Tag Archives: training

Smart YouTube Video Captions Improve On-Page SEO

YouTube added automatic captions this year and it’s an important feature for several reasons.  If you’re not familiar with video captions, it is basically the transcript of the video dialog or narration shown at the bottom of the screen.  In the past you would have to supply the caption copy or pay someone to do it. Now YouTube automatically creates captions when you upload videos.

Why Video Captions are Important

Video captions were created for hearing impared but have a huge amount of digital utility.  By capturing the transcript as text you can append blog posts and webpages that have video embedded on the page.  The transcript copy provides additional on page SEO value.  By placing that trascript copy on the page and optimizing for links and search you’ve enhanced the page with what Google likes to see:  authentic, original content with rich media and a scannable text of the video content.

Using YouTube video captions you can boost your blog SEO.
Video captions now appear in the video manager on the Captions tab.

The first step is to review and clean up your transcript.  YouTube will attempt to understand your narration or spoken word but it’s not 100% accurate.  In fact depending on your sound quality, background music or any noise that is happening on the footage you may find it to be total gibberish.

Now come the time intensive part of the process, cleaning up the gobbly-gook speak.  Depending on the length of your video and how much of it is narrative versus music or other non-spoken noise this can range from 15 minutes to a few hours.  Short 1-2 minute videos have taken me about 30-45 minutes to clean up and review.  The process is basic in that you have to review the captions while listening to the audio.  Where there are errors you can edit the copy in the captions window.

Once you’ve updated all the captions, review it once again.  After the copy is clean here comes the easy part.  YouTube offers you the ability to download the captions as with timecodes formatted.  I download the file and then open it in a simple text editor and clean out the timecodes and extra spaces and line breaks. See the video below for an overview of the process.

Video Captions SEO Benefit

Simply copy and paste this text into your blog post or page.  Where you put it depends on the page.  For blog posts I typically put it below the video with a heading of Video Transcript.  Sometimes I use blockquotes and you can even add names and titles if you want. Here is the blog post about Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts that I used in the video demo above.

Final touches include links within the transcript copy to other pages, partner sites, social profiles, blogs, etc.  Now your page had not only the rich media of video but the underlying message is more SEO friendly to attract organic search visitors.

But the benefits of the captions don’t end there.  Some organizations, public institutions and others are now requiring captions on any content they approve.  So if your video is a user story for a public sector company or government agency, you may be required to show captions or have them turned on automatically during playback.

There are probably other great uses for the captions once  you’ve cleaned them up.  If you’ve found any other uses please share in the comments.

Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors Infographic

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors

This is a great infographic from Search Engine Land that demonstrates all the different touchpoints and components of SEO ranking. What I like about this image is that it communicates how the relationships and order of importance between the different working parts for prioritization and strategy alignment. Both on the page and off the page SEO ranking factors are grouped as well as violations and blocking. You can also view the full size table with more explanation of the different SEO ranking element symbols.

Search Engine Land has also created links from all the table elements to great information on best practices, how to guides and other posts for a complete SEO ranking manual. I find that this graphic is good for introducing SEO ranking concepts as well as planning and strategy development. The graphic links to the full SEO guide of tips and tutorials. This is a great starting point for anyone that wants to learn about how SEO works.

3 Awesome WordPress Plugins for SEO, Links and Personalization

Wordpress Plugins

Awesome WordPress Plugins

If you use WordPress for a small to medium sized business website then this post is for you. Over the past several months I have discovered some awesome WordPress plugins that can help you with your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), link management and create custom pages with dynamic widget management.

WordPress SEO Plugin

WordPress SEO is a great plugin to help with all the SEO work you need to do on your site. I first heard about this from local SEO guru Phil Buckley (@1918) and have been found it to be one of the best SEO tools I’ve used. Just this week a new release was announced and available that makes this plugin even better. WordPress SEO allows you to change the meta keywords and descriptions and other tags that search engines crawl and index on your site. But where it really adds value is by performing analysis on how well you focused on the keyword you want to be listed under. The latest release is now paired with Linkdex for enhanced analysis that reviews your post and gives you feedback on how to tweet your page for maximum optimization. This allows you to go back and edit the specific areas to focus more on what keyword you are wanting to show up for in search results.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Page Analysis with Linkdex
Yoast WordPress SEO Page Analysis Screen with Linkdex

Broken Link Checker Plugin

The second WordPress plugin I’ve found useful is Broken Link Checker. Finding broken links is a never-ending task and this WordPress plugin does all the hard work for you. It detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects and will alert you via the WordPress dashboard or email.  There are several options for page and posts types and you can prevent search engines from following broken links as well.  The interface cleanly lists all broken links and allows you to edit, update or remove the link depending on the circumstances.  I use this to find any broken internal links that may have happened from archiving or changing URLs as well as any links on other sites that have changed.  You can also scan the link source for links that are not really broken like older tweets that have been archived from Twitter and other sites.

