January 07, 2016 By Robin Walters

Attention Marketing: Closed Captioning Increases SEO

SEO benefits of closed captioning
Attention marketers—closed captioning increases SEO: Search traffic, page views, search rank and engagement goes up when you caption.

There’s been some debate lately about whether search engine optimization (SEO) is dead. It’s true that millennials are splitting their searches between the traditional Google and a host of other topic-specific sites that share consumer ratings of products and services. These days, millennials want to know what their friends think about a service before buying.

But search engines are still relevant across all demographic categories—it’s just how we target our efforts to achieve SEO that has changed. Ten years ago SEO was all about keyword stuffing, which favored repetition of specific words over any other technique to build search rankings. To say that the quality of online content suffered is probably the understatement of the decade!

Search engines have adapted to this blatant manipulation by changing their search algorithms. If you’re still focused on keyword stuffers, you may find your content so low in Google rankings that you might as well just pull the plug on your web site entirely.

Video SEO is Increasingly Important

Today, SEO is about the quality of your content. If you have great content and then add video to the mix your SEO will blow up.

Consider this:

  • By 2017 74% of all online content will be video.
  • B2B and B2C marketing executives name video as one of the top three most effective social media tactics today.
  • 93% of marketers use video to reach customers.
  • 85% of Internet users in the U.S. view online videos regularly.
  • Online video consumption continues to accelerate across all streaming platforms.

Who’s watching video?


Including the 48 million Americans who are deaf or hearing challenged.

Marketing departments are increasingly tasked with:

  • Reaching everyone online—including the hearing impaired, and
  • Increasing SEO

Closed captioning online video content solves both of these problems.


Closed Captioning—Still the Best “Trick” for Increasing SEO

While many organizations seem to view closed captioning video content as simply a federal requirement, studies are showing us that closed captioning increases SEO.

Consider this:

  • A few years ago Discovery Digital Networks added captioning to their YouTube channel. Their methodical 16-month study of videos across eight channels showed that adding closed captioning increased YouTube views by 7.32%.
  • Weekly public radio series This American Life tracked data for 36-months after transcribing their audio archives. After transcription, search traffic increased 6.68%, and 7.23% of all viewers read at least one transcript from the series. The number of unique visitors entering their website increased by 4.36% and 4.18% of all these viewers entered the site via the transcription page. (Source)

In addition to helping you reach a hearing impaired audience, closed captions are a supplier of words for SEO. Adding closed captioning to your video content will increase ROI and accelerate your site to the top of the heap. Savvy marketers understand that closed captioning:

  • Increases search traffic
  • Increases page views
  • Improves search rankings
  • Improves audience engagement

If you haven’t captioned that backlog of YouTube videos yet, now might be the time.

2016 SEO marketing trends predict that consumers are going to increasingly look for the best content on video. In fact, when it comes to ROI, Forbes states that video content will actually surpass written content next year.

Clearly SEO trends and consumer needs both point to closed captioning video content as the best way to to improve your organization’s place in the digital stream.

Robin Walters

Robin is the Business Development Manager for CaptionLabs. She has a master’s degree in marketing/communications and 20 years experience in marketing and sales. Robin is also a writer, artist, organic farmer and pet parent of five dogs, three cats and a bird in her “free time”—not that she really has any. Whether you need help with captioning, want to discuss the best variety of tomato to grow, or need help with dog training, Robin can probably help.

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