Auto Chapters Now A Source Of Metadata For Search


YouTube is now using automatically generated chapters as a source of metadata in search. Previously only manually defined chapters were used when ranking search results.

This is an important update if you practice YouTube SEO because it has the potential to impact how your videos are ranked.

Here’s more about the update to YouTube search metadata, why it matters, and whether you need to take any action in response.

What’s Changing in YouTube Search?

YouTube is going to start using information from automatically generated video chapters to return content in search results.

This update is rolling out to the mobile version of YouTube.


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Previously, YouTube’s search algorithm used metadata from manually created chapters only.

Now, when a channel hasn’t set their own chapters, YouTube will look at what its systems identify as significant moments in a video.

Related: YouTube SEO for Beginners: 10 Best Practices to Get You Started

What Does This Mean For My Videos?

Marketers and video creators need to be aware of this update because it could make a difference to how videos are surfaced in YouTube’s search results.

Adding auto chapter metadata as a ranking signal is intended to be a helpful update, but machine learning isn’t perfect.


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It’s possible for YouTube to get it wrong and misinterpret what a section of a video is about.

The misinterpreted chapter could then affect which queries a video shows up for.

To prevent issues like that from happening you should keep a close eye on the chapters YouTube generates for your videos.

YouTube rolled out auto-generated chapters to all videos this past July, and channels are opted in by default.

If creating your own chapters is a regular part of your upload flow, then this update is of no concern. Manual chapters override YouTube’s automatic chapters.

Those who don’t define chapters for their videos, which is done by adding timestamps to the description area, should check to see what YouTube has been generating.

Any chapters that were generated incorrectly can be fixed by creating your own.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to bother with chapters at all, you can always opt out.

Related: Video SEO: 10 Steps to Optimizing Videos for Search and Discovery

Opting Out Of YouTube’s Automatic Chapters

YouTube gives creators the choice to opt out of auto chapters for individual videos or for a whole channel.

For a specific video, you can turn auto chapters off during the upload process.

To opt a whole channel out of auto chapters, visit the settings panel in YouTube Studio.

Once you’re there, navigate to Upload Defaults and then to Advanced Settings.


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From there you can toggle auto chapters on and off.

Source: Creator Insider

Featured Image: ya_blue_ko/Shutterstock

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