Captioning: the SEO Advantage


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For all the internet gurus out there trying to leverage a higher website ranking in Google/Yahoo!/Bing search results, there is a little-known resource for improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Adding a closed captioning file to your video is a proven means of broadening your video’s reach and upping your visibility in a web search.

We all know that Google and every other search engine have secret algorithms for choosing what content is most relevant to a user’s search, secret so that it cannot be gamed by a whole slew of website owners looking to claim the “I’m Feeling Lucky” entry (the first one) in a search. The algorithm crawls the source code of webpages, looking for keywords used in certain combinations and frequencies, and ranks the sites, so that the most in-demand, informative, and significant entry floats to the top of the list. Great news for anyone who has a website full of text.

But video is becoming a major player in the internet world, and search engine crawls can’t access the spoken words in them. You could post a video of yourself reading War and Peace cover to cover, and it would be no more useful to your SEO than if you had stared blankly at the camera for the same amount of time. A workaround: captions! Captions do for Google, Yahoo!, and Bing what they do for 50 million deaf and hard-of hearing Americans — translate audio to text. This allows search engines to crawl the spoken words in a video, as well as the text on a website.

Chances are you’ve spent some time and money on your video. Adding captions will make these videos searchable and optimized for searches.