Video content can be an excellent tool for marketers who seek to build their brand. Videos are more engaging than text since they add a visual element to the content. However, videos are not without their shortcomings. For example, it’s hard for people to immediately jump to a section of a video that’s relevant to them. The SEO community recently noticed a test where Google is adding timestamps to YouTube results to make it easier for users to find what they need.
When making a video for a traditional commercial, the content is so short that people don’t mind watching it all the way through. If a video is 30 seconds long, users will waste more time trying to reach a specific moment than it would take to watch the video entirely. However, with long-form content, getting people exactly where they need to be in the video can be extremely helpful.
Recently, Android experts noticed that Google had begun to include video bookmarks in the search results for “how-to” instructional videos on YouTube. These videos tend to be very long, so it would help people get the information they need if the search results took them to the spot in the video they need to see. If you asked a question that gets answered in step seven of a video, there’s no point in making the user watch steps one through six.
Members of the Android Police community first reported this video bookmarking feature. According to those who have seen it, the element appears in the Google app when searching for instructional how-to videos. The timestamps appear underneath the video thumbnail in Google search results. When users click on the result, it opens the video at the part that’s most relevant to the query.
The feature is likely at the earliest stage of testing, and it can’t be replicated by everyone. According to media reports, it’s believed that video timestamps in search results appear in the latest beta version of the Google app. It also seems that the timestamps are taken from the description on YouTube, so the content creator provides the information.
Though it seems like this feature would reduce the amount of time people spent watching videos on a YouTube channel, it may have the opposite effect. Without video bookmarking, users would need to watch the entire video to get the information they need. If someone sees the video is long and they aren’t going to hear the answer quickly, there’s a good chance they will stop the video and look for a better source. If search engine users know that they can click the results and expect to see the answer to their question soon, they will watch a video they would otherwise have skipped.
Whether this feature becomes a permanent edition or not is unknown. However, video content creators can apply the technique to their current video. If your video content answers questions that your audience is likely to search for include a timestamp with a relevant keyphrase in the description. Besides helping your videos SEO, it makes it easier for users to find what they need.
For more recent news about updates, changes, and tests at Google, read this article that discusses the early winners and losers from the June 2019 Core algorithm update.