Video SEO Series: 7 Key Benefits of Web Video Transcripts & Captions
Online consumption is changing much like the evolution of 20th century media: newspapers and magazines made room for radio, while film and eventually TV, came to captivate large audiences. Similarly, the internet isn’t simply text based anymore. Video makes up 40% of search results with the uses for it quite far-ranging: entertainment, news or instruction. Of course at 3Play Media we believe captions and transcripts are important to accessible web video, lowering the barriers to the deaf and hard of hearing. Furthermore, we have found online students are more engaged with video transcripts. Yet for video producers and distributors, there is another allure: SEO. Specifically, search engine optimization. Wishing to have their content found, either internally or for marketing purposes, creators need to adapt website SEO techniques for video and its growing popularity. The following article addresses some of the key video SEO benefits of transcripts and captions.
1. Transcripts and Captions Fuel Search Engines
Transcripts are a textual representation of the spoken content in video and audio. Because search engines crawl text, a transcript enables search engines to ingest your video content on a very deep level. By way of analogy, consider the SEO structure of a news article. It has a title, byline, and the body of text – all of which are indexed by search engines. A video also has a title and maybe a byline, but everything spoken is left out. The simplest way to fix this is by placing a transcript on your video web page which Google will crawl, amplifying your search presence. One study by Liveclicker compared 37 web pages pages before and after adding transcripts. Pages with transcripts earned on average 16% more revenue than they did before transcripts.
Captions are another way to get a SEO uplift. After being uploaded to YouTube, captions get indexed by Google and YouTube, boosting your search rankings with both search engines.
2. Video Content Boosts Overall SEO
For years, there has been a fight to get the first position in search engine results, but now online videos are pulled into what Google calls “blended results.” Video is weighted higher by Google because of the assumption that it is more time consuming to produce, post and curate. Thus a site without video has a hard time ranking over a competitor featuring numerous web videos, especially if they are amplified by transcripts.
3. Transcripts and Captions Increase Engagement
Studies show that transcripts increase engagement and that captions increase the completion rate of video from 40% to 80%. Engagement and user experience are particularly important because Google rewards videos and pages that have longer view times.
4. Paginated Transcripts Improve Off-Page SEO
By housing your long-form transcripts on separate pages you create opportunities to target additional keywords. Each transcript page should have its own SEO keyword strategy. Paginated transcripts also add to your overall site size and provide internal cross linking opportunities.
5. Transcripts Align Your SEO Keyword Strategy
Reviewing a transcript assists your SEO strategy when building each video page. For example, if you are targeting the keywords “customized marketing logos” but “custom-made, artistic logos” is repeatedly spoken throughout the video, you should adjust your on-page video SEO elements to match this equally relevant phrasing. Use 3Play Media’s tag cloud output to automatically generate frequently occurring keywords from your transcripts.
6. Transcripts Help Create Derivative Content
After a video is transcribed, that text file can easily be repurposed into blogs, how-to articles and whitepapers. Use video and audio transcripts as the starting point of your content strategy.
7. Captions Enable Deep Linking
After uploading a captions file to YouTube each phrase is indexed down to the exact second it is uttered. Meaning, if you search for a phrase that was mentioned within a video, YouTube returns a result that jumps to that specific time in the video. To see an example of this, visit our webinar with Google’s accessibility engineer, Naomi Black. (The example takes place at time stamp 23:53). Although deep linking doesn’t directly impact your website SEO, it makes your YouTube videos easier and faster to discover, which eventually translates to more traffic to your site.
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