YouTube Machine Transcriptions are often incorrect.

SEO Benefits of YouTube Audio Transcription

A fairly simple way to increase the search engine ranking of your YouTube videos is adding audio transcriptions to each individual video. Adding captions to your videos will transform unsearchable audio into text content that can give you an SEO boost.

While the Title, Description and Keywords should be the primary focus of optimizing your videos. Captions will make your videos more search engine friendly by adding an entire page of searchable text to each YouTube upload.

youtube transcription seo sample

Audio transcriptions will help with the SEO of your uploads and even allow searches to start playing when the search term is mentioned in the text.

In addition, adding a transcription will also add closed captioning to your videos. This will come in handy to those with disabilities or those who want to view your video with no sound. Since some users filter their YouTube searches for videos that have captioning, adding transcriptions will increase the likelihood those users see your videos first.

YouTube has a built in transcription application that will attempt to automatically transcribe your video. These “machine transcriptions” do not generally translate the audio 100% correctly, but they will give a properly formatted transcription-text file for you to add your own transcriptions.

So, here’s a step-by-step guide on adding transcriptions to YouTube videos the easy way.

1. If you have a lot of videos, and no time to transcribe them yourself. Look into hiring a transcription service. You can usually find one that will transcribe for $1-2 per minute.

2. In YouTube, open up the Video Manager and then select Captions.

3. On the Captions Page, click on “Machine Transcription.” If you haven’t uploaded a transcription file to your video before, it will be the only option.

youtube machine transcription page









4. The “Machine Transcription” is YouTube’s automated transcription of your video. While the time codes are usually accurate, the actual text will need to be corrected.

YouTube's Machine Transcriptions aren't usually 100% accurate

YouTube’s Machine Transcriptions aren’t usually 100% accurate









5. On the “Machine Transcription” page click the Download button. This will save a caption file or “.sbv” to your computer.

6. Open the plain text caption file in Notepad on a PC or TextEdit on a Mac. Since YouTube gives it a generic file name, I usually save it as the name of the video.

7. Go through each line of the caption file and edit accordingly. If you opted to have your videos pre-transcribed, just cross-reference to fix any errors. If not, play back the video and make the corrections yourself.

8. While you’re editing, also look for capitalization and spelling errors. While not of the utmost importance, it will make your captions look professional. Also, remove any specialized characters as this can interfere with the SEO.

9. Once you have your completed your edited caption file, return to the caption page on YouTube. Click on “Add New Captions or Transcript”

10. Browse to your “.sbv” caption file and click upload. Your captions have now been added to your video.

11. Watch your video one or two more times to ensure that the timing is correct and that you have corrected any errors.

Once you’ve completed those steps, you’re done! Make sure that your video’s title, description and keywords are also optimized to maximize your SEO.