Some good news for YouTube publishers. You can now embed links in your YouTube videos using the annotations feature of YouTube. These hyperlinks may either point to your website’s homepage or to any other internal webpage of a site that is associated with your YouTube account or channel.

YouTube Video Annotations

Thus, if your YouTube video explains how to boil an egg, you can insert an annotation linking to your blog post where the steps are described in greater detail. Or if your video contains a news footage, the annotation may point to the text version of the new story hosted on your own website.

The links are clickable and work even if the YouTube video is embedded on to another website. Here are some YouTube videos where I have enabled URL annotations.

How to Add Links in your YouTube Videos

Before you can embed links in your YouTube videos, you need to associate your websites with your YouTube channel (in case you haven’t done it before).

Sign-in to your Google Webmasters account and click the site name that you would like to associate with YouTube. Then go to Configuration -> Associates -> Add New User and enter the email address that is associate with your YouTube channel. Now your website is linked to your YouTube account.

Associate Website with YouTube

Link your website(s) with your YouTube channel.

Next, go to youtube.com/verify and associate your phone number with your YouTube channel. Phone verification is essential for YouTube to enable extra features in your account which includes videos URL annotations and the ability to upload videos of unlimited length to YouTube.

Related: Add Logos to your YouTube Videos

Once the account is verified, open any of YouTube videos and click the “Annotations” link to create and edit annotations for that video. Here you’ll see a banner that says “Enable your account for external annotation links” – click the “Enable” button and you are all set to create annotations to external websites now.

While you are inside the Annotations edition, click the Add annotation button to create a new annotation and choose between Speech Bubbles, Notes, Spotlight or Label. Select the “Link” checkbox, choose “Associated Website” from the drop-down and paste the URL. Publish and you’re done.

YouTube Video - Lower Third

One more thing. While you can place annotations anywhere in the video player, it may be a good idea to avoid the lower third as the area is often used to display ads.

Also see: Best Chrome Extensions for YouTube