YouTube is the second largest search engine worldwide and also the second-most visited website… After Google, of course! A whopping 73% of adults in the USA use YouTube, but needless to say, this is a popular platform around the world. It’s available in 80 different languages and has localized websites in more than 100 countries.
With over 2 billion logged-in users monthly, you can see why everyone, from individual content creators to corporations, uses and rely on YouTube to get their content out to millions, if not billions of people. Thanks to the platform’s popularity, creators, marketers, and businesses alike are always looking for ways to attract more users to view their content and deliver messages that resonate.
That’s where timestamps can come to play. But how exactly can timestamps help? Read on to find out!
What are Timestamps?
YouTube timestamps are ways to link specific moments in a video. Usually, users would bounce or navigate away from YouTube videos if they don’t find what they’re looking for.
But when you add timestamps, you’ll improve retention as you direct users to the most relevant parts of the video from the start. Since the majority of YouTube users would consume video content in shorter segments, this is very beneficial for long videos.
You can place a link to specific moments in a YouTube video or provide references in minutes and hours wherever necessary. It’s a guide to direct viewers to a particular part of a video, ideally what’s most relevant to the audience.
Timestamps don’t only improve the viewer experience, but they are also a fantastic video SEO hack as Google and YouTube reward the use of the feature!
YouTube videos will rank based on the audience’s watch time and retention. When users click on the timestamp, YouTube will actually log this in as two views, with the first being the initial click on the video and the second for the click to the timestamp. This is a significant bonus to help your video rank higher in search results.
Google now also supports timestamps. When timestamped videos are searched via Google, they will be reflected in the search engine results page results, with users directed to a specific part of the video. That way, visitors will find the information they’re looking for quickly, boosting the value you offer to users.
The Benefits of Timestamps on YouTube Videos
In a fast-paced world where people have shorter attention spans and less time in their hands, YouTube timestamps help save a lot of trouble. Think of timestamps as a key moment feature from Google, which uses YouTube timestamps to link video segments located in video descriptions.
These are the advantages YouTube timestamps offer:
Great for SEO
If you usually add timestamps to YouTube videos, you’re in the right direction. When adding timestamps, Google will place them underneath the video results so viewers can easily search for them and find the time they should skip to.
Your video will become discoverable on YouTube and easily discoverable through Google Search. Google and YouTube will reward you for the same video, so you have multiple opportunities to top search engine results pages. The more views you get, the higher it will rank in search results!
This “key moments” feature will make it simpler for people to search for relevant content in videos. Think about it – You’ve probably felt the frustration it takes to scour through an entire YouTube video looking for a part you need to watch! Cut the time and effort it takes doing so by adding timestamps. Users will be able to skip the “unnecessary” parts and get straight to the point.
You’ll give audiences a reason to watch your videos, enticing them and maintaining engagement with your content. It’s beneficial for users with limited time as they don’t need to watch an entire video to find the part they need to see, which is great for students, journalists, and researchers, among others.
You can even use timestamps to direct viewers towards essential sections, like tutorials, games, giveaways, and more! After all, who now has enough time to watch an entire YouTube video that’s hours long (unless it’s a fundamental lecture)?
It’s Easy to Add
You reap the two most important benefits YouTube creators need: Good SEO and enhanced user experience. Another significant benefit you’ll experience is how easy it is to add timestamps. Some people presume that adding timestamps is a tedious process, but there are easy ways to do so, and you’ll find immense advantages afterward.
All you need is a bit of time and to list the exact hours, minutes, or seconds you’d like to direct people to in the video. A small investment in time and effort when adding timestamps will pay off in the long run for you and your viewers.
How to Add Timestamps
Now that you know the benefits of timestamps, the next thing to know is how to actually add them. Here are three main methods to do so:
Appended to URLs
When using this method, you will add the timestamp code at the end of the video URL.
So, let’s say you have your video URL, which has a question mark. You’ll have to use “&t=” to indicate a timestamp. If your URL has no question mark, you’ll have to add the question mark, typing “?t=” to indicate a timestamp. Specify the time by seconds, minutes, or hours.
For example, you want to add a timestamp of 30 seconds into your video. That should be marked as “&t=30s” or “?t=30s”
If you want to create a timestamp on the 1 minute and 30-second mark, you’ll type “&t=1m30s” or “?t=1m30s”
For 2 hours, 1 minute, and 15 seconds, you will mark it as “&t=2hr1m15s” or “?t=2hr1m15s”
It’s that easy!
Use the YouTube Share Feature
You may add timestamps with YouTube’s embedded share tool. To do so, just open your video, navigating to the exact moment you’d like viewers to begin with. Stop the video and click the share icon on the site’s toolbar. Select the “start at” box in the share pop-up window, adjusting the time if required.
Afterward, copy the updated URL, or you can use the tool to share your timestamped video to your contacts or chosen platform.
Edit the Video Description
You just need to write the timestamps on your YouTube video’s description with this method. Open your video to find the exact moment you’d like viewers to start watching, then write the time into your description.
Make sure there’s a description, so when people read it, they know which time to click on to find the appropriate information. Also, separate the seconds, minutes, and hours using the colon.
This method is an excellent way to add “chapters” to videos, helping users navigate to parts they are most interested in.
You can also use other third-party apps and software. You’ll be able to add captions to videos while getting a timestamped transcript.
Wrapping It Up
YouTube has millions of active users every day, and whether you’re a content creator or a business, you’ll want to take advantage of YouTube’s reach. One way to do so is to post engaging and informative content with timestamps. Not only will this help increase SEO, but it also improves accessibility and user experience, which can lead to more subscribers and views.
You don’t even need to worry about the difficulty of adding timestamps. There are three easy ways to do it, or you can get assistance from third-party software.
Hopefully, we helped you learn more about the importance of timestamps on YouTube videos. Check out more we have to offer and learn more about topics like these here in our blog!