Is your company or brand on YouTube? If you’re serious about SEO, hopefully the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.” Optimizing videos for search engines is not anything new (it’s almost 2014, come on!), but doing so can still yield some great results in terms of getting your content out there and helping the public find your brand organically.
The tried and true tactics of optimizing titles, descriptions and tags to fit within your overarching keyword plan are a great jumping off point, but there are a number of other features that can help give your videos even more visibility as far as Google is concerned. One of the best is video transcriptions and captions, essentially adding a “closed captioning” feature to your content, and allowing both users and search engines to read along with the audio.
YouTube offers three different methods of transcription, each requiring varying degrees of work (and accuracy):
With Automatic Captions, YouTube can use speech recognition technology to automatically generate a video transcript. Depending on the quality of the audio, the accuracy can vary from video to video, so if you’re worried about users finding your content, put in the time to create your own accurate transcript file.
A well written Transcript file uses only the text of what is said in the video, and YouTube synchronizes it with what is showing on screen. A Caption file, on the other hand also includes detailed time codes for when each text line should display. While these routes do take more time, they provide the best results.
If you’re still not sure they’re for you, here are four reasons why you should be using transcripts right now:
1. Overall SEO Value
You might spend weeks putting together the actual content of your videos, but at the end of the day, if you don’t use captions, it’s the description, title and tags that are actually getting picked up on by Google. Adding a transcript file allows Google to read a textual representation of the spoken content, and because search engines can crawl transcripts, your search presence may be amplified.
2. Aligned Keyword Strategy
If you’re worried about SEO and working with YouTube, take advantage of some advanced planning and mention your target keywords in your videos. This way, when you add a transcript file, Google will note your keyword usage in more than just the description, title and tags.
3. Additional Content Source
Assuming you’re making videos as part of an integrated SEO program, transcripts can easily be re-purposed into blog posts, or even hosted on your site. There’s value in great content, especially if you’ve used target keywords and optimized it for SEO, so use what you’ve got!
4. Increased Engagement
When used in conjunction with other features, like annotations, captions really help users stay engaged with your content, keeping them watching longer, giving you higher rankings and maybe even getting that oh-so-sought-after Subscription.
Have you used transcripts before? Did you see any boosts to your rankings or engagement? Let us know in the comments.