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YouTube Timestamps: the full 2021 Guide to optimize them

You want to add good YouTube Timestamps on your video ? Here's a guide on how to optimize them and increase video engagement.

Jean-Marc
May 31, 2021

You might already be familiar with the timestamps used in YouTube comments to provide video highlights.

Since 2020, YouTube has added this timestamp feature on its video player, now displaying “video chapters”. Users can thus quickly jump to the section of their choice within the video.

As a result, you need more than ever to optimize these timestamp elements. They will help you improve the playback time and engagement rate of your YouTube videos, not to mention the obvious SEO impact. Here’s how you can do that.

Why add Timestamp to your YouTube Videos ?

As they will display on YouTube video player and Google search results, timestamps have become an essential way to engage your audience. They allow them to skip a less interesting sequence, and directly watch the most relevant sequence for them.

By optimizing them properly, you maximize user engagement for your videos. In addition, by appearing on Google search results as a smart SERP, you improve your ranking on the queries that matter. In all, good timestamps on your video helps you to:

  • Improve performance in terms of views and traffic, by answering specific user queries on Google and YouTube searches
  • Increase engagement for your videos by providing
  • Boost the SEO of your videos and blogs if you embed your video on your posts

If you’re interested, here’s a complete guide to getting it right.

YouTube Chapters: how it works

Before time codes were displayed in the YouTube player, you could already add them in the description or in the commentary to highlight relevant video sequences. Now that YouTube is displaying video chapters, the process is the same: manually type in the timecodes in this format (which you can copy/paste and replace):

0:00 ______

1:00 ______

2:00 ______

3:00 ______

4:00 ______

5:00 ______

6:00 ______

If you have transcribed it correctly, the time codes will appear in blue. Your description will look like this:

YouTube Timestamps: the full 2021 Guide to optimize them


And the timestamp sequences will appear on the YouTube video player like this:

YouTube Timestamps: the full 2021 Guide to optimize them

How to optimize YouTube Timeline on your video ?

As you can see, users just need to navigate through the video timeline and click on the time sequence they are interested in. If you cut your video correctly and choose the right chapter titles, they can save them a lot of time. Furthermore, Google consider also this time description to rank your video. So to optimize this crucial elements, here are some tips:

  • Regarding timestamp number, the minimum accepted is 3, and at least 10 seconds long. Yet, even if you can cut your video into an unlimited number of sequences, you should limit yourself to a reasonable number. For example, one chapter every minute or two. This means about 6 sequences for a 10 minute video. This way, users won’t get lost in all your directions.
  • Choose chapter titles that speak to the user, with a word and an action verb, or a relevant question. For example, for a video tutorial “open the software”, “how to synchronize sound and video”. For Google, also consider mentioning keywords or frequent queries. If you’re lucky, your video will be displayed for these kinds of queries with your specific sequence.

With all this, you make viewers want to watch the video sequence they like and to like and comment if it meets their needs.

Can I translate YouTube Timestamp?

Yes, YouTube timestamps can be translated. To do so, you just have to activate the translation of your video into other languages in the YouTube Studio. You can then note a translation of your description, and thus translate your timestamps.

How to put timestamp in your YouTube link ?

You can also have YouTube URLs that redirect directly to the clip of your choice. To do this, simply add &t=xhx’mx”s at the end of the URL with x being the number of hours, x’ the number of minutes and x” the number of seconds. Something like that :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD9ihGIdjF4&t=30s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD9ihGIdjF4&t=1m30s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD9ihGIdjF4&t=1h30m30s

You can also use the embed feature to get the job done faster. To do this, click on “Share” below the video, then check the “Start at” box and note the time in this format 00:00:00.

YouTube Timestamps: the full 2021 Guide to optimize them

Timecode in the comments : how to do it

As a user, you can also indicate the highlights of a video by typing the same timestamp format in the comments:

YouTube Timestamps: the full 2021 Guide to optimize them

YouTube captions 3 times faster : Checksub

Want to improve the performance of your YouTube videos even more? Then quality captions are a must to make your video accessible to any audience. They allow you to :

  • Improve the visual impact of your message and brand.
  • Users will be more likely to pick up on your words, and therefore more likely to comment.
  • Translate your video for a foreign audience
  • Make your video accessible to a deaf and hard-of-hearing audience, an audience that is usually very present on YouTube.

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