Posts Tagged: improve video SEO

Can closed captions and transcripts really improve your video SEO?

As competition ramps up, brands are looking for ways to build a rapport with their customers beyond making a sale.

So, businesses, both big and small, are turning to video content to position their brand, deliver value by talking about industry breakthroughs, and share behind-the-scenes updates for humanizing their brand. Why? Because video is a fantastic medium for storytelling and for instantly connecting with viewers.

As a result, this has led to a surge in video content online, with 63% of businesses (out of 311 unique respondents) turning to video marketing in 2017. Of the businesses who decided to ride this wave last year, 83% believe that video content is great for their ROI.

But how do consumers come across these videos?

Brands disperse video content pretty much everywhere – their website, on social media, and even on affiliate marketing channels. Video content producers (for instance, vloggers and web series producers) also take a similar approach while also optimizing their videos to be found through search results.

This is where video SEO comes in.

What is video SEO?

Search engine optimization or SEO ties up neatly with Google’s core mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” There are a number of factors that determine your Google rank, and keywords and content relevance, social media shares, the quality of links (both internal and backlinks), and readability.

Basically, makes it clear that authentic, high-quality, and relevant content have higher chances of ranking on the first page of Google rather than keyword-stuffed rip-offs.

Now, while video is a type of content, Google’s bots can’t watch the videos while crawling your website or YouTube channel.

Sounds troubling, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry though – you can still drive traffic and build brand awareness through your video content by carefully crafting a good video SEO strategy that includes integrating captions and transcripts in your videos.

How can closed captions improve video SEO?

Closed captions are the textual representation of your video narrative, integrated with the video file and synced to enhance the video-viewing experience. Closed captions, not subtitles, depict non-speech aspects of your video (for example background noise) and are mandatory according to accessibility laws. While the laws are unclear regarding closed captions for online videos, you should definitely consider including captions in your video content now to build authority on Google in the long term.

Here’s how closed captions can boost your video SEO:

  • First, closed captions link to an integrated text file in the video that Google’s bots can crawl to index and rank your video content. To make it easy for Google and your target audience to find you, pepper your video narrative, and consequently your closed captions, with keywords you want to rank for.
  • Did you know 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute? Include closed captions to ensure viewers don’t move on to the next video in their queue (possibly of your competitor’s and with captions!). Moreover, videos with captions are proven to reduce bounce rates and increase conversions by extending the time visitors spend on your website or social media landing page. (Session length on a landing page is a crucial ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.)
  • Closed captions improve your reach by being accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community – a demographic that would be alienated if your videos are published without captions.
  • Closed captions make content consumption easier for those without disabilities too. In fact, 80% of users who watch videos with captions do so because captions spell out the content accurately and because captioned videos can be watched in noise-sensitive environments (for example, during the commute or in a library). When users derive more benefit from your videos than from your competitors’, they’re bound to come back as well as link to your content more, thereby boosting your authority in your niche, which is an important ranking factor in search engines.

How do transcripts boost your video SEO?

Transcription is the process of converting speech in video and audio files into text: consider transcripts a text twin of your video content. Also, adding a transcript on your video page means that it can be easily crawled by Google’s bots and indexed according to content relevance.

Here are some SEO benefits of adding transcripts to your videos

  • Include relevant keywords in your transcripts to help Google’s bots index your content.
  • Viewers consider transcripts for online videos a value-add because transcripts make it easy to search topics discussed in the video. When you satisfy as well as fuel viewer curiosity, you’re likely to be considered an authority in your niche. This also means your content will be shared and linked to more than that of your competitors’! (Pro tip: Opt for non-verbatim rather than verbatim transcripts for your videos – these transcripts will become a great starting point for future blogs, whitepapers, or case studies.)
  • Like closed captions, transcripts make your videos accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Apart from the marked benefits of reaching a whole new demographic, you will be rewarded with brand loyalty for being inclusive.

Bottom line

According to a CISCO report, online video consumption will increase by a CAGR of 31% between 2016 and 2021. This means more brands will turn to video content to market products, build brand loyalty, and share industry knowledge. Stay ahead of the competition by integrating closed captions and transcripts in your videos now – remember, ranking on Google is a marathon rather than a sprint!