Closed Caption Fails (And Why They Matter)
Warning: contains examples of poor captions with foul language.
SEO is an elusive and occasionally-vague target to aim for, as almost anyone in the digital marketing industry can attest. It requires constant monitoring, adaptation, and also a perpetual stream of new content among other tasks. But there is one small thing that not every corporation notices in their rush to stay ahead; one small thing that they might slap on their videos as an afterthought, without looking too closely. One small thing that, if you’re not going to do right, might as well not be there at all. One small thing that, as it turns out, isn’t really that small.
Closed Captioning Is a Big Deal.
“Oh, yeah, Youtube generates captions automatically for us.”
Believe us; we are well-aware of that. But are you aware of what those automatic captions sometimes look like? It ain’t pretty.
If you’re lucky, and we mean really lucky, those automatic captions will be 70% accurate. They won’t have any punctuation, hardly any capitalization, and roughly every one out of four or five words might be incorrect – but hey, at least they’ll be… kind of legible?
Of course, you could be one of those companies that, without knowing it, is exceedingly unlucky with your captions. Whether it was because your speaker had an accent or simply because the name of your product bore an unfortunate resemblance to certain curse words… well… our condolences.
Minimum Effort, Maximum Impact.
The truth is, closed captions are becoming more and more desirable in the world of digital marketing, and they’re probably one of the items that is least difficult to acquire. You can pay a service to generate them from scratch if you want to, but you could just as easily use the script of the video (since you probably just made it); or you can select the automatic captioning service on Youtube and then manually tweak it afterwards. (Yes, you need to add punctuation and capitalization! You are not a kindergartener, nor are any of your prospects. If anything, some of your prospects might be sticklers for grammar. Why not indulge them?)
There will be some effort required, yes; but whichever route you take, there will be benefits. Firstly, your SEO will improve. Captions attributed to a video are much the same as other written content, in that their length and keywords will boost the credibility of your website, and of the video in particular. However, since you already wrote the script (or didn’t even have to write one since the speaker on-screen did that), adding the captions won’t take nearly as long as it would to compose an entirely original blog post.
And secondly, your audience will thank you. Anybody with hearing disabilities or just poor audio speakers won’t be left behind when they’re trying to find out more about your services. They’ll be able to understand your videos as well as – if not better – than everybody else. Not to mention that captioned videos perform better on social media sites with autoplay functions, like Linkedin and Facebook; because they can still attract viewers that are scrolling through their newsfeed without turning on the audio (and that’s a surprisingly-large percentage of your audience).
Go That Extra Mile.
It doesn’t take much to show your customers that you care, and correcting your video captions can be the first step on your journey. Once you start seeing what was there before you fixed everything, you will be very glad that you did so. However, captions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to improving your SEO and your image. Find out what other marketing strategies you could be missing out on by contacting one of our experts today!