Subtitle and SEO: how to improve the ranking of your videos

June 4, 2021

Whether for your website or your videos, SEO is essential to increase your online presence. It makes you appear on search queries that matter for your creations.

However, SEO is a complex science, which requires precise technical and semantic optimizations.

Adding subtitles or captions, for example, ensures you gain views and engagement for your videos. But that is not enough.

Here we provide you a comprehensive guide on SEO and subtitles, and the benefits of their optimization.

What are the SEO benefits of subtitles ?

Depending on how you use subtitles, you can expect numerous benefits for your site or videos ranking in search results.

1# Closed-captions make your content readable by Google

When Google analyzes videos, it only scrawls external information (number and view duration, engagement rate, length of the video …) without analyzing the content itself. This implies a loss of earnings for the creators, since their work is not considered according to relevance or subject.

Fortunately, you can make the content of your video readable to Google by adding subtitles. Provided they are added in an external format (SRT, VTT) and not burned-in, these subtitles will send Google information to judge the keyword relevance of your content.

With these technical optimizations, you can expect an increase of almost 7% in your video traffic.

2# Well-captioned video improves UX and user engagement

In addition to semantic relevance, Google also assess your video according to their performance. The more a video keeps the attention of viewers and pushes for engagement (likes, comments), the better your video ranking. In this regard, the benefits of subtitles is to increase the visual impact of your videos, so that your users can react directly to your words. As a result, subtitled videos are better valued by Google.

This also applies to your website user-experience. Google review the way your users stay and interact in your site's pages (bounce rate, session time, number of pages visited). By adding subtitled video on your pages, you offer more visual and interactive content and keep longer your audience's attention.

As you can see, adding quality subtitles on your videos provide many SEO benefits.

3# Adding a transcript boosts your on-page ranking

Another SEO trick is to provide a video transcript on your website. By converting your video speech into readable text, you enable Google to read the semantic elements of your content. What's more, you make your video more accessible to people with comprehension problems or who don't have the time to read it. This increases your chances of ranking your pages higher in search results.

It works even better if you take these transcripts and convert them into multiple blog posts. Recycling is always useful!

4# A subtitled video brings you external link opportunities

Another relatively unknown benefit of subtitles is to attract new opportunities for redirecting links to your site. As subtitled video are more engaging, many sites may be tempted to share or embed your video for articles or emails. This provides you with free external links that boost your domain authority and global SEO.

This works even more if your video is worked in depth and adds value to a topic of debate.

5# Subtitles enhance the consistency and semantic density of your pages.

Last but not least, subtitles can strengthen your ranking on more generic and competitive keywords. For example, you can add a video to a post aiming a highly requested keyword, and further increase its semantic power. This will help it reach the first pages or even the first results on Google.

Video SEO: how to optimize your videos for SEO?

Now that you know the benefits of subtitling, how to take advantage of it for your videos? Here are our 5 tips for successful video SEO.

1# Properly add subtitles to your video

As explained previously, Google can read your subtitles when they are attached to your video as a file (SRT or VTT file), but not burned-in the code. You can add these files by changing your HTML5 code, or upload your subtitle file on WordPress or your video platform. Your file must also comply to specific formatting and make text in sync with the audio.

To create subtitles, you can try our automatic subtitling solution. It will save you precious time in the creation of your video.

2# Hosting your video on the right platform

You may already know this, but self-hosting your video is very demanding in terms of resources and storage space. Unlike images, videos require a larger data stream and consume more bandwidth. This can affect the SEO of your site, as the loading time of your page will be longer. Instead, we recommend using video hosting platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion or Wistia. With their web embedding tool, you can make your videos available at a lower cost.

3# Create optimized titles and descriptions for your video

Whether you upload your video on a platform or not, you needs video titles and descriptions adapted to your targeted keywords. While this may seem obvious on YouTube, it is less obvious on other platforms or when you host it yourself. You should know that Google also reads the code of your video. To do so, check in the code that the title of your file is appropriate. On video platforms, you might indicate the right keywords and user their synonyms.

4# Designing an engaging video thumbnail

Another important detail is the thumbnail on your video frame. This is crucial for attracting the eye of visitors and increasing your number of views. This ensures your presence on video platforms. You may take inspiration from well-known YouTuber who know how to create eye-catching images.

5# Embed your video into a relevant blog page

When you decide to illustrate a blog post with a video, you may consider the link between your text and this content. Google pays a lot of attention to the semantic context of the video, and rewards those that best fit the content of the page. You can boost the positioning of one of your flagship pages by attaching a subtitled video that adds semantic value to your topic.

Now you know everything. We hope that it will help you become a star of the net !

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