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At the International Search Summit in May, Gary Illyes from Google revealed some intriguing insights into video SEO.
According to Gary, Google cannot read subtitles.
Yes, you heard that right – both caption files and burnt-in subtitles are completely unreadable to Google!
The same thing applies for voice-overs – Google cannot tell what language is being spoken in a video.
That means that they’re not used by the search engine to understand the contents of videos or rank them.
For international companies who make multiple versions of a video with different subtitles or voice-overs to target different countries, that’s bad news.
So, what does Google take into account when ranking videos?
According to Gary, Google takes two things into account when ranking videos: meta data and context.
Meta data means things like the video’s title, description and tags. Including a transcript of the video in the video description is recommended. This will not only tell Google what the video is about, but the language will identify the target market.
Context means other information included on a webpage that the video is embedded on. If you embed a video on a webpage, then the title, textual content, keywords and URL of that webpage will tell Google what the video is about and where its intended target market is.
So there you have it, advice from Google itself about the two most important things for video SEO: meta data and context!
Bear in mind that subtitles and voice-overs are still important to help the user understand the video, so they’re still important and add value. Just remember they won’t help your SEO.
Do you have any other video SEO tips? Let us know in the comments below!