Easy YouTube Closed-Captions and Increased Search Visibility

It is no secret that adding closed-captioning to your YouTube videos is a big win when it comes to increasing search results and user engagement. ReelSEO confirmed this a while back in this great video:

What you probably haven’t heard is how easy it is to add captions to your video. We’re not talking about the auto-transcription created by YouTube, but rather a real 100% accurate and timed closed-caption that will help your video get better search results.

Here’s how to do it:

1.) Compile the transcript of your video. You might be able to easily do this if you have the original script lying around. If not, you’re still in luck since YouTube automatically transcribes every video that is uploaded. The YouTube auto-transcriber tends to get a lot of words wrong but it’s still a good starting point.

To get the YouTube transcript, go to My Videos and choose a video. Click “Edit Info” and go to the Captions and Subtitles tab. You’ll find a file called “English: Machine Transcription” and a download button. Downloading will produce a file called “captions.sbv”. This is not a very common filetype, but it can be opened in most text editors. Here you will find timing and transcription info that will be a useful starting point to transcribing your video. With any luck, the machine transcription will only need a few changes.

Copy the text into a new document. Don’t worry about the time info yet. Just fix all of the errors until you’re happy with the complete transcription.

2.) Time your transcription to the video. Since YouTube has a feature called “auto-timing” this part is easy. Watch the video as you read your transcription. For every pause, start a new line. For every longer pause, skip a line completely. That’s it! No numbers or timecode needed, just blocks of text spaced out organically. Save the document as a .txt file.

3.) Upload and test. You can upload your txt file on the page where you found “English: Machine Transcription.” Upload the file and within a minute you will be able to see your new captions in action. Watch through twice to make sure that they are complete and correct.

That’s it! Within a few days your captions should start ranking in YouTube and Google Video search results.