Search engines can’t crawl the actual video to optimize positioning in search results, but they can crawl the text in the video when there is a transcription of the audio or captions.
While it is not guaranteed, if content creators want their videos to rank on search engines like Bing, Google, and YouTube, adding captions and/or a transcript of the audio helps to land on the top spot on the first page of search results in search engines.
YouTube and Rev.com have announced a partnership to make captions more readily available to YouTube creators. This could mean more traffic to websites, which in turn drives clicks to other content and landing pages.
Until now, creators of YouTube videos relied on the platform’s auto-generated captions or audience-generated captions.
The captions are relied on to crawl the content within those videos to promote them to the most relevant audiences. It’s difficult to serve up the content to those searching when the captions don’t exist or are not accurate.
Videos running on YouTube now need to meet certain compliance rules, but it’s not clear whether captions are one area that is required to meet the standards.
This brings to mind that captions should be optimized, said Lauren Rockwell, associate director of SEO at Cogniscient Media. The agency optimizes video for clients for onsite videos in the YouTube Video Gallery and channel settings, but lately most of the videos have been shorter -- for sites like TikTok, she said.
Live captioning could be coming to other Google services. In the latest release of Chrome, Canary, there’s a way to access a “Live Caption” toggle in the browser’s accessibility settings, according to TechDows.
“After making the Live Caption feature available in its Pixel Phones on Android, Google is now bringing it to Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS platforms,” according to the media outlet. “What this means is Chrome will automatically detect speech in media and generate captions for all media playing in the browser if users enable ‘Live caption’ switch in accessibility settings.”
This could change optimization option in search, as the tool would generate descriptions for images that do not have alternative text.