SEO is the process of optimizing your website so that it becomes search engine friendly. But how does this apply when you embed a video on your site? There is no content or keywords so how do search engines actually rank a page which contain a video?
How do search engines know what is in the video?
Rich snippets are the most popular way of getting video rank in search results. If you are using YouTube, this is done automagically, based on the title and description you provide. You can read about rich video snippets and how they help with video SEO here.
Is a short snippet enough at telling Google what the video is about?
Let’s quickly remember. SEO works primarily by using keywords (ranking is not solely based on content of course, but it is still the most major factor). The more meaningful keyword dense content you have on your page, the higher your website will rank if you do everything right. A typical 5-minute video would contain about 700 spoken words. That’s a lot of content when you think about it in written format (i.e this article is about 500 words). For the written equivalent, search engines will have a lot of opportunity to tell what the content is about and if it is beneficial for the end user. But with the snippets, all you have is 160 or so words in the description and a short title. This reminds me the days where the biggest ranking factor for a webpage was the keywords in the meta tags, which are not even considered by most search engines anymore. Snippets may be an important and powerful factor today, especially since search engines seem to favor video content, but that’s not going to last for long.
Video transcription to the rescue!
Transcription is the written format of spoken text. It has been around for a very long time and was (and still is) mostly used for court hearings and in the medical field. As online videos become more and more popular and started playing a major role in search engine rankings, content marketers realized the opportunity. Transcribing your video is the easiest way to tell search engines what your video is exactly about. This is perhaps one of the major reasons why SEOmoz adds full transcription text under each of their Whiteboard Friday videos. If my video page only has the snippets and a few tags to describe the video while yours contain the entire transcription, you’re a lot more likely to get a higher placement in rankings, with everything else being equal.
With video transcription search engines will have the opportunity to index all the words in your video. This is a major compliment to what rich video snippets provide. And if the two comply, you have a golden match for Google. Not convinced yet? Video transcription will also make your video accessible to people with hearing difficulties as well as foreign watchers. It is a lot easier to read a language you are not fluent with than listening to it.
Emre Akkas is with Globalme Language & Technology. Globalme provides a variety of media localization services including video transcription, voice over dubbing and subtitling.