How to Add YouTube Timestamp Links (YouTube Chapters Tutorial!)

YouTube Chapters allow you to add timestamp links in your video descriptions to specific time codes in your videos. But it’s not just a handy tool for viewers to navigate your videos easier. 

With a few little tweaks, you can easily add in optimized keywords that can also get those time codes ranking on YouTube and Google!

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So, if you’ve seen timestamps in a YouTube video description before, chances are you’re already aware that they allow viewers to jump to specific topics or sections within your video at the click of a button… But did you know those timestamps are also indexed by Google and presented in Google search results?

This provides an awesome opportunity to include specific keywords relating to the content at specific timecodes in your video, and potentially rank those timecodes on Google.

In this complete tutorial, we’ll show you how to add YouTube chapters and the key things to keep in mind to maximize your video SEO while doing it!

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Let’s get started. 

Where Are Youtube Timestamps Shown

There are a few different places timestamps can be used on both YouTube and Google: 

  1. YouTube Video Description: A List of the different sections of your video, each with a linked timestamp or time code to where the sections start. 
  2. Inside Video Playback Bar: Sections along the playback or progress bar of your video, with the name of the section appearing when you hover over it. 
  3. Inside Google Search Results: If your video appears in search results and has timecodes, they will appear just below the video. 
YouTube timestamps showing up in Google search results

YouTube chapters timestamps can show up in both YouTube and Google

All of these allow the viewer to easily see what’s covered in the video before clicking it and jump to the section they want to watch. 

But timestamps also tell Google and YouTube what your content is about, so they can place it in front of the right people at the right time. 

How To Title Youtube Timestamps

Timestamps give you a huge opportunity. So don’t just give your chapters random names! 

Look at the content you’re covering, do some keyword research to find out what people are searching for in relation to your topic and use those keywords inside your chapter names. 

This can help get your content ranking overall, or even just for those specific chapters inside your video. 

Is It Worth Adding Youtube Timestamps?

We’ve been asked a lot of questions about YouTube chapter markers, such as: 

  • Is this a good thing?
  • Should I add them to my videos?
  • Is it going to help me increase watch time?
  • Is giving people the ability to jump around in my video going to hurt my watch time?
YouTube timestamps in the video description

Since we’ve been including YouTube chapter markers, our watch time has increased

We definitely understand the hesitation! If people are just watching a small piece of your video and then leaving, that could be cause for concern… 

But we’ve found that adding chapters to our videos has actually increased our watch time. 

Sure, we would have a percentage of people that just jump in, find a specific section of our video, watch that, and then leave. 

But at the same time, we also now have a clear index, which is easily visible for anyone watching our content. They can quickly find out whether our video is one that they want to watch based on the different topics we cover inside the video. 

This is great for viewer experience and engagement.

How To Add Timestamps In Youtube Videos

To add chapters to your video, open the video you want to add them to and press Edit Video. 

The Edit Video button underneath a YouTube video

Select Edit Video on the video you want to add YouTuber chapters shortcuts to 

This will open up the video in YouTube Studio. 

Go to the video description. We usually write a title e.g. ‘Timestamps’ but this isn’t required. 

Then type out the first timecode as 00:00. We copy and paste the title of the video in this section but it’s up to you what text you put here. 

After that, play through your video to find when the next section will start e.g. 01:35 and type in the name of that section. 

Continue through the entire video until you’ve entered as many sections as you need. 

Add timestamps to the description while editing in YouTube Studio

To create the YouTube timecode link, make sure you type 00:00 for the first chapter

Once you’re done, press Save and go to view your video. You’ll see the sections have been added along the progress bar and inside the video description. 

PRO TIP: These work exactly the same on mobile. 

YouTube Chapters Not Showing? 

Make sure you’ve got a minimum of three chapters and that they go for at least 10 seconds each. You also need the first timecode to start with 00:00. If you don’t, the timecodes won’t work. 

Now You Know How to Use YouTube Timestamps

That was our complete YouTube Video Chapters tutorial. We covered everything you need to know to be able to add linked timestamping to your videos. 

If you want to learn more about how to rank on YouTube, check our free YouTube Ranking Guide. You’ll learn the latest tools and strategies to rank your videos at the TOP of YouTube and Google search results.


Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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