Adding captions is an important part of producing online video. Not only do captions help with accessibility for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, but they also help your videos get more views.
How does adding captions get my video more views?
Search engines like Google can’t listen to the audio in your video. Instead they crawl the video looking for text in order to determine the content and display it in the appropriate search results. They find this text in the description and tags that you’ve added, as well as in the caption file if you’ve added one.
By adding a caption file, you are allowing search engines to read the full content of your video rather than just the short description and tags that you include. This allows the search engine to get a better understanding of your video so that it can be displayed in more accurate search results, allowing more people to see your video.
Videos posted to social media sites like Facebook are also more likely to be viewed if they include captions. When a video auto-plays on Facebook, it will play without sound unless the viewer opts to turn the volume on. Adding captions will catch a viewers attention without any audio and will allow them to “see” the audio your video without having to turn the sound on.
So how can you add captions to your videos?
You can find dozens of companies online who will manually transcribe your video and create a caption file for you, but that may be out of your budget and transcribing the video yourself can take a long time.
YouTube offers captions free of charge on any video you upload to their site. These captions are not created by a real person, however, but by using speech recognition software. Inevitably, the transcription that the speech recognition software creates is not perfect.
You will have to go through and edit any words that YouTube’s speech recognition software misunderstood, add capitalization and punctuation where needed, and adjust any timings that aren’t quite right. This will take some time, but it will be quicker than manually transcribing the video from scratch, as most of the work is already done for you.
Once you get the text and timings how you want them, YouTube will allow you to download the edited caption file so that you can attach it to your video on other sites that support captions as well.