How to add timestamps to your YouTube videos

If you publish how-to’s, vLogs, podcasts, or other types of videos that have sections or chapters, adding timestamps helps users more efficiently access the portions of your video content that they’re most interested in.

Adding timestamps to your YouTube videos is great for user experience, but it’s now also great for SEO!

Earlier this year, I wrote about how Google was testing video timestamps in search results, but now it’s officially a thing.

If your video has timestamps, they may now be displayed in video search results, giving users more options and increasing the potential for not only views of your videos, but also new subscribers.

This is huge for those who want to leverage their YouTube channel for SEO.

Adding timestamps to your YouTube videos

YouTube won’t add timestamps automatically for you. You still need to do the legwork.

The good news is it’s quite easy to do.

Simply add your timestamps in your video’s description, as in this example from one of my videos:

0:15 – Setting up your canvas in Keynote
1:06 – Adding your assets
2:25 – Animating your assets
3:20 – Previewing your animations
3:51 – Exporting to video
4:35 – Tweaking your intro in iMovie
6:29 – Testing the final result

When displayed on your video page, it will automatically link to each timestamp for you:

youtube video description-timestamps example

Easy peasy.

Timestamps as featured snippets in search results

Not only can your timestamps appear in search, they can also be displayed as Featured Snippets.

To test this out, I did a search for ‘how to perform cpr’.

The first result was a Featured Snippet of a video with the recommended timestamp, giving me immediate access to exactly the video content I was searching for:

google search results video-timestamp sample screenshot

Sure beats skimming through one or more videos to find what I wanted!

The experience is made even slicker by selecting the timestamp, which opens the video in an overlay instead of going to the usual YouTube page:

google search featured snippet video fullscreen timestamp

Closing the overlay takes me right back to the search results, should I wish to look for another result.

So, yeah, go ahead and timestamp your videos.

Have fun!

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