Subtitles are no longer just useful for making videos understandable to an international audience. In 2021, subtitles are indispensable for search engine indexing, social media views and makes content accessible to a wider audience. Not the least important things! In this article we’ll discuss a few key points about why should you add subtitles to your videos?

Accessible for a wider audience

A famous quote from Tim Berners-Lee, one of the founders of the World Wide Web, says: “The strength of the Web lies in its universality. Access for everyone, regardless of disability, is an essential part of that.”

Globally there are over 1.5 billion deaf and hard of hearing people. Video content must also be made understandable for this group of people. Subtitles offer a good solution for this. YouTube tries to do provide your videos with automatic transcription. Unfortunately, YouTube is not yet able to do this for all languages. As a result, the automatic subtitles can be incorrect and sometimes totally incomprehensible.

The term ‘closed’ indicates that the subtitles are not visible until they have been activated by the viewer. On the other hand, ‘open’, ’embedded’, or ‘hardcoded’ subtitles are visible to all viewers because they are embedded in a video.

More views on social media

More than 85 percent of videos on Facebook are viewed without audio. The auto-play feature ensures that videos are automatically played when a user scrolls past them. It’s therefore very important to provide these videos with subtitles. The attention of the visitor is easily caught this way. It also ensures that visitors can still watch the video when they are on public transport or in a library, for example.

Just like YouTube, Facebook now also gives the option of uploading a separate subtitle file (.srt). Visitors who watch a video without sound will then see subtitles automatically. Visitors who watch a video with sound must turn on the subtitles to see them.

Better findability and indexing

YouTube is the second largest search engine and Google increasingly includes video results in its search results. A good title, description and tags added to a video are therefore very important. However, Google and YouTube also use subtitles to determine the content of videos and thus their ranking in search results. Subtitles are therefore also an excellent way of increasing the findability of a video.

And it only gets really interesting when you start working with search terms. Do research on keywords and make sure that the spoken text of a video contains the most important keywords for a brand or product. It is also advisable to place full subtitles in the description of a video.

Think carefully about the purpose and platform of the video and make a choice between the two on that basis. If the video is intended for YouTube and social media, closed captioning is recommended. Closed caption works with a separate text file (.srt). This file is easy to adapt, is included by search engines and the user can choose whether