Did you know that transcribing audio and video content can directly improve SEO? I’m talking about all those podcasts, webinars, and videos that you must be putting out on the regular. It turns out, when you transcribe these media and post them alongside your content, you get some quick SEO benefits.
The search engine giant’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller confirmed as much when he said that providing transcripts will improve the indexing and searchability of audiovisual content.
Benefits Of Transcribing Multimedia Content: From SEO to Beyond
SEO benefits aside, transcripts also improve accessibility, especially for users with poor internet and can’t properly load the audiovisual content, or users with hearing or visual problems. You can even repurpose transcripts into other types of material, such as new articles, slide presentations, or social media posts.
Still, some webmasters neglect to put out transcripts for their multimedia content for one reason or another; mostly, they point to the understandable reason of budget and time constraints.
But when Google says that transcriptions can directly improve your SEO, you listen.
Some cases in point:
- After transcribing all their audio content, the radio show This American Life (TAL) found that 6.68% of search traffic is attributable to transcripts.
As it turns out, of all the unique visitors of TAL who found their site through search, a portion of those had landed on a transcript page. The transcript pages also contributed to a 4.36% increase in inbound traffic and a 3.89% increase in inbound links.
- Two more studies found that pages that added transcripts earned on average 16% more revenue than those without; meanwhile, Youtube videos that added captions gained 7.32% more views overall.
So from this, we can all agree: transcription is not just a nice-to-have—it is a valid SEO tactic.
And now this brings us to the heart of this article: How can you transcribe within budget?
Let us count the ways.
Automated, Manual, And DIY Transcription Processes
There are three primary processes to transcribe audio and video: automated, manual, and Do-It-Yourself (DIY).
Automated transcription tools include audio or speech-to-text recognition technology, transcription software, and Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs for transcription.
In a nutshell, what these technologies promise to do is automatically produce text from audio.
Presently, however, these tools can’t yet deliver 100% accuracy and still need human intervention to produce usable results. If you try Youtube’s real-time captioning settings, you’ll see what I mean.
For example, most inaccuracies in automated transcriptions can be caused by heavy accents, mispronunciation, inaudible speech, background noise, overlapping sounds, dialect, and slang. In these cases, a professional transcriptionist must still go through the text to clean it up for things a software just can’t understand.
As technologies improve, we might see better tools come up. But if you have a tool that can produce automated transcriptions with at least 80% to 96% accuracy, then that’s definitely a lot of time saved, even if you have to clean it up afterward.
Manual transcription, on the other hand, is when a human does all the transcription work without the aid of any software. This usually means typing everything out as you hear it and the only tool you’ll need is a text editor.
Accuracy for manual transcriptions used to be typically higher. However, state-of-the-art tools that use machine learning, AI, and segmentation techniques can now produce transcriptions with roughly the same error rate as humans can.
Companies usually divide the work between two or more people to finish transcription projects faster. For example, an hour-long podcast that needs to be transcribed and delivered in one day can be done simultaneously by four people with 25-minute segments each.
However, in situations where you can’t just saddle four people in your team with a single project or you simply can’t afford it, there is such a thing as a do-it-yourself transcription.
Apparently, this means you will have to do all the work yourself.
Whether you’ll be relying on one process or a combination of these will depend on your current situation and resources.
In any case, below is a list I gathered of eight ways that you can transcribe your audio and video content.
8 Ways To Transcribe Audio & Video Content For Quick Seo Benefits
1. Free Online Transcription Tools
One Way To Transcribe Audio Clips or video recordings is to use free online transcription tools.
These are easy to find as you can simply Google “free online transcription tools” and you’ll be swimming in a myriad of choices, such as oTranscribe, Trint, and Speechlogger, among others.
Google Docs also comes with its own free, online transcription system called Google Voice Typing.
To access, just go to Google Docs > Tools > Voice Typing or simply hit Ctrl + Shift + S.
Below is a test I did, using a common poem and a general conversation script.
As you can see, it’s almost at a hundred percent accuracy.
But this is only when you speak as slowly and clearly as you can.
In most other cases where you have no control of your speakers, these free online transcription tools can still be riddled with limitations. So these apps may work best when you’re the one dictating, but can then fail spectacularly when you try to use it on recorded audio.
So a word of caution: always proofread any transcribed text, especially auto-generated ones.
Why is this important?
Not only did Google specify in their guidelines to avoid “automatically generated content,” but they also have strict penalties for any content they deem as “spammy.” And yes, poorly made transcriptions (especially the auto-generated kind which, unedited, can be quite off-kilter) may be tagged as spam—even if you used Google’s own Voice Typing software to concoct them.
Another thing to note: online transcription tools need you to be connected to the Internet the whole time you’re using them; so if you’re an on-the-go freelancer who typically has connectivity issues, that’s something to think about when deciding what to use.
2. Free Desktop Transcription Software
These tools are basically the same as number one. The main difference is, you can download and install these tools on your computer so you can work even with no internet.
Some examples of free desktop transcription software are Transcriber, Express Scribe, and MacSpeechScribe.
3. Use Youtube’s Automatic Captioning
Now I know I did say Youtube’s automatic captioning can at times be disappointing.
Here’s a classic example of Youtube captioning at work, via Variety.com.
It’s a pretty embarrassing mistake. And if you’re a business owner, you don’t want those kinds of errors to turn your company into a laughingstock.
However, for some videos that have good, clear audio, a speaker with a well-modulated voice, perfect pronunciation, neutral accent, and moderate talking speed, the accuracy is actually pretty good.
You can also source subtitles and captions from the Youtube community by turning on the community contributions settings. Here is Youtube’s official tutorial on how to do that: