Editor's note: This post originally appeared August 14th, 2013, authored by Shannon K. Murphy. We have since updated with new information.
Online video has invaded, conquered, and declared itself Emperor Supreme of content marketing. In 2016, 96% of B2B organizations used video in their marketing campaigns and in 2015, social video generated 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Video is the most dynamic content medium, allowing marketers to demonstrate their product and carve out their brand in more ways than traditional, “static” web content can offer.
Businesses rely on videos to drive engagement with their content because they’re searchable, shareable, and can guide viewers to a strategic destination. Videos generate inbound traffic to a webpage or a form when found via keyword search or on social media (organic Facebook engagement is highest on posts with videos). So, whether you are delighting customers, informing prospects, or driving fresh leads through the funnel, how do you ensure this video content is found?
Interestingly enough, this is where words still have their place. The success of SEO hinges on keywords, so video transcripts add valuable text for spoken content to further your site's presence with search engines.
How Video Transcripts Elevate Site SEO
Video transcripts pick up where meta descriptions and video tags fail to offer more detail. After all, transcripts are a complete textual representation of the spoken content in a video. Since search engines crawl text and use text for indexing purposes, a transcript enables search engines to understand video content on a deep level.
SEO is a marketing practice motivated by creating a higher pagerank and driving more site visits, but the strategy can depend on keyword queries. It is important to recognize that video transcripts add to a site's keyword density for a desired term.
But unlike "keyword stuffing," placing a transcript below a video is a natural way to integrate keyword phrases throughout a page. Additionally, a healthy SEO strategy means targeting more than one keyword phrase. Adding transcripts is a great way to include many secondary and tertiary keyword phrases that are undoubtedly spoken throughout your company’s video content.
Video Transcripts Lower Bounce Rate
When properly done, video transcription does wonders for your content tracking metrics. It’s so important to have an accurate transcript is because if your video content and video landing page are misaligned, you could be duping visitors. This may result in a higher "bounce" rate as visitors discover the content is not a match for their search queries and leave. If you’re having this problem with your videos, or you’re looking for more ways to decrease your bounce rate, adding accurate transcripts to your videos is the way to go.
Video Transcripts Match Long Form Search Queries
If you have longer videos in which many words are spoken, like webinar recordings, transcripts offer the same benefits as long form blog posts. Pages with over 2,000 words are more likely to show up in the first 10 search results on Google. A webpage with a transcript below a video can act like a long form blog post -- full of keywords spoken in the video that are going to match a unique search query. A visitor may only want to watch a video and not read a lot of text, but they are more likely to find your video in their top search results if their keyword or phrase is repeated multiple times on your page.
Transcripts can also help you assess your keyword strategy. For example, if you built out a video landing page targeted around the keyword phrase "analytics software," but "social media analytics data" is repeatedly spoken throughout the video, consider adjusting your on-page video SEO elements to match this more relevant long tail phrasing. If possible, create a page for each video so that keywords and on-page content can be customized to that specific video. This means that the page's URL structure, page title, h1 and h2 headers, image alt text, page content, and anchor text should all incorporate your keyword phrase.
Video Transcripts Elicit More Time on Page
Videos also tend to captivate audiences and keep them on a webpage longer, which improves the average “time on page” metric across your site. This means people are more likely to wander the site and discover other content they may find interesting.
Why Your Video Transcripts Must Be Accurate
It is important to note that highly inaccurate transcripts can misguide visitors and subsequently damage your “street cred” with Google. Avoid downloading and using automatically-generated transcripts or captions (like those one would find on YouTube videos), which are normally 80% accurate at best, and 50% at worst.
[Side Note: If you need a better idea of what is meant by transcript accuracy, take a look at this chart.]
Google marks any site which “appears to use aggressive spam techniques such as automatically generated gibberish, cloaking, scraping content from other websites, and/or repeated or egregious violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines,” as Pure Spam -- meaning using transcripts made by auto-captions can be detrimental to SEO. So, make sure your transcripts are accurate, or else you risk misleading visitors and suffering the wrath of Google’s mighty spam filter. Yes, even the Emperor Supreme can be vulnerable at times.
Video adds a human element back into the world of Web search, and as such, has become the preferred method of consumption by digital natives. Search engines measure these human signs. Many marketers already know that social media signals and great video content have become increasingly important to SEO because they possess a human component that is hard to fake. Yet, search engines can only infer so much. To gain the ultimate advantage over competitors and reach a wider audience, make webinars, demonstrations, and product videos digestible for search engines by utilizing transcripts. While video transcripts are often a forgotten step, they assist marketers by augmenting keyword density and realigning keyword strategy. After carefully producing, posting, and curating video content, you’ll now have a secret weapon to drive video discovery.
Want more tips? Here’s an easy how-to guide with 5 Ways to Improve Video SEO with a Transcript.