How to get your podcasts and videos found by Google using transcripts

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Google is all powerful, however, its weakness along with the rest of the search engines is that it can not identify keywords from within audio and video content. This means that podcasts or video content will not be found online, and in terms of SEO, audio and video are, in effect, invisible except for the tags they have. 

Podcasts, which can be hosted on Buzzsprout or Libsyn, can be made into transcripts and show notes (which are basically a summary of the podcast itself). Transcripts are a timestamped file in an .SRT format. Buzzsprout has been promoting its integration with related platforms like Descript to autogenerate transcripts, which would then run alongside the audio content of the podcast, so people listening to a podcast could simultaneously read the text. It creates a teleprompter effect, similar to what you can do on Apple Music where the lyrics of a song are displayed as you’re listening to it. Of course, karaoke has been doing this for many, many years, and it’s a popular form of entertainment, especially in Asia. 

This idea of transcripts for audio and video is becoming mainstream, and it is possible to search on the internet for headlines, subheaders, or a sentence by typing it onto Google, but the transparency and searchability of the text would be the main goal with the use of transcripts. Google ads and other search engines have been incorporating image search, but it’s not quite there yet, meaning it is the same for video. By having a transcript, however, search engines can index podcasts which will help improve search visibility, because as anyone in the audio or video industry knows, it’s extremely hard to get that kind of content found and shared. Increasing the podcast show rank on the results pages can help with that issue, because the keywords in the podcasts and transcripts will appear. And if they’re hosted on a dedicated website, then the search engine page results for those individual websites will improve as well. 

For the listener, there’s an opportunity to find a quote or reference to a company or name, more so if they’re interested in something that was mentioned. It can be more easily clarified with a transcript. With Lately, they can produce snippets of video and audio transcripts and share them as little soundbites or video audiograms on social media. They break down long-form content and turn it into small pieces of legacy content that can be shared over time on social media platforms. 

These transcription platforms will get the job done for you

To add a transcript to a podcast or an audiogram, timestamps will be needed, which platforms like Otter, Descript, and Temi all provide in an .SRT file. Without timestamps, the podcast player can’t align the audio with the text. The same goes for Libsyn because once it’s made into an article, the timestamps are removed. The next part is not just a simple cutting and pasting of the transcript, but thinking of it as a blog. Now the challenge with that is the timestamps are removed, but they can be invisible, and when turning audio content into articles, it often needs to be paraphrased since the format of speaking would be different from the way something would be read. 

Prior to all of this, automation really is the key. This is where companies that produce both machine transcription and human transcription and then machine to human editing come in. For Temi, it’s $0.25 per minute, or you can choose to upgrade your package. That’s worth it if you’ve got sponsors, and if you’re just doing one or a few podcasts or meetings a month, then it’s really worth the investment, especially if it’s a business podcast. With Otter, it has a learning feature within the AI itself, and it only costs $8 per month for up to 6000 minutes which is usually more than enough for a regular person’s needs, even with all the meetings people are having. It’s available as an app on the phone, and it’s integrated with Zoom making it a very flexible and useful integrated AI transcription service. Another option is Descript, which has a free plan and a paid plan at $12 a month.

These different technologies for transcription will all create a file that can be exported as an .SRT file and then embedded within the podcast player. It can also be added to Youtube videos as show notes or subtitle files for your video, which is really useful. For clients in Asia, it’s common to translate foreign audio into an English language file while still keeping the timecodes. This gives viewers or listeners the option of English or, say, Mandarin subtitles, which is a lot cheaper than dubbing a voiceover. Coming back to the key reason for having subtitles, it’s because the search engines can’t find the content within the audio and the video, so it is best to publish that with timecodes and possibly using platforms like Lately to repurpose it and turn it into legacy content which will keep your social media alive. All in all, this is definitely a very cool and interesting development for anyone that’s got a lot of content that they want to repurpose and share.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from 9to5Google

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