If you are looking for ways to make your videos more visible, don’t forget subtitles! There are more to subtitles than you might think. For instance, did you know that subtitles can help you increase video SEO? And more than this – subtitles have several functions that will help improve your overall video performance.
With a constantly growing audience for videos, it is no wonder that videos are the number one prioritised content online today, with extreme dominance and popularity on social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok. This success has led to a big interest in and development of video-editing software, with the aim to assist content creators in streamlining the process of video editing.
One of the video editing tasks that software can help you with is adding subtitles to your videos. Thanks to the revolution within advanced computer technology, including the invention of artificial intelligence, it has become possible to auto-generate subtitles with the use of AI subtitling software. But what are the actual advantages of subtitles, and how can we make sure that our subtitles come across in the most beneficial way?
When No One is Listening
It is true! Most often, no one is listening – to your videos. It might sound strange, but nowadays people actually watch videos on mute most of the time. It is not that no one cares to hear what is being said in videos, it is just an outcome of the digital world, where videos are watched on the go; on public transport, or at the cafe, and where it isn’t always convenient to turn on the audio.
So how do you convey your message when no one can hear you? You add subtitles. Subtitles unite the audible and visual content of your video and help you increase views and engagement rates, even when no one is listening.
Studies have shown that by adding subtitles to a video both comprehension, attention to, and memory of the video are significantly improved. Actually, the engagement rates can increase by up to 80%.
Including the One’s Hard of Hearing
You might think that only a minority of your viewers are deaf or hard of hearing. However, this is not the case! Today, an estimated 466 million people worldwide live with hearing difficulties – a number that is expected to increase to 700 million by 2050. In addition to this, 2.5 billion people are thought to have some degree of hearing loss. This raises the importance of adding subtitles, in order not to exclude and ignore this big category of viewers.
Subtitles Increase SEO
SEO has become a very important factor in today’s competitive landscape of online content. SEO is short for search engine optimization and refers to the ranking process of online content, carried out by several search engine machines, for example, Google. Search engine robots are used to regularly “crawl” web pages in order to detect ranking factors, such as keywords and engagement metrics. This way the search engines decide your page’s ranking and relevance in different search inquiries.
Unfortunately, when it comes to videos, search engine robots are not able to detect the visual and audible content of the video, and as a result, videos do not really count in SEO. But don’t worry, there is a way to get around this obstacle. If you add subtitles to your video with the presence of relevant keywords, search engine robots will be able to detect what your video is about, and that way your subtitles have created video SEO for your video, and your video will not be left out by the robots crawling your website.
Though, it is not of no importance which kind of subtitles you choose – it must be closed caption subtitles. This is the kind of subtitles that you add as a subtitle file to your chosen video platform. These subtitles can be turned on and off. Since they are uploaded as a separate subtitle file, the search engine robots will be able to “read” them. This will add video SEO to your video and strengthen your keyword profile.
The type of subtitles that will not help you obtain video SEO is what is called open caption subtitles. This type is burned onto your video, which means that they have become one entity, and cannot be turned off. These are the ones that are for example autogenerated by YouTube or Instagram when you upload your video. They are also referred to as hardcoded subtitles and can be just fine – if you are not looking to gain SEO.
When No One Understands
Furthermore, subtitles are often needed when you want to reach out to a global audience. Your content might be relevant to more than just the ones geographically close to you, so why let borders stop you from sharing your content?
By adding closed caption subtitles, you can add a selection of subtitles and different languages for your viewers to choose between. Technically, you can translate your subtitles into hundreds of different languages but choose the languages that will benefit both you and your viewers the most. This way you can globalise your brand and content.
How can AI Technology Help
Have you ever thought about how long it takes to manually type in subtitles? I can tell you that this is a really time-consuming process. Therefore, we can truly appreciate the incredible development within computer technology that has now made it possible to get automatically generated subtitles in barely any time. With some subtitling software, you can auto-subtitle 2 hours of video in just 20 minutes, and if you are mostly creating short videos, this is just a matter of a few minutes.
With the use of speech recognition and neural network algorithms, AI subtitling software can detect speech and transcribe it into subtitle text. A worry might be whether the software will reproduce the correct words in the subtitles. What if it mishears everything and you end up with a nonsense subtitle text? This is a valid concern to have, as AI software is not near and will most likely never be reaching the level of human intelligence. Although, when it comes to subtitling, the AI software is quite precise, as this is a manageable task for the software to carry out. In fact, it can actually transcribe speech to words with an accuracy of up to 98%. Therefore, AI subtitling software has become an essential tool to amplify the otherwise tedious process of adding subtitles manually.
When it comes to translation, AI software is less accurate, but only because translation by nature is a more complicated assignment than subtitling itself. Translation depends on lots of different language characteristics, and one word can have many different meanings in different contexts. AI software is more accurate than non-AI translation software, as where they translate word by word, the AI uses various language models with composition, structure, syntax, and grammar to compose and translate into the most plausible sentence. Also, the AI “remembers” errors and deviations happening along the way, and thereby is “learning” with every use.
This makes the AI translation software a useful tool, both for content creators looking to expand their audience globally, but also for assisting the work of professional translators.
Tips to optimise your subtitles
1# Create a blog just by recycling your subtitles. Download your subtitle text as a text file (SRT, VTT, TXT) and use it for a blog on your website or add it to the video description on your platform. This way you increase your keyword profile, and it will also be beneficial for comprehension of your video, including for learning purposes.
2# Remember to include your keywords in your speech, so that they will also be present in your subtitles. For the sake of SEO.
3# Make your keywords and your content a good match. This will help your content answer your viewers’ queries – and most likely decrease bouncing rates, meaning that your viewers will stay longer on your page to explore, rather than ‘bouncing’ away just as they have arrived. It is equally important in your search for better SEO.
4# Add closed caption subtitles to your videos. This is important if you are looking to gain SEO – since search engine robots can only detect your keywords if they are present in a separate subtitle file. The robots will not be able to detect subtitle text burned onto your video, and also they are not able to judge the visual and audible content of your video. For this reason, subtitles are a great way to achieve video SEO.
5# Insert a few extra keywords when no one is speaking. To increase your keyword profile and SEO, try to insert a few strategically placed keywords in your subtitles when no one is speaking.
6# Keep your subtitle layout simple and easy to read. When it comes to subtitles clarity is key. You can play around with your font style, as long as it is still easy to read and doesn’t overlap other important pictures or captions on the screen. Therefore position your subtitles at the button of the screen, choose a larger font size (standard is point size 22), and an easily readable font.
7# Less is more. Keep your subtitle cards short, so that viewers can easily read them. Try to do a maximum of 42 characters per subtitle card, equivalent to 6-7 words per line. Also, try to break your sentence where there would normally occur a sentence break.
Subtitles usually do not contain every word being said, since people tend to speak faster than they read. Just remember not to leave out your keywords.
8# Present your videos on a platform that allows you to upload subtitle files to your video. Preferably a fast-delivering video platform, so that your viewers can watch your videos without too much loading time.
 Deafness and hearing loss, April 2021, World health Organization https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss
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