Getting captions onto your videos is one of the most important things you can do in order to optimize your videos for search, but it isn’t immediately obvious how to do this. Especially as each of the common video platforms has a slightly different approach to acquiring and adding captions. Also, after you’ve got the captions on the videos, there is the question of ensuring Google can find and read the captions.
In this post, we’ll go into how to get your video transcribed, how to add these captions to your video and how to optimize them for online search. These steps help you make videos more accessible and optimize them for video SEO. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Acquire captions
The first step in adding and optimizing captions is to actually get your video transcribed. There are a few ways to do this. The right choice for you will depend on how much time and budget you have available.
Transcribe the video yourself
If you care primarily about accuracy and have the time available, this is the most surefire way of ensuring the captions for your videos are complete. You will need to type out the spoken text and mark different speakers as characters. But you’ll also need to align each phrase and sentence with the correct timecodes. This guide is an excellent rundown of every step required, and how you can format the timecode correctly so that it can be exported as a .srt file (SubRip Text – the plaintext format almost universally used to contain video captions).
Pay for a professional transcription service
This is the method to choose if you have less time available, but do have some budget. There are many excellent transcription services on the market and prices are usually between $1 and $10 a minute. Depending on the level of guaranteed accuracy required. To provide you with some suggestions: 3playmedia, Speedpad and Rev are all good options.
Use automated transcription software
This is the method to choose if you want a quick and cheap solution. Tools like Temi, Trint, and Descript can all impressively process a video or audio file and almost instantly pull together the captions along with the timecodes. However, accuracy here isn’t generally as good as the services which include some human overview. Especially when using very technical or esoteric words, things can go awry. However, combining an automated transcription with some human overview is an effective way to get the best of both worlds.
Download the captions from YouTube
Very helpful, YouTube automatically transcribes all the videos uploaded to the platform. These are visible within the “subtitles” menu of any video within YouTube Studio. They are flagged as (automatic) to indicate that these are the captions YouTube has generated itself.