Not long ago, YouTube announced they would be launching associated website annotations.  The program has only been in pilot mode for the last few weeks, but now it's totally here.  Partners in good standing who declare their YouTube channels the official representation of their brand can now put annotations on their videos that will link directly to their website.  The opportunities presented by these annotations are huge, as your calls-to-action can lead viewers to your website, where you can sell your own stuff, offer exclusive content, and not be inhibited by the rules of YouTube.

How YouTube Associated Website Annotation Links Work

Here's a look at this annotation at work at the top of this ReelSEO video:

How to Link to your Website with Annotations

Those looking for instructions on how these annotations work should click here.  Essentially it's easy:

  1. YouTube Officially Launches Associated Website Link Annotations   Link Directly to Your Site SNP 2887285 en v0 200x171 First, you need to make sure that you've associated your website with your YouTube channel.  here's how to do that.
  2. Go to the annotations area in your video manager.
  3. Click on "add annotation" and then under "link", choose the category Associated Website.
  4. Put your associated domain link in the link area, save, publish, done.

With YouTube, you have certain rules you need to abide by and certain limitations to what you can do on the site itself.  Before, you could put a link to your website in the video description or on your channel page, but that method isn't really interactive and doesn't give the viewer a quick, easy link while it's fresh on their minds.  Many times, a video would tell you to look in the description below, but that could easily be forgotten or ignored.

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REMEMBER - Time Watched

But just like with the Merch Annotations, you'll want to do this in a clever way to keep people watching your videos, because YouTube measures "time watched" now as part of SEO.  So linking offsite is something in which users will need to be creative: find a way to get people to watch most or all the video, and still get people to click the link.

What these annotations have over the Merch Annotations is that you can link to your own website, where you might have all sorts of other kinds of merch you can sell that isn't approved by YouTube.  With Merch Annotations, you have to sell exactly your approved merchandise through the approved merchants.  Your website is your own thing that you can do whatever, you know, within the law.

So everyone rejoice, it's here!  You can now link within videos to do just about everything now: send people to other videos, send people to a featured video, send people to the merch store, and send people to your website.  This interactive video thing is awesome, and it increases the power of what you can do with YouTube videos.

  • Ray Lane

    Anyone know where the 'Associated Website' panel has gone now? It was under 'Associated Website' then it was under 'Advanced', now it's nowhere to be found?!?!?!?!

  • Wrong Guys

    Does anyone know how to do this without having the associate website open in a new window? We have an interactive series embedded on our site and we'd like to have the link load within the window, not create a new one. Go here to see what I'm talking about: (You can scroll towards the end to see the annotations or enjoy the whole video!)

  • Mark Robertson

    Hmm.... should be there

  • disqus_ekBTTCV1N9

    Any idea why "associated website" option doesn't appear in drop down even though URL is verified?

    • Mark Robertson

      have you also verified your domain association in Google webmaster tools and is it all marked "success" in youtube?

      • disqus_ekBTTCV1N9

        have you also verified your domain association in Google webmaster tools and is it all marked "success" in youtube?

        Yes and yes

  • Josh

    Has anyone had success with setting this up recently? I see a lot of comments from a couple of months ago, but no recent news on if this feature is active fore most users.

  • Joe

    Anyone have any luck with this lately? Sounds cool. I'm a partner, followed all the steps, even reverified, but the option doesn't come up on my drop down during annotations. Suggestions? Thanks for the info!

  • Barry Livingstone

    Great info and nice demo of the concept. Really liking your site.

  • Chad Ferguson @CatchCatfish

    I don't seem to have the option either, yet my website is associated. Is this a slow roll out or something? Anyone else still having issues?

    • Ronnie Bincer

      Reach out to me on G+ ( ) as I have a contact that is interested in more 'connected' accounts that are not currently working (i.e. your associated website feature is tagged as green/connected).

  • Jonathan Guzmán

    You think they'll allow sub-domain linking? It would be really useful feature for creators selling merchendise on a shopping cart system.

    • mrmarchuk

      I don't see why not. worse case scenario, you can always make a redirect script for the prodcuts

  • Ronnie Bincer

    Hey all you YouTubers here...
    I just heard back from my contact at YouTube... the Annotation Links are "Rolling Out" so there is no need to fret if yours is not quite working yet (mine is not yet).

  • Hilary Cook

    I've tried to do this, but it seems that you can only add your website as an associated webiste if you are a partner? Please help!

    • Mark Robertson

      that is correct, you have to be monetized (new partnership)...

  • mrmarchuk

    This. Is. Awesome.

