By Andrew Angus on April 20, 2011

Hands Free Closed Captioning on Youtube

The number one reason to add closed captions to a commercial web video is to make your content accessible to people who are hearing impaired. But closed captions also make your video content more accessible to the search engines. So any way that you slice it, video optimization is good news for your website traffic.

Google loves video (they proved it by buying YouTube back in 2006). By having video on your website, you’re already 50% more likely to show up on the first page of search results for your keywords. But can you do more? Absolutely!

Here’s how.

1) Keywords: When you upload your video to YouTube, make sure the title, description, categories and tags (keywords) are all a match for the search terms you want to be found for.

Speaking of keywords, let’s go back for a second look at closed captioning. When you add a transcript file of your video to YouTube, it’s speech-to-text functionality will link up the text you submitted with the audio of the video – hands-free closed captioning for you!

What’s more, now every single word of that text will be recognized by Google and any keywords in your transcript will push your video farther up towards the top of the search results page.

We chatted with Mark Robertson, Founder and Publisher at ReelSEO (check out their site for tons more about video SEO), about this topic. He explained that by adding closed captions or a transcript to your YouTube video you will extend your reach in two important ways:

a) Your video will get indexed (recognized) by Google* for far more keyword phrases than just what you enter into the title or keyword fields. This allows you to rank for more terms and for “long tail” keywords (keywords with more words). These may not get as much traffic, but it’s more targeted; plus there’s less competition for these terms.

b) People who rely on closed captions to access content in videos (e.g., the hearing impaired) will usually filter their search on YouTube for videos with captions. If your video doesn’t have them, these people will never find you.

2) Video sitemap: Sitemaps are another tool you use to help Google find and index the content on your site. You can also create video sitemaps that are specifically for your videos. You can either do this yourself with Google Webmaster Tools, or sign up with our partner Wistia – as part of their service, they’ll create a video sitemap for you!

There is lots more to the story of video SEO, but that’s for another read. Look for more posts about video SEO in the near future….

 

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