Captioning: the SEO Advantage

Oct 18 2013 David Titmus
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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.