SEO with YouTube transcriptions

By Holly Kosec on November 17, 2015

By Holly Kosec on November 17, 2015

If you’ve ever clicked the “CC” icon at the bottom of a YouTube video window, you know that YouTube automatically generates subtitles for closed captioning. But did you know that you can optimize them for search?

YouTube allows you to upload a transcript to any video that you upload. This is useful for a couple of reasons.

First, the automatically generated transcript for videos is typically filled with errors. Second, fixing those errors and uploading a correct transcript will allow you to get keyword-rich text associated with the video. And since Google owns YouTube, that’s important if showing up in search engine results is a priority for you.

For the full guide to formatting your transcript file, click to see this page from Google support. Here are the basics:

  • Create the transcript as a .txt file
  • Use a blank line as a break between speaking
  • Use brackets like [music] for background noises
  • Use >>> to note a change of speaker

Remember, you’re not adding this to the description of your video. Instead, you’re uploading the transcript so that YouTube can associate with the video and replace the automatic transcription. Here’s how to make it happen:

  1. In the video manager, select “Subtitles and CC” from the drop down next to the video you want to edit
  2. Select “Add new subtitles or CC” and choose the proper language
  3. Select “Upload a file” and check the “Transcript” option
  4. Choose a file and upload

Be sure to watch the video and make sure that the transcript you’ve uploaded properly matches what is happening in the video.

Don’t have time to transcribe?

That’s understandable. It can take quite a bit of time to transcribe an entire YouTube video! If you don’t have that kind of time, you can always hire transcription out. Just be sure to check the accuracy of the transcription for whatever work you hire out.

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