Adding captions to videos can improve your SEO, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.
First, let’s talk about the different formats you can add captions to.
Before we get into discussing the SEO benefits, let’s set a baseline.
In Google’s own guidelines (PDF), it says that when you add captions to the video, you should also add alt text to that video to let the viewer know what is being said.
That makes sense, right?
So we should then add alt text to the video and this should help us in our SEO efforts.
Well, the first problem is that Google is not always the best judge of what is important in a video.
For example, in one video, the text says “don’t worry,” but in another video, there is a lot of swearing.
Google might not know that swearing does not make sense, so it might not show this video in position one.
Second, even if Google recognizes important parts of the video, it might not show it in the search results.
For example, in one video, the text says “in the video,” but in another video, the text says “in the transcript.”
Google might not know that the transcript takes precedence over the video.
Finally, even if Google recognizes the important parts of the video, it might not show it in position zero, which is the first organic result in the SERPs.
So in this case, even if Google recognizes that the transcript is important, it might not show this video in the search results.
All this means is that the SEO benefits of adding captions to videos are not clear cut.
But it also means that you need to put in the work to ensure that the captions you add are relevant to the video.
So let’s move on to how to do that.
How do I optimize for SEO when adding captions to videos?
That’s a good question, because how do you add captions to videos that are relevant to your video in a way that Google will index and show them in the search results?
First, you need to decide what kind of captions you want to add to your videos.
Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer, you might want to add a caption to show viewers how to take great pictures.
On the other hand, let’s say you take part in a yoga class, and you want to help viewers understand how that yoga class works.
In both of these cases, you can add captions on the same video.
So let’s assume you’re a yoga teacher and you want to share a yoga video.
In that case, you can add a short caption for the video that makes it clear what is being said and what is not being said in the video.
If you’re a wedding photographer, then you should add a longer caption that gives a better understanding of the video as a whole.
This might look something like the following:
- Hey everybody!
In this video, I’m sharing a real story from my wedding.
We had a wedding at the beginning of our relationship but it didn’t end on a happily-ever-after note.
In fact, it was a mess.
We had a party at the beginning of the night, but the guests and guests were drunk.
We had to clean up, and I had to take a shower.
I was tired and I had a hangover, so I was a little grumpy.
But I had some beautiful photos from the wedding, so all was not lost.
So I thought it would be a nice idea for our wedding to include a yoga class.
I had the best idea.
I decided to do a yoga class at our wedding and I invited some friends who also practiced yoga.
They were super happy to be invited and they showed up.
We had a great time, and my friends had a great time, and I had a great time, and we all had a great time, and we all had an amazing day, and we will all be friends forever.
That’s what our video is about.
And if you watch the video, you’ll see that it doesn’t just give a quick overview of the video, but that it goes into detail about the video and includes some personal anecdotes about the bride and groom.
That’s a long caption, but it adds some extra value for the viewer.
This is a technique that can also be used for other types of videos.
For example, video about a company or a product can be captions for the product that share some extra value.
If you’re a wedding photographer, you can also add some captions for your photos that give more information about the wedding as a whole instead of just showing you the bride and groom.
In all cases, you need to make sure that your captions help your video stand out.
How do I add captions to my videos?
When it comes to captions, there are a few different methods you can use.
The first is to use a text-to-text transcription tool like Google Translate.
If you’re using this method, then you should always check that the results do not include any of the following:
- Spoken words
- The characters
Once you’ve added captions to your videos, it’s time to think about the best way you can show them in the search results.
Here are some ideas:
Use the search operator to include the captions in the search results
Let’s say that you’re looking for a wedding photographer.
You search for wedding photographers in the search bar, and you see some results.
You click on one of them, and it takes you to the company’s website.
In this case, you want to include the captions for the videos in the search results.
So you type the following in the search bar:
- Wedding photographers
You get this result:
And you see this video:
But you don’t see any captions.
If you click on the video, you see the following message:
That’s because the search operator, , includes a space on either side of the search term.
So when you search for wedding photographers, you’re searching for Wedding photographers without the space.
So you see the following result instead of this video:
So it’s not just the absence of captions that you don’t see in the search results, but the fact that the video doesn’t have captions at all.
You see how the search operator includes a space after the search term, so it’s not just the lack of captions in the search results, but the lack of captions for videos that don’t have captions at all.
Captions help search engines understand what’s in a video, so they can present more relevant results to viewers.
And the more relevant results you show, the more chances for the viewer to find what they’re looking for.
That’s why the more captions you add, the better!
The next time you’re creating videos, let’s talk about how you can use captions to improve your videos.
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