SEO Best Practices for Video Translation
Updated: January 24, 2019
80% of views on YouTube come from outside the United States. In fact, eight of the top 10 countries with the most YouTube users are non-English speaking countries.
In order to reach a more global audience, you should be translating your content.
So, what happens when you translate your video into multiple languages? How can you leverage the translated transcripts and multilingual subtitles to further increase SEO?
That is the focus of this article.
Why SEO is Important for Video Translation
Video translation is gaining popularity as more companies go global and as people become aware of the benefits. If you’re going to invest the time and cost to translate video content, it makes sense to implement the translations in a way that derives the most SEO benefit.
Below is a summary of the benefits you can expect to see after implementing a solid translation SEO strategy.
- Increased traffic: Helping Google and other search engines index your video translations will increase traffic to your site, expanding your audience globally and domestically.
- Greater Authority: Duplicate content is not penalized across different languages. As a result, your site will have more pages, keyword rankings, and inbound links. All of this adds up to greater authority and Internet presence.
- Less Competition: It’s easier to rank higher against competitors because there is simply less competition across different languages.
- User Experience: Your video content will become more engaging for non-English users, resulting in longer view times, retention, and a better user experience – increasing SEO even further.
What Needs to Be Considered First
Before making any SEO tweaks, thinking through the questions below will help guide your translation SEO strategy.
- Is your objective to maximize viewership or monetization? In other words, are you trying to bring traffic to your video landing pages or can the videos be watched elsewhere (e.g. YouTube). Among other considerations, this impacts whether to upload multilingual subtitles to YouTube.
- Are your videos short (less than 5 minutes) or long-form? This affects how the translated transcripts should be published.
- What player or platform do you use to publish video? This determines your workflow, plugins, and the type of transcript and subtitle format needed.
- Will you have a separate set of video web pages for each language? As with other translated content, the best practice is to have a separate set of pages for each language.
- Which search engines will you target?
- What is your non-English keyword strategy? Keywords in target languages are different than your source languages. Do not use direct translations and be aware of spam words.
Translation is such an integral part of expanding your video SEO strategy globally, and it’s incredibly easy to implement.
All it takes is two steps.
Step 1: Transcribe and Caption Your Videos
If you haven’t already transcribed and captioned your videos, this is the first step. Videos benefit from transcription even without translation because it helps search engines understand what your video is about and produces supporting text content.
The transcription accuracy needs to be flawless to prevent errors from propagating to multiple languages. We recommend reviewing the English transcript prior to submitting it for translation. Here at 3Play Media, we also offer an extra round of review to double-check for errors and omissions.
Step 2: Create Video Translations
Although we provide an integrated translation service, there are numerous third party and DIY options at your disposal. When creating video translations, consider the types of output formats that you will need. Also, depending on the target language, a translation may require more characters than the English source. The translation process must account for this effect – known as word swell – in order to accurately preserve synchronization of the subtitles.
Best SEO Practices for Publishing Your Video Translations
Separate Video Landing Pages for Each Language
One Language per Web Page
One Video Sitemap per Language with Cross-References
On-Page Video SEO
Long-form video transcripts should be placed on separate pages and paginated, as explained in the blog article How to Optimize Long-Form Video Transcripts for SEO: The Wrong Way and the Right Way
Using an interactive transcript to publish your multilingual transcripts creates the best user experience, enabling users to switch languages, search the video, and jump to a specific point by clicking on any word in the transcript. Users can even create and share video clips by highlighting a section of the transcript in any language. 3Play Media’s interactive transcript is completely integrated with our transcription and translation process. When you embed an interactive transcript, it automatically incorporates all of the languages that have been translated. For SEO purposes, a plain transcript should be wrapped in <noscript> tags, making it invisible to users, but readily indexable by search engines. It is often best to combine an interactive transcript with a plain transcript placed on a separate page.
Multilingual Captions Embed
Off-Page Inbound and Cross-Linking Tactics
As with other content, it is essential to follow best practices for off-page SEO. Video cross-linking and inbound links are vital to every SEO strategy.
Video schema is a markup standard that allow video metadata to be added in the body of the HTML. Schema markup is not visible to users, but is readily indexable by search engines. The standard schema markup uses the VideoObject to assist Google in understanding what the video content is about. It supports a number of properties, including the ability to add a transcript. Below is an example showing how a video transcript should be added to a video embed code.
YouTube Multilingual Subtitles
Multilingual Subtitles with Other Video Players and Platforms
HTML5 Subtitle Tracks
HTML5 will makes it much easier to add subtitles as metadata. HTML5 natively supports video without the need for third-party plugins. A video can be added to a web page using the <video> element, which makes it almost as simple as adding an image. The <track> element can then be used to display subtitles in multiple languages or any other time-aligned metadata. One of the great advantages of adding subtitles or captions as metadata is that search engines will be able to readily index not only the text but also the associated time codes. This will enable search engines to return search results pointing to a specific part of a video (i.e. deep link).
This blog was originally published by Tole Khesin on April 2, 2013 and has since been updated.
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