People are becoming much more aware of video Search Engine Optimization these days. Good YouTube rankings can directly help your Google rankings, so business owners around the world are starting to do their homework.
When it comes to video SEO, most people know the importance of a strong, relevant headline and a good thumbnail image. These are immediate and obvious. They even know the importance of including the right tags before uploading. Fewer, perhaps, really appreciate that the description that goes under the video should probably be a bit more than one or two sentences — you almost want to write an entire blog post underneath, to truly help you on the search results.
But the one thing most people are missing out on is the closed captions that can accompany a YouTube video.
Firstly, and most obviously, it just helps to reinforce your existing keyword optimization. All things being equal – say two videos with good titles, thumbnails, and keyword-rich descriptions – the video with closed captions will have a slight competitive edge over one that doesn’t in the search results. In a world where most people would rather change their search query than click on to page two of any search list, every piece of optimization helps.
Secondly, it extends the reach of your videos in the search results. If you type a search query into YouTube and see some results that don’t appear to be related, check to see if there’s a little “CC” symbol on or near it; this means your search term is contained in the captions. Not only does this give your video a chance to show up for related but not as optimized terms, it means people can find your video later if you said something memorable but they can’t remember the title itself.
Lastly, audience retention. YouTube cares a great deal about how long people watch your videos and use audience retention data in their rankings: they don’t even count someone as having watched your video if they don’t last “around” 30 seconds (although there’s clearly a scale, as videos less than 30 seconds long still register views). If having closed captions help people stay on your video longer (hard of hearing, noisy environments, no access to speakers or headphones, or any of a long list of possible reasons) then this will only benefit your video’s, and therefore your own, rankings in the future.
The following video explains how to start adding captions to your videos today: