SEO and UX benefits of transcribing video content

7 min. read

Creating and curating a robust library of original videos is a worthwhile endeavor. There’s a wealth of inherent marketing value to be mined from educational and entertaining clips. And many of our clients keep their mining picks handy, incorporating video content into ads, publishing them across social media platforms, and generally leveraging them to enhance the quality of their websites.

So, there’s no question that a well-placed video module embedded into an email or onto a landing page will always buttress and elevate the content around it. That’s the inherent value. And yet, beneath it all, there lies an untapped vein of hidden marketing value.

The overlooked opportunities of investing in high-quality, well-written video transcriptions.

As with everything in our industry, there is a way to take this all one step further. To squeeze even more juice out of the fruits of your creative labor. In the case of videos, utilizing strategic transcription is a simple task that can make a world of difference when it comes to SEO and user engagement.

Let’s begin with SEO.

To put it as concisely as possible, transcribing your videos makes the content easier for search engines to find and index. This means that when someone inquires about a related topic using voice or manual search, there’s a higher possibility that your video and the page it lives on will show up in the results.

Transcripts offer you the opportunity to highlight the relevant topics covered in your content and to have control over how those key topics are conveyed. You can leverage key phrases spoken in your clip and turn them into keywords deliberately typed out on the page. Since text is much easier for search engines to deal with than audio, transcripts help the algorithms detect your content which can result in higher visibility in SERPs, especially if the audio version of the key phrase was hard to decipher because the speaker had a heavy accent, the recording was fuzzy, the room was noisy, etc.

Ultimately, you’ll find that optimizing videos for search follows much of the same orthopraxy as optimizing blogs and web copy. You want to make everything discoverable, recognizable, and indexable. This means ensuring that all of the written words associated with the content (titles, descriptions, and transcripts) clearly convey its relevance to programs like Google.

But don’t forget about the humans!

How quality video transcripts make content more enjoyable and accessible to users.

It’s not all about making your videos easier to find and digest for search engine bots, putting the effort into crafting typed-out versions of your clips creates a more valuable and enjoyable experience for users.

A good transcript merges the power of written and visual content in a way that allows each video clip to double as a blog post. This encourages (or at least provides the possibility for) deeper exploration. Providing users with a supplementary piece that they can scroll, absorb, read, and re-read at their own pace helps cement the subject matter into their minds.

It also helps make your content more accessible to people who may be hearing impaired. Most video hosting services provide auto-generated transcripts. But that’s not the same as a carefully composed version that you put real elbow grease into writing or at least editing for errors.

An exemplary case study in video transcription from one of our clients

One of our agency’s most culturally and artistically revered partners, Ben Zander, has a great video library on his website.

When a visitor arrives at this page and clicks on a video that piques their interest, they are not taken to a video player, but rather to an entire page dedicated to that class. On this page, beneath the video clip itself, they will see a number of supplementary content modules including a tab that says “explore.”

The “explore” section then opens up a full transcript of the interpretation class. Not an auto-generated transcript, mind you, but one that we took the time to type out and edit.

This quality transcript lets users read the words that the instructor spoke to his student and the attendant audience. For educational content like these video courses, giving people the opportunity to go back over and really examine the subject matter solidifies it in their minds more effectively than a video alone.

If you watch any of these videos (and we recommend you do, even if you’re not a musician) you’ll notice that there are three factors at play necessitating a manually edited transcript. The first is the fact that these are musical performances. If you left it to an AI tool to generate the transcript, it would be rife with nonsensical gibberish, mistaking a person’s singing or an instrument’s notes for English words. The second is the instructor himself, who speaks with an accent and frequently uses Italian, German, French, and Latin phrases. The third factor is the acoustic environment. These videos are shot in auditoriums, concert venues, or large classrooms – often with an audience present – which can obscure and jumble the speakers’ words. In the end, these factors can lead to an unclear and unintelligible auto-generated transcript, which is why it’s important for us to edit them by hand. We want human readers and search engine algorithms to be able to recognize the words being spoken and the topics being covered. As we’ve touched on, this is highly beneficial for SEO and UX.

Getting started with better video transcription.

To begin creating more valuable video transcripts that will boost SEO and visitor engagement, we recommend a three-pronged approach.

First, especially for long videos, your first step is going to be to find a reliable transcription service. These programs cost money but are far more dependable than free auto-generate tools.

Next, once the software has produced your transcript, you’ll need to have a dedicated member of your team read over it while watching the video to ensure that the words on the page match the words being spoken in the clip.

Keep in mind, the transcript doesn’t have to match the video exactly. The point is to publish a written version that is readable. It should feel like reading anything else, be it a blog, a book, or an article. In other words, if your transcript is full of sighs, coughs, mumbles, and umm’s, you can go ahead and edit those out. Neither search engines nor your readers will fault you for trimming fat and eliding filler.

Finally, you and your web development or content strategy team will want to find a strategic way to present these transcripts to users. Where will they live on the page? How will people open them up and view them? In what format will they be laid out?

Supplementary content makes videos more accessible, but only if people can access them. The explore tab on the Ben Zander site is a great example. It presents viewers with a clear possibility to open the transcript if they want to, but it doesn’t dominate the page. It’s there if people choose to explore it, but otherwise, it can remain hidden.

How we can help improve your video content with high-quality transcripts

Transcribing videos is worth the effort and the investment. Whether you do it yourself or outsource the task to an agency like ours, the final product will make your website’s videos more valuable to humans and more crawlable and indexable to search engines.

In 2023, written text is still the easiest way for search algorithms to recognize and contextualize your website. That’s why publishing a transcript of video content is so important. It’s essentially a snapshot made of words that shows Google what relevant themes and ideas your media contains.

To summarize, enlisting our expert help with transcribing video content can:

  • Make your content available to people with hearing impairments and can also increase accessibility for non-native speakers.
  • Capitalize on keyword-targeting opportunities by identifying relevant terms to highlight in your videos and their corresponding transcripts.
  • Decrease bounce rates by keeping users engaged for a longer period of time with more content.
  • Elevate your user experience by allowing users the option to read through a transcript if that’s how they prefer to enjoy the content.

All of these benefits and services are things that we have experience providing for our partners and we’d be happy to do the same for you. Contact our team today to begin the process of optimizing your library of video content.

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