closed captions help video SEO and UX
Using closed captions is one of the best ways to make sure your video is found and that users engage with it.
Put simply, closed captions allow the visitor to read the dialogue on screen, the files I produce to enable this are also read by search engines.
I’ve put an examples below from a construction industry video for apprentices.
Already viewed as the future of content, well lit, high quality video is greatly enhanced by closed captions, projecting a more professional image as well as attracting and helping to retain your audience.
It is worth noting the difference between closed and open captions. Closed captions can be turned on or off by the viewer whereas open captions cannot, as they are burnt into the video file. Generally, it could be considered preferable to give the viewer the choice.
Nowadays the default setting on most social media platforms is mute, with the user having to opt to turn the sound on. Many users choose not to because of their environment when browsing. A survey conducted in 2016 showed that 85% of videos on Facebook are viewed with the sound off. Including captions in this scenario will allow more users to stop and engage with a video rather than simply scrolling past. Captioned video therefore increases the likelihood and time users spend viewing a video, and adds to the levels of engagement and reach.
Accessibility is an obvious benefit of closed captioning, making videos available to those of us who are hard of hearing or deaf. It also benefits viewers who may not have English as a first language as research has shown that captions enhance understanding and clarity for these users.
Aside from the user experience, closed captioning greatly aids SEO. Video is search engine friendly but is normally indexed by title, description and tags because the video itself cannot be ‘read’. By manually adding captions Google’s crawlers can read the file enabling it to be found under a greater variety and depth of search terms, increasing its likelihood of being found and its relevance to the user.
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