Broken Link Checker WordPress Plugin Screen
Broken Link Checker Plugin Screen

Dynamic Widgets Plugin

Creating a personalized experience is key to website design and conversion optimization. With the Dynamic Widgets WordPress plugin you can do just that. This plugin allows you to choose which pages that specific widgets will appear on the page.  The settings are very robust and can be set according to user roles, dates, pages, categories and Buddypress groups to name a few.  These options allow you to set  default and custom settings for specific widgets.  For example if you want to cross sell on a landing or conversion page you can set those widgets to appear on those pages and any child pages.  Using this tool requires some level of widget modeling and you may find it necessary to develop a chart that lists what widgets should appear on what pages depending on your specific criteria.  It takes some work to get it all setup but in the end it is worth it.

Dynamic Widgets plugin screen
Dynamic Widgets plugin screen

I hope you find these WordPress plugins as valuable as I have. What are some of the WordPress plugins that you have found to be helpful?

What’s Your Training ROI?

I had a great meeting with a training company today. We discussed many topics but one of the points that really hit home with me was when they stated that companies want to measure training ROI during economic downturns. Many times training gets cut much like marketing and the investment in the future opportunity is lost.

TrainingI’ve worked for many companies in my career and only one sticks out in my mind that got training right. I was the Marketing Director for Huffman Corporation a small manufacturer in Clover, SC, about 30 miles southwest of Charlotte. Huffman made multi-axis, superabrasive machinery that made parts for aircraft engines, turbines and other heavy metal parts. Huffman had a training policy that allotted and required each employee to take 40 hours of training each year.

At prior employers training was only mandated if there was a new product or service purchased and no one knew how to use it. Usually it required so much approval to get funding for training that either the dates passed or you got tired of explaining 17 ways to Sunday why it’s important for you to take the training. So when I heard that my company would give me a week of training I was ecstatic and a bit skeptical. However there were no tricks to this gift. The training had to be relevant to your work.

So I took two classes that year, one in HTML and the other in Microsoft Access. Both classes gave me the basic understanding of the technology and applications that I needed to build new tools (remember this was 1998 and web sites and CRM were new). Within a few months I had built a ROI database to measure all of my marketing leads and redesigned some pages for the company site. The training was not expensive, probably around $600 total.

My excitement came when I showed the company president my lead tracking reports generated from my database. He asked where I generated it from and I replied that I created the database using Access after my training. His eyes lit up because this was exactly why he created the training policy in the first place. The ROI was right in front of him.

Now many people view training as time to get out of the office. I’ve even heard it mentioned as vacation by some. These are the people who will end up asking you how to use the new technology once it’s implemented since they did not embrace the educational opportunity. These are the people that are checking email and surfing the web during training.

Other times I’ve had company management ask me to take training and then come back and train the rest of the team. This usually fails due to several reasons. I’m not a corporate trainer and I tend to get frustrated when people don’t learn as fast as me. With software I tend to quickly grasp the concepts and dive into the tools features and functionality. Those who are slower will drown in my wake!

Another reason it failed is because I usually don’t have time to customize and prepare training materials. Having examples to demonstrate how the tool works is vital to showing users standard approaches and best practices. Either way going cheap on training will cost you in productivity, quality and important customer engagements.

Therefore you’re ROI in training for important tools and technology is the same as your ROI in marketing. It’s an investment in your people; infrastructure and processes that managed correctly will pay dividends for years to come. If you expect a quick return on training you are only looking at half of the picture. Yes your staff comes back from training ready to use the new tool but initially there is some time investment in starting or changing the process.

How do you measure ROI for your training? Do you have to approve staff training or does it go through HR? Does your company have a training policy?