Google ‘Key Moments’ YouTube Video Timestamp Desktop Test

By Brodie Clark

February 2, 2021
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google key moments youtube timestamps on desktop copy

A topic I’ve regularly shared information on over the past year relates to video timestamps in Google Search. My first post was published in November of 2019, with more updates added several months later.

This feature would mostly trigger only when timestamps were added to the description of a YouTube video. But has since grown a mind of its own, where timestamps aren’t always necessary to trigger.

In the latest test I’m seeing, the treatment is now showing on desktop search results. Previously being a mobile-only feature, the feature being triggered on desktop really draws attention to the videos with the treatment.

This is especially true for some videos that rank in the top position on desktop, where the top ranking video becomes significantly larger than the others. Here’s what this can now look like with the desktop test:

video timestamps more prominence on desktop google search

When Key Moments first launched, we would only ever see the timestamp treatment display for the top ranking video within a carousel. This soon expanded to all videos that are visible within a carousel.

And this isn’t the only expansion I’ve seen since launch, with several other mobile-focused experiments. Such as showing for standalone YouTube videos (without a carousel), and examples with links to individual questions.

Personally, I think it makes sense for Google to roll this feature out to desktop search results, with the timestamps actually feeling more useable on desktop. As with a lot of Google tests in recent years, they start with mobile and move to desktop – often 1-2 years after the mobile launch.

Again, this feature is often automatically generated by Google. Like other aspects of Search, if you don’t add useful timestamps to the description of your YouTube videos – Google might have a go at doing it for you. But beware, results can be hit and miss.

google key moments example timestamps on youtube videos desktop

Update March 4th:

This test looks to have rolled out for all users now. Instead of just showing on mobile devices, Key Moments now has the ability to show on desktop also.

Update March 22nd:

Google appears to have expanded this rollout to standalone YouTube videos (when not in a carousel). I linked to a tweet earlier in this post where I spotted this test in Jan 2021, but looks to be showing for all users now.

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