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Leveraging Translations to Boost Video SEO

If you are translating your videos, transcripts, and subtitles into one or more languages to attract global audiences, you need to make sure you leverage this content for maximum search engine rankings.

Prior to applying these proven video SEO tactics, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your objective? Do you want more traffic to the landing page of your videos, or can they be viewed on other platforms, such as YouTube? Your answer will determine whether you need to post translated subtitles to YouTube, for instance.

  • How will audiences view your video? Will it be published on a particular platform or played through a specific video player? Answers to these questions will inform the format of your transcripts and subtitles.

  • What is your strategy for specific languages? Will you set up separate video pages for each language, as is considered a best practice? Which search engines will you focus on? Do you know the most effective keywords for each language?

Once you have your strategy outlined, you can transcribe your video and integrate subtitles or captions. Strongly consider using a transcription service to ensure error-free transcripts.

Next, you will need to find a reliable translation service that can accurately translate YouTube audio and transcripts into multiple languages. Check that the process used by the translation service accounts for “word swell.” A translation will often require more characters in another language as compared to English, and this has an effect on subtitle synchronization.

Once you have your translated transcripts, employ these tips to maximize SEO:

  • Landing pages - Publish an individual landing page for each translation. Create a URL that identifies what language the video is in so viewers can tell at a glance, for example,

  • Best practices - Apply the same best practices for video SEO to your translated videos as you do to your original ones. Use the page title, META tags, page descriptions, H1 and H2 tags, and alt text to optimize your page for indexing by search engines.

  • Video length - If your video lasts longer than five minutes, don’t place the transcript on the same page as the video. Also, break up the transcript into multiple pages to maximize SEO.

  • Interactive transcript - Work with your video translator or subtitle creator to produce an interactive transcript that enables viewers to search through the video by clicking on words in the transcript and jumping to that part of the video. Pair the interactive transcript with a plain transcript published on a separate page and coded with the <noscript> so it is not seen by viewers (just search engines).

  • Coding - Add video schema, the markup standard that enables metadata to be included with the page code. Viewers cannot see the schema markup, but search engines can, and it lets them know the subject matter of the video.

  • Subtitle translation – To maximize viewership, translate subtitles (or use a video subtitling service) and upload them to YouTube. The specific subtitle format for YouTube is SRT. Other video players use different subtitle formats.


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