4 Reasons to Provide Video Transcripts

Posted by Kristi Hines - July 13, 2010 - Blogging - 12 Comments

More and more often, I am finding blog posts that are nothing more than a video with little to no text details. As video blogging becomes more and more prevalent, I think it is a great time to look at four reasons why video transcripts should be included in the blog posts or pages, as opposed to just including the video itself.

Mobile Visitors May Not Be Able to Watch the Videos

With the rise in smartphone usage, more and more people are starting to browse blogs online, many because they are checking their Facebook, Twitter, or email and clicking on the links, or following links from other blog posts.

Even though many smartphones can get small videos, such as ones from YouTube, to download on their phones, some video sites are not as mobile friendly so the video will not display at all. Or alternatively, the video may be large or the mobile user may be in an area where they do not have a strong signal, so they cannot fully download the video.

In either case, having a transcript along with the video would make it easy for the mobile browser to read the content included in the video.

Visitors May Not Be Able to Listen to the Videos

Many visitors to your blog may not be able to take the time to listen to the video post, such as mobile visitors who can’t listen with the sound up or people at work who many not have headphones or speakers. In these cases, a transcript would also be extremely helpful so they can get the article content.

Visitors May Not Have the Time to Watch the Video

The sad truth is that many people are always in a rush, and they want content to be quick and digestable. If they come to a post with a 10+ minute video that they do not have the time for, the best case scenario is that they will bookmark it for later, but likely, if they can find similar content elsewhere, they will move on and miss out on what you have to offer. By supplying a transcript, the visitor will be able to read parts of the content and then maybe decide that the content is worth dedicating some time to, either now or later, or at least be confident that it is something valuable to comment on or share with others.

Transcripts Provide Additional SEO Value

Pages with lots of text and strategic keyword usage are usually better ranked by search engines as they have content for the crawlers to index. If your post or page only includes a video, there is not much content for the crawlers to use to determine the the value of your page. A transcript can easily provide this content to make the page rank better in search engines.

Why People Do Not Include Transcripts

Although there are obvious benefits to including transcripts with videos, there are also three common reasons that people still choose not to.

They Want to Increase the Video’s Viewing Count and/or the Video is Long

What if you want to have a video with a high viewing count, or the video is simply way to long to fully document by text? The simple solution to both of these concerns, while still getting the benefits of having a transcript, is to include a summary instead of a word by word documentation.

The Video is a Presentation, Demo, or Tutorial

What if the video is not just a discussion, but a presentation, tutorial, or demonstration. There are great examples of video + presentation form transcripts on the Market Samurai software site. If you look at their Introduction to Keyword Research, for example, you can either watch the 8 minute video or you scroll down and view the transcript that includes powerpoint slide images and informative text describing the keypoints.

The Video has No Text

What about photos slideshows, nature scenery, or other videos where there is no speaking? The transcript could simply be a play by play description, such as a description of each photo or notation of a particular event at a certain time in the video.

Tips for Video Transcripts

Want to get the most out of your video transcripts? Just use these simple tips to make your transcripts better for visitors and search engines.

Use Good Formatting

Transcripts, just like long articles, can look a bit overwhelming if proper formatting is not used. Remember to use headers to break up sections, bolding or italicizing to highlight keypoints, etc. to make the transcript easily browsable and readable.

Include Keywords

Make sure that the most valuable keywords and keyword phrases that represent your video are included in headers and bold text for the best search optimization, as well as to help visitors find the information they want the most.

Beyond Blog Posts and Pages

Have you considered leaving a short transcript for videos on video networks such as YouTube and Vimeo? Even though YouTube hides the description, it is all still in the source, providing some text for additional SEO value and information for video viewers who may like the video and want to know more (ie. great place to drop a link to your website, Twitter, etc.).

One favorite of mine that takes advantage of adding viewing tips, additional information about the subject, and links to their site is Kuroshio Sea – a video of the second largest acquarium in the world. Even though the links are nofollowed, I’m sure that out of the 1.7 million views there were people impressed enough to visit his site and follow him on Twitter.

Your Thoughts on Video Transcripts

Do you provide transcripts for your videos on your website, blog, or video channels? Have you seen the difference between posts or pages without a transcript as far as SERPs? What other benefits do you see for including text-based transcripts for your videos?

About the Author

Kristi Hines

Kristi is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter.