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Does a Video Transcript Count as Duplicate Content?Published by James Parsons • Category: Content Marketing

One of the best ways to get your site, product or brand noticed is through a video. However, you also want people to understand your video and add in optimized content with a transcript. People often wonder if this counts as duplicate content. The simple truth is that video transcripts do not count as duplicate content, and they should be included as part of a search optimization strategy. Cisco conducted a study that showed 90% of content would be video by the end of 2013. Whether you are creating webinars, news commentary, product reviews or video demonstrations, it’s important to include a transcript to inform viewers and show up in search results for certain keywords. These are some different ways to approach a video transcript for the most traffic and successful shares across social media.

Transcript on Landing Page

Wherever your viewers go to see a video, the transcript should also be in the body of that page. You can place the full text of the video right underneath the video. This method is easy and allows viewers to quickly peruse over the content and then check out the video for clarification. However, video transcripts can be quite lengthy, and Google may classify your page as a text page if there is too much text. Video pages show snippets and a thumbnail in Google, which is valuable search result real estate. Getting around this can be quite simple.

Add Transcript on a Separate Page

If you want to add a transcript but ensure that your page is seen as video and not text, it’s best to include a link to a transcript in the description or the short body of text beneath your video. In addition, adding a transcript to a second page allows for more linking opportunities. You can add links on your video page to transcript pages and vice versa. You can also add keywords into the transcript to link back to your products, sites and social media.

Use Interactive Transcripts or Captions


Some video hosting sites allow you to use an interactive caption or transcript that is embedded below or next to the video. These typically use a JavaScript plugin to show a scrolling transcript that lets users find keywords or click on words to jump to specific parts of a video. You can also add <noscript> tags to these embedded transcripts so that they are easily understood by search engine crawlers and allow bots to easily find your script.

Make Sure Google Sees Your Script

Search engines are able to index transcripts only when they are visible when someone views the web page source. Google can’t index a transcript if it can’t read it, so if it’s not in the “view page source” when you right click a page, then it’s likely search engines can’t see your transcript.

If you decide to use a JavaScript interactive transcript, it won’t be visible to search engines because it’s not actually on your webpage. You can fix that by placing the text of the transcript in a <noscript> tag that shows up after your video. These tags allow you to display content that shows after JavaScript has been disabled. While most users have updated their browsers to view JavaScript, the others can see still the transcript if you use the “no script” tag as well.

The New Way to Add Video Transcripts: Video Markup Schema

Google along with other search engines like Yahoo and Bing decided to support last year with video markup. This allows anyone publishing a video to add metadata directly into the body of HTML. Schema markup isn’t visible to users, but it can be searched by search engines.

The schema markup for video users VideoObject to help Google crawlers know what your video content is about. There are a number of tags that a VideoObject supports like adding a transcript.

If you decide to add schema markup, you can have multiple videos on a single web page with different transcripts attached to each. While it’s better if you create a separate page for each video, you could work around that by using schema markup.

HTML5 Video Captions


Another trending way to add transcripts is through responsive, HTML5 video captions. HTML5 was a major leap forward in web design and allowed for responsive design that could be seen on mobile devices and all types of browsers. Currently HTML5 supports video without needing any type of third party plugins such as JavaScript. Videos can be added to a web page with a simple <video> element, which makes it as easy as adding an image. You can then use the <track> element to display a closed caption, video description, chapter markers, subtitles and so forth.

Many video experts are adding transcripts to the captions. One of the benefits of this method is that you add captions into the metadata of the video, which quickly allows search engine crawlers to understand and index your content appropriately. In fact, search engines can even point to specific times of your video if you use HTML5.

While <video> tags are supported in most of the popular browsers, the <track> element has not reached far enough to be fully operable for marketing purposes. Browser developers are working on a solution and hope to adopt this functionality in the future. More browsers should update for this functionality in 2014.

Use Shortened Transcript Method

If you want to add a transcript, but your word-for-word transcript is too long, consider shortening your transcript to be easily read by your viewers and search engines. You can break up the steps in the video using headings and bullet lists. Your shortened can point out the more important parts of the video and allow readers to play the video for more detailed feedback or demonstration on parts of your transcript that they don’t understand. You should be careful when shortening your transcript, however. The body of your article shouldn’t exceed 300 words in order to still appear as a video page in Google.

When Video Content is Considered Duplicated

While placing a transcript beneath or beside your video is not considered duplicated, it would be considered duplicated if you posted your transcript word for word on another webpage. To ensure that your video content isn’t duplicated, you should always check Copyscape and search for key phrases of your transcript of it has been posted. If you find that it has been duplicated, you should report it right away to avoid any confusion and penalties from search engine.

Posting a video with a transcript is a necessary part of SEO strategy, but it’s important to format and use your transcript correctly for your audience. When deciding on how to present your transcript, think about your viewers first and what they would most like to read. If you think they are mostly looking for a short how-to or demonstration, then you should include a short paragraph with a few highlights instead of a long transcript. You can still include keywords and get your video ranked using SEO strategies if your description is shorter.


Written by James Parsons

James Parsons

James is a content marketing and SEO professional who enjoys the challenge of driving sales through blogging while creating awesome and useful content.


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