Remodel Your Video SEO Strategy: Closed Captions and Transcripts

A button with the image of a rocket and "SEO," as if to say that adding closed captions and transcripts can rocket boost your video SEO strategy.
Closed captions and transcripts are a great way to boost your video SEO strategy.

If stunning and informative visual content were the only requirement for attracting viewers, you’d be all set.  However, this isn’t the case.  Getting people to watch your video means that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy needs to be just as good as your video content. In addition to video SEO basics, like adding keywords, meta tags and descriptions, closed captions and transcripts can further increase your viewership.


Boost Your Video SEO With Transcripts

Transcripts are documents containing all the spoken words in your video.  When uploading your video to popular platforms like YouTube or Google Video, there’s always an option to include the transcript.  This option is usually located under the “Add Captions/Subtitles” heading.

Transcripts and closed captions serve the same purposes: giving the hearing-impaired access to the video’s audio content and making your video more searchable.  However, there are some differences. Closed captions are time-synchronized with the video, and they appear at the bottom of the video when the words are being spoken.  Transcripts are separate text files containing all the spoken words, without any time information.

Since search engines can’t watch your video or hear the audio, including the transcript allows them to index and “read” your video content. A recent study showed that sites experienced a 16% increase in revenue after adding the transcript to their video’s web page.

Videos With Closed Captions Have Higher Google Rankings

Another way for your videos to climb up the search engine rankings is by using closed captions. Closed captions come in a text file that is readable by search engines, and makes your video searchable by people.

Search engines include closed captions when indexing your video, meaning that potential viewers can search for your video with words/phrases that don’t appear anywhere but within the captions.  Think of closed captions as extra SEO jetpacks that further boost your video’s searchability.

Closed Captions Make Videos More Engaging

Once you’ve attracted a viewer, you want them to watch your video to the end.  Google keeps track of how long visitors stay on your web page and penalize sites that have a high bounce rate (how quickly visitors leave your page) when it comes to search result rankings.

Closed captions make sure online users can watch your video under a variety of conditions. In cases where audio may be difficult to hear or otherwise inaccessible, viewers can still engage with the video content.  Many people also like to read subtitles while watching videos, since they provide a visual aid for improved comprehension.

For sites like YouTube, viewer watch-time is a critical factor for search engines when ranking your video. That being said, these video SEO techniques do not apply to open captions, since they are already in the video file’s code and cannot be read by search engines.

Easily Create New Content From Transcripts

The foundation of a good video SEO strategy is always quality content.  When you’ve finished transcribing your video, this content can be used to draw additional search traffic to your sites.

Your transcript can be repurposed into blog posts including the same keywords, which link back to your video’s web page.  Relevant statistics and information from the transcript can also be used to create infographics and targeted ad campaigns. If your video is a how-to guide, your content could be used to create an instructional guide.

The key to a good SEO strategy is to spread out your content on the Web and link these different pages back to other pages you have (blogs, YouTube pages, product catalogs, etc.).  This is useful for your site visitors and helps boost your ranking on Google’s search results.

Optimize User Experience (UX)

Search engines are actually beginning to factor in user experience when ranking sites.  When you make your video user-friendly with closed captions and transcripts, you are also opening up your video to a wider audience.

The purpose of SEO, after all, is to make your video more searchable for people, not just bots and search engine algorithms.   Those who are hard of hearing, clients, and your employees will all appreciate the addition of closed captioning and transcripts.  They can easily access the video content, and find important segments within the video footage.

At First Focus Productions, we are professional videographers who take your video’s viewing experience seriously.  We are dedicated to creating captivating video marketing material for your business that reflects the unique value of your operation.  If you wish to see examples of our exceptional work, check out our YouTube page. To give you an idea of what we do, here’s a video we made for Artie’s Delicatessen. Check it out!