Just in case you didn’t know, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Making it a magnet for educational and tutorial content, and for answering questions people are asking the internet.
Google of course, is the king of search. And if you do your YouTube titles, tags, descriptions right, you will discover just how much of a gold mine views from Google can be for your YouTube videos.
This very simple video on ‘How to Delete a YouTube Video’ has (at time of writing) over a quarter of a million views. Its part of an ever growing strategy that we've been working on over 2019:
Interestingly, this particular video has received over 90,000 views from external sources 60,000 views from Google Search directly. Just like topping the YouTube search rankings, topping the Google search rankings is prime internet real estate.
Google Key Moments: Helpful Timestamps for the Viewer
And so far Google has accommodated video either through video shelves, or through featured video snippets. But that's all about to change with an upgrade to Google search that's called ‘Key moments’. This feature works by identifying key anchor points on a video, and including them as links on the Google search page.
When Google returns a search result with Key Moments, it pops right out on the page. As well as being in the top of the video searches, the Key Moments creates an even bigger footprint, especially on mobile devices. I mean, basically, this is a search result you simply cannot ignore.
How to Activate Google Key Moments in Your YouTube Videos
So, now you know what Google Key Moments are, and potentially how powerful they could be, how do you get them to work for your YouTube videos? It's all to do with timestamps.
In your video description, or video comments, you can create time stamps by typing out hours, minutes and seconds separated by colon. As an example, we've added several time stamps to this video.
And, while they don't look any different here in the video manager page, to a viewer on a video watch page, they appear a blue clickable links. Which, when you click on them, take you to that timestamp in the video.
Now, timestamps as a YouTube feature are not new. They've been around for years, and video creators have been using them to chop up longer videos and also to provide an extra little bit of SEO in their video descriptions. But in the future, what Google search Key Moments are going to do is use those timestamps to create these chapters on the videos within Google Search.
So, if you haven't been using timestamps in the past, now is a perfect opportunity to start experimenting, because this could effectively be one of those land grab situations. Most videos don't have timestamps on them, so you have the opportunity to capitalize by adding timestamps to your videos now to potentially make them rank higher in Google Search and give you all of that prime internet real estate to get people to watch your content.
Especially for tutorial and educational video content, where people are asking questions and you are providing the exact answers they want.
How to Create Timestamps on a YouTube Video
To create a timestamp in a video description or a YouTube comment, type in seconds, minutes, and hours if required separated by colons to automatically create the timestamp link.
Take note of the time on the video
Type that exact time into the description box in the following format hour:minute:seconds such as 0:02:19 for 52 minutes and 19 seconds into the video
Leave a space after the time, and now type in a short description for that timestamp. For example, 0:02:19 - Key Moments in Google Search
Repeat this process, adding each timestamp and description to the description box
Save your changes
Make sure to put in some rich SEO text after it too. Remember that these are Key Moments and the potential viewer will want to know exactly what they are getting.
Benefits of Google Search Key Moments
There are huge benefits to Google Search Key moments. And let's be honest, it doesn't take that long to create timestamps. Think of it as if you're writing an essay and you're just adding subheadings to your main title.
But, as a new YouTube/Google feature, you probably have questions that I also have questions about and I don't know the answers. So, let's discuss. As of time of recording, Key Moments seems to be a mobile-only feature. I'm not sure if there are any hard rules about the set up of timestamps either. In Pat Flynn's video, the timestamps were way down the description. But the word "timestamp" was included, along with hyphens next to the supporting timestamp text. However, on the Creator Insider video that announced this feature, there was no such formality.
And a big question to YouTube would be, if I am going to take the time and effort to create these timestamps, are you going to give me bonus points and maybe push me up the search rankings in both YouTube and Google? I suspect not. But, adding those keywords into the timestamps is only going to help your video description and your video overall. So, you might as well start doing it. With that in mind, we here at vidIQ are going to start including timestamps in every single video that we publish, including this one. So, check them out in the video description and in the pinned comments.
Want To Get More Views on YouTube?
If you want to take your YouTube channel to the next level and get more views on YouTube then make sure to download vidIQ. Join over 1 million other users and use vidIQ to help you research YouTube, analyze videos, audit your own channel, and take actionable steps click here to install now!
Rob is our resident video guy. He started out on YouTube in 2012, building up a tech channel to over 100,000 subscribers and 30,000,000 views before joining the vidIQ team. Today he is hard at work sharing everything he has learned on the YouTube platform; educating video creators on how to grow their own channels and turn hobbies into careers - just like Rob did in 2017.