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Video SEO: How transcripts help rank your videos

With video becoming more and more important for search engine visibility these days, the use of transcripts on video pages helps in a big way. Search engines robots can’t read or understand the video content itself which is why text needs to be placed on the page where the video player is placed. If you think you’ll be able to score high in search engines without providing any extra content then you’ll be sorely mistaken!

To start with, it’s the page, in which the video is placed, that offers search engines the juice not the video itself. The page where the video player is placed is most important and its here where you can add some video seo magic. Much like a blog article, the page where the video is placed needs to be search engine optimized. This is very important when you choose for video hosting your content yourself because in terms of video seo, here you have the most influence.

Optimizing any content page includes, at a basic level, using headings, (longtail) keywords, good sized thumbnails, enough images and of course quality textual content. Although this may sound strange, considering you’ve made a video that tells the your story, and you may be asking if it’s this is then duplicate content. Well, fear not! The answers is no to duplicate content but yes to it being very useful. You see, everything you’ve included in the video itself is great for your website visitors, but pretty much useless for Google bot. Why? Because he just can’t see it.

Video SEO – Using Transcripts

Adding transcripts to the page where your video player is placed is has two main advantages. The first advantage is for SEO purposes. As written above, search engines can’t decipher what your video content is about from the video itself, without some kind of text support (titles, keywords, meta description or other forms of text). By adding transcripts (the written out audio of your video) you provide search engines with more textual information so that it knows what your video is about and how to index it.

Lets say, for example,  you’ve created a video about a marketing service your business offers and in that video you talk about what you do, how you work and how your business adds value. To ensure that search engines understand this, you simply write out your video script and place this under your video player.

Video SEO - How transcripts help rank your video - orangevine.netThe screenshot to the left lets you see where you can optimize a content page with video on it. Click to enlarge. Search engines, when scanning your page, are provided with vital information about the topic of your video. It’s important that you include your keywords in the title, subtitle and script text and that your keywords are included in any photos you use.

Using the marketing coach example, we’ll give this video page the title: ‘How to get rid of your to-do list. The keyword we’ll use is ‘to-do list’. By doing this, search engines know what the page title is, what the video is called and what the keyword is, but you’re not done yet. The transcript will also need to include your keyword. Even if you haven’t used this specific keyword sequence in your video, you can still add it to the transcript text. Just make sure you don’t over do your video seo by adding too much of the same keyword all over the place – this is called ‘keyword stuffing’. Search engines will spot this and could penalize you.

Video pages also need images or thumbnails which not only provide search engines with information, but also ensure that a photo, sometimes called a poster, is also available for visitors to see that your page has video content on it. By using the tools provided by, you provide specific information to search engines, helping them to read your content more efficiently. Orangevine has integrated this tool within it’s video dashboard, so, you’ll be able to fill in all the required fields easily when uploading your video.

The thumbnail should also be optimized and available at the same resolution as your video. This is the thumbnail for our ‘to-do list’ video. Click to see full size.
Video SEO - How transcripts help rank your video -
If you’ve created a video at 720p then the thumbnail should also have this pixel size (1280×720). You can even add the url of your site to the thumbnail alt description tag for extra visibility. Let’s say you use a photo of two people talking in conversation. In the alt tag description area, add ‘personal coaching benefits –’. Now you’ve also told search engines that the thumbnail is about ‘to-do lists’  and included the url as well.

Lazy bones and freedom of choice
The second advantage of using transcripts is that some people don’t want to watch the whole video or want to skip to the most relevant points. If you add the time code into your transcripts then visitors can scan the text and see at which time point an aspect is discussed in the video and then choose to watch that specific point.

Transcripts help you by providing more information and your viewers by telling them, in advance, what your video details. It’s important for search engines to be able to deliver relevant content to its searchers, so if you’re using video then getting serious about video seo is the way to go!

How to create subtitles for your video.

Creating subtitles isn’t difficult but it can be time consuming. The majority of editing programs have a feature included where you can upload a subtitles file (.srt extension) but not all programs allow you to edit the look and feel of the subtitles feature.

Another option is to add the text manually to your video. This requires you to listen to the video and write everything out and then place it, with a background, over your video. This works well but again, is quite time consuming and search engines can’t read that text either – not good for your video seo!

There are also transcription companies who do this for you, such as but if you’ve no budget or time for this, then the following workaround may help.

Workaround, hack or whatever you want to call it!

Although we don’t advocate using YouTube for video hosting, YouTube does have some great features that can help your video seo activities a great deal and this you should take advantage of. When you upload a video to YouTube you are given the option (after encoding) to display subtitles on your video. YouTube even produces the subtitles (closed captions) automatically and in different languages.

To get access to the automatic captions:

  • Simply turn the feature on within the video manager.

    Video SEO: How transcripts help rank your videos.

    Step 1 – After your uploaded video has encoded go to the video manager and click on CC (Closed Captions)


  • Pick your language.
    It’s probably automatically detected but best to select anyway.

    Video SEO: How transcripts help rank your videos.

    Step 2 – You’ll be prompted select which language your video is in. Make you choice and click


  • Automatic subtitles
    That’s how great this software is, at least for the English language. Automatic detection may also be available in other languages.

    Video SEO: How transcripts help rank your videos.

    Step 3 – YouTube creates subtitles for your automatically in certain languages. Go ahead. Click on the subtitles available next to the green light


  • You have the option to edit the captions and the timing where necessary.Don’t skip this part and bear in mind, the automatic captioning isn’t created by a human so there may be spelling or word mistakes. On top of that, how you pronounce words and/or articulate, will also influence the caption detection software.Take your time to go through the captions and make changes to get it right. Also consider timing changes.

    Step 4 - Here you can see to the right hand side your subtitles in chronological order. At the bottom of the screen you see the time flow of your subtitles.

    Step 4 – Here you can see to the right hand side your subtitles in chronological order. At the bottom of the screen you see the time flow of your subtitles.


    Step 6 - Once you press the edit button you'll be able to make changes to subtitle text and timing.

    Step 6 – Once you press the edit button you’ll be able to make changes to subtitle text and timing. To save just press ‘publish edits’.


  • Once you’ve made your changes…
    Save them and you’ll have the option to download the subtitles file (.srt).
  • Once you've saved your edits. You can exit and you'll return to you main CC screen. You'll now see 2 subtitles available. The first one in the list is your edited version. The second one is the automatically generated version. Click on the version you want to download

    Step 7 – Once you’ve saved your edits. You can exit and you’ll return to you main CC screen. You’ll now see 2 subtitles available. The first one in the list is your edited version. The second one is the automatically generated version. Click on the version you want to download


  • Back to the edits area
    Don’t worry, this is correct. All you have to do now is click on the ‘Actions’ drop down menu to download one of the subtitles file. Check with your editing software which one you can use.

    Step 8 – Download your subtitles file


  • Remove your video from YouTube
    You don’t want to compete with your own video on YouTube, remember! You want your own site to rank.
  • Import the .srt file
    You can them import them into your editing program or if you’re uploading your video natively to Facebook, you can then upload the .srt file and your captions will be shown, in perfect wording and timing on Facebook too.

Do you have any other video seo tips that will help? Share your comments below.
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