Uploading a YouTube video can be of great benefit for an organization, as links from YouTube carry great weight with search engines. But placing all of this SEO-able content on in a video has its drawbacks, as well. For example, how can spoken words be tracked in Google, or any search engine for that matter?
Well, the folks at Google (owners of YouTube) have obviously been thinking about this question, too. And this past weekend, they began rolling out two new captioning features that could propel YouTube to an even more strategic position for marketers.
First, they introduced automatic timing, which makes it far quicker and easier to provide a closed-captioned version of a video than ever before. You simply upload a text transcript file of your video, and YouTube‘s experimental speech recognition technology provides automatic timing, which matches your text transcript to the speech it has recognized to synch the words and the video. There’s no longer a need for captioning software or time-consuming synchs, so long as the video is accompanied by audio of reasonable quality. It requires very little markup besides the text and references to pauses or music, placing its use within the reach of about anyone with a will to get it done.
Let’s look at a few of the ways this automatic timing of captioning add value to YouTube videos. First, it expands the audience to include those with hearing impairments. Second, it further expands the audience by making your video “office-appropriate” even in office environments where speakers or headphones are not acceptable. And finally, it provides SEO for all of the spoken word. I can see each of these creating tremendous new opportunities.
If that’s not enough, the folks at YouTube have taken things one step further, providing fully automated captioning. Rolled out on select channels at this time, voice recognition is put into use to provide fully automated captioning – no transcript needed. Voice recognition advances have made this possible, though don’t expect 100% transcription accuracy. YouTube promises improved accuracy with time.
When will this all be available? YouTube‘s Auto-Timing feature is available to all today. Auto-Captioning is available immediately on a range of educational channels. According to the YouTube Blog, “in time, (they) hope to expand this feature to many more YouTube videos”.
Our take on things: YouTube is already the #2 search engine (behind parent Google). And it is already an invaluable tool for companies doing business on the web. These new technologies only increase the power of YouTube. A little extra work in creating a transcript of the video could provide significant benefits. Don’t overlook this. Paying attention to details like these may just be what propels you past your competition.