How to Harness YouTube Key Moments to Promote Your Videos

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promote videos with youtube key moments

Since Google first rolled them out in 2019, YouTube key moments have held an amazing potential for video creators to promote their content

For many popular topics, videos take top spots in Google results. Consequently, they get a lot of traffic. You might have noticed that many of these videos have key moments – which helps them rank this high.

YouTube key moments

But how exactly do key moments work on YouTube and in Google? Are they generated automatically – or do you have to add them? And most importantly: How can you harness them to promote your own videos? 

Here’s the stitch. 

timeline key moments icon

What Are YouTube Key Moments?

To start with, it’s easiest to think of key moments as the “highlights” of your video. They mark points in your timeline that deal with particular topics or respond to particular questions

Typically, key moments show up as timestamps and a title to describe that section in your video. 

In addition, key moments from videos sometimes appear in its “people also ask” section. If you can answer a common question well, this can drive even more traffic to your channel. 

As you’ll see in the image below, they might actually include the relevant bit of transcript.

On YouTube itself, key moments don’t appear in search results. However, they will show up in your video description, and, if you fulfill certain conditions, in your video’s progress bar.

youtube key moments can also appear in "People also ask" and "Related videos" on Google results
Key moments also appear in "People also ask" and "Related videos" in Google results.
YouTube key moments

How Do Key Moments Promote Your Video?

Key moments help your videos rank higher in search results, and thus drive traffic to your content. That’s because the extra info helps Google decide if your content is a good fit for certain searches. 

Likewise, YouTube key moments also make life easier for your viewers. In an instant, they can see whether your video can give them what they’re looking for. If so, a single click takes them directly to that point in the video.  

Because people know what they’re in for when they start watching your video, key moments make for better engagement scores. This means fewer downvotes and more shares, which YouTube’s algorithm rewards with higher rank in the site’s search and recommendations.

YouTube key moments

How to Add Your Own Key Moments

But how does Google find those key moments? 

Basically, there are two ways to getting those juicy timestamps. 

The first is to kick the ball into Google’s court. The search engine will try to automatically detect key moments in your video when you upload it, so that it can display them to users.

The downside: While this algorithm is constantly improving, it might fail or simply not present your video segments in the way you want it to

The second way is to manually set key moments. This tells Google exactly where and what the most important points in your video are. 

Doing this is actually pretty simple. You just have to include timestamps and key moment labels in your video description, formatted in a certain way.

YouTube key moments

Give the timestamp as [hour]:[minute]:[second], and specify the label in the same line. Then, hyperlink the timestamp to the specified point in the video. Key moments need to be given in chronological order – and each in a separate line.

To add chapters on the progress bar, you’ll also need to start with “0:00”, as in the example description above.

When choosing labels for your timestamps, keep the keywords you identified for YouTube SEO and your metadata in mind.

The Bottom Line

Overall, it’s worth taking the time and effort to add key moments to your videos

For one, they’ll help you rank higher in Google results. For another, they’ll improve the viewer experience, give your video metrics a lift, and make your videos more visible on YouTube itself.

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