    Finally, people that put time into videos can have an easy link back to their website...

    However, do you happen to know if the links on the videos will be crawl-able? or will this be strictly for traffic?

    • Ronnie Bincer

      pretty sure it is just for traffic... not much YT does passes any Google Juice on outside of their own website.

  • Scott Santos

    I think this is an awesome development. However, I have 2 questions on which I'm hoping to gain some insight. 1) Chris - you mention that there are certain rules and restrictions that YouTube is imposing on what can be done on the landing page / Associated Website. Do you have any idea what these rules and restrictions are? And 2) Is it possible to associate multiple YouTube channels with the same URL (i.e. utilize the same URL as the Associated Website for multiple channels)? Any help is appreciated - thanks!

    • Chris Atkinson

      Scott, the restrictions are the usual: don't link to anything that is not your website, you have to declare your YouTube channel the official representation of your brand. And then there are those community guidelines: far as linking multiple channels to one site, I don't have the official answer but I imagine if you make each channel the official representation of your brand, it can be done.

  • Señor Vega

    this is great!

  • Grant Crowell

    Also, this feature doesn't appear even if you have individual videos that are accepted for running YouTube advertising on. So while Google may may want to run advertisements on any of your popular YouTube videos, unless you're a YouTube partner they won't include this feature on that same individual basis. Or did I miss something?

    • Mark Robertson

      can you clarify your question Grant? Im not sure what you mean? Do you mean that this option wont show if you have monetization options turned on?

      • Grant Crowell

        That's correct, Mark Robertson. I have several videos with monetization options turned on, but no instance of this new weblink feature appearing. I'll test out further and see if I missed anything.

      • Grant Crowell

        Now I'm even listed as a "YouTube Partner" -- obviously not for my fine quality video content, but my sex appeal. (Which is why Mark still sends me roses every month.) Yet I still don't get the website link feature. (The question is, does it have to be you're "associated website?" Because if that's the case, then those people who don't have theirs listed may be missing out. Otherwise, it's not really "breaking news" as much as breaking wind.

  • MistyYoung

    Super cool! Valuable, meaningful content. Well done ReelSEO!

  • Ammon Ehrisman

    Not working for me either yet. (and my site is associated) If anyone figures out a way to get it working, please post here.

  • Gary Ploski

    I am thrilled by this announcement. Thank you, YouTube!

  • Mark Robertson

    @facebook-1240904983:disqus @twitter-46706601:disqus @google-435c6a57dc29891f66234428239b09eb:disqus @videoleadsonline:disqus Have you guys also set up the associated website within webmaster tools? It's odd to me that you dont see it. They did say in their bulletin that it was live.

    • Ronnie Bincer

      yes I've verified my site within webmaster tools.

      I've heard it may be wise to go to and reverify there via the SMS/mobile phone verification system, but have not done that yet.

  • Troy Olson

    THANK YOU YOUTUBE GODS! I have been waiting for this for years!

  • Jeremy Vest

    Not working for us yet. And yes everything is associated and says "Success"

    • Storyfarm

      Same here!

    • Bruce Lemieux

      Not working for me - don't have the 'associated website' option when adding an annotated link. Just went through the steps to become a partner and successfully verified site. This would be awesome if it worked.

  • Rich Owings

    I don't see it either, and yes, I've got my associated website setup.

  • Ronnie Bincer

    I sure would like to make it work for me now, but I guess I need to wait a bit... maybe because my YT channel is associated with my G+ Profile? Not sure why I'm not seeing it yet as I my Associated Website is 'approved'... per YT's Settings page.

    • Mark Robertson

      do you see the ability and it's just not linking or dont even have the option yet?

      • Ronnie Bincer

        Don't even have the option yet...

  • Ronnie Bincer

    Happy Happy Dance!!! ;-)

  • Mikel Zaremba

    Wow. Thanks for the update guys! This is huge!

  • Grant Crowell

    So here's the bigger question: Why not allow non-partners who've linked their Google+ Profiles and Pages to their YouTube accounts also have this feature? That should be the kind of incentive Google can provide for encouraging disclosure.

  • the Who

    not for everyone yet. just checked mine, did not see this option and i know i am in good standing. i am sure it will be there soon.

    • Mark Robertson

      do you already have your website associated properly?

      • tosolini

        Just an FYI Robert that this is still not rolled out to everybody. I re-associated my web site (with success), tried it on monetized and non monetized videos but this external linking option is not yet available to all.

    • tosolini

      Same here. Website associated, good standing, G+ profile linked, etc. Not yet available. Looking forward to it