over YouTube video titles jam-packed with keywords, a fascinating topic remains relatively unexplored: typography in titles. You read that right—how you format text in your video title, down to whether or not you use italics, can make a world of difference. This isn't the kind of advice you'd typically stumble upon, which makes it even more valuable.

The Subtle Power of Typography

When we think of YouTube SEO, most of us consider keyword stuffing, video length, and engagement rates. What most people ignore, however, is the role of typography in catching eyeballs and altering user behavior. Just like how a billboard uses bold letters to grab your attention, italicizing specific words can influence viewer behavior, though YouTube's platform limitations make this a creative challenge.

The Italicized Illusion

First things first: YouTube doesn't allow you to italicize text directly in video titles. But don't click away just yet! You can achieve a similar effect by inserting asterisks or other symbols around a keyword to make it stand out, like "Must Watch". The absence of actual italics makes this contrarian technique even more impactful.

The Symbolic Stand-in

So you can't italicize? Fine, but you can use similar eye-catching symbols like dashes, pipes, or colons to create a hierarchy in your title. For example, "Mind-Blowing Photography Tips: A Professional's Guide" uses the colon to introduce a secondary, supportive idea that’s still essential for SEO and audience targeting.

Make Them Pause, Make Them Click

Human eyes are drawn to anomalies. Asterisks, dashes, or even unconventional capitalization can make your title stand out in a sea of homogeneity. Though not exactly italics, these are "pauses" that might make a viewer think twice before scrolling past your video.

The 'Golden Ratio' of Symbol Usage

Now, here's the rub: these tactics can be as harmful as they are helpful. Overuse can result in a cluttered title that YouTube might flag as spam. Stick to a "Golden Ratio" of one symbol for every five to seven words to maintain readability and SEO-friendly practices.

A/B Test Your Titles

Taja's AI-powered tools can offer deep insights into how your audience interacts with your content. If you've never tried changing your typography before, now's the time to A/B test. Let data guide you on whether the symbolic stand-ins for italics or other formatting nuances genuinely influence your click-through rates and audience retention.

The Long Tail Advantage

Long-tail keywords, like "How to Shoot Portraits Like a Pro," already have a natural readability to them. Sprinkle in some typographical tricks, and you might find these long-tail keywords ranking even higher, because they offer both keyword richness and visual appeal.


Who would have thought that typography could play such a crucial role in your YouTube channel's growth? While we can't italicize in the traditional sense, there are plenty of creative ways to make text formatting work in your favor. Through deliberate use of symbols and wise choices around typography, you can catch your audience's eye and perhaps even game the algorithm for better rankings and higher organic reach.