Getting subtitles for your videos is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your videos for search, but it’s not immediately clear how to do this. Especially when all common video platforms have a slightly different approach to getting and adding subtitles. Once you’ve received the subtitles for your videos, you also need to make sure Google finds and reads the subtitles.

In this post, we’ll walk you through how to copy video, how to add these subtitles to your video, and how to optimize them for web search. These steps will help you make your videos more accessible and optimize them video SEO. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Get subtitles

The first step in adding and optimizing subtitles is to get the video actually copied. There are a few ways to do this. The right choice depends on how much time and budget you have available.

Write the video yourself

If you care primarily about resolution and you have the time, this is the surest way to ensure subtitles for your videos. You need to write the spoken text and mark the different speakers as characters. But you also need to target each sentence and sentence to the correct time codes. This guide is an excellent summary of all the steps required and how you can format the timecode correctly so that it can be exported as a .srt file (SubRip text – a clear text format used almost commonly for video subtitles).

Pay for a professional transcription service

This is the way to choose if you have less time but you have some budget. There are many excellent transcription services on the market and prices are usually $ 1-10 per minute. Depending on the level of guaranteed accuracy required. To get some suggestions: 3playmedia, Speedpad and Rev are all good options.

Use automatic transcription software

This is the way to choose if you want a quick and cheap solution. Tools such as Topics, Printand Description can all handle an impressive video or audio file and pull subtitles and timecodes almost instantly together. However, accuracy is usually not as good as services that include some sort of overview for people. Especially when using very technical or esoteric words, things can go wrong. However, combining automatic transcription with a human overview is an effective way to get the best of both worlds.

Download subtitles from YouTube

Very useful, YouTube automatically writes all videos uploaded to the platform. These appear in the subtitle menu of any YouTube Studio video. They are marked (automatically) to indicate that these are captions created by YouTube itself.

YouTube subtitle menu
YouTube subtitle menu

From this menu, you can edit (enhance) the captions or upload them as a .srt file, which you can import to any other video platform if necessary.

You may want to use this method if you are uploading a video to YouTube and do not want to pay for human-edited subtitles.

Step 2: Add subtitles to your videos

Once you have acquired the subtitles, the next challenge is to get the subtitles for the video itself. This allows them to be displayed on the video during playback. This not only helps accessibilitybut it also helps in the consumption of content when it is played automatically. As is common on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Each video platform has a slightly different way of adding captions to their videos, although the majority use the .srt text format. If subtitles are available in the .srt file, the next step in getting them to the video is quite simple. Here are instructions for all the major video platforms and social networks.


Go to the Edit menu for that video, then select subtitles. In this menu you can download the .srt file.


Subtitles can be added from the “Advanced” section of the “Distribution” menu of any video (see below). When you download captions, you need to set the language in advance.

Vimeo subtitle menu
Vimeo subtitle menu


Subtitles are commonly referred to as “subtitles” in YouTube’s taxonomy. That’s why YouTube Creator Studio has a section for subtitles. Here you can download new subtitles, edit automatically created subtitles and add new languages. Contains international title and description variations in the language.


For Facebook videos, you can download and adjust subtitles to the appropriate language via the “edit video” screen in the Video Manager. This is the best way to control it, because then all future messages in this video will contain subtitles.

Edit your video screen in Facebook Video Manager

Alternatively, when you upload a video from your personal account or only one-time, you can also add subtitles directly to the video of the message by clicking the “edit video” button in the menu once the message is published.

Then you can select “add captions” and download the .srt file.

how to add subtitles directly to a facebook video
Add subtitles directly to your Facebook video


Currently, subtitles are not directly part of the Instagram infrastructure. Instead, the forum wants you to use visual means to tell a story or take advantage of other visual elements and text that you add to the app. However, if you want to add captions to your Instagram video, you can burn subtitles directly to the video using a tool like Kapwing or wave. video.


As with Instagram, captions for Twitter videos cannot be downloaded via .srt files, except for videos shared as ads. The best way to get subtitles for a Twitter video is also to burn them to the video using composting.


On LinkedIn, .srt files can be downloaded for each video once the video has been downloaded (see below). They can only be in the native language of the video.

adding subtitles to your LinkedIn video
Upload subtitles to your LinkedIn videos once the video is downloaded

Step 3: Optimize subtitles for your search

Once you’ve added subtitles to your videos, the final step is to make sure Google finds and indexes them. Unfortunately, Googlebot Video isn’t smart enough to parse the embedded video player, find its associated subtitle file, and index its contents. So our challenge is to take the subtitles we downloaded into the videos and present them in a searchable format.

There are basically two ways Googlebot can read videotext. Either as HTML text or a formula notation using a transcription tag. In either case, time code information is not required, only the spoken text itself as plain text.

So your options are either to include subtitles in the page copy, as a custom page copy, or just to include the subtitles in the page metadata. The previous approach is often a better option for vlog or podcast recordings, for example. The latter approach may be more appropriate on a product page or in another case where video is not the only focus of the page. For more information on including transcripts in entries, click here this post on how you can optimize your video page!

Adding subtitles: an important part of video search engine optimization

In this post, we will cover the subtitles for your videos. Also known as subtitle formatting or subtitling. Adding these subtitles to your videos makes them easier to use, easier to digest, and optimized for Google and other search engines. If you want to do more to get your video in the search results, the Video SEO for WordPress plugin can help you get started:

Get videos in search results!

Make your videos eligible for Google Video Carousel and Google Video Search results!

Read more: Video SEO: How to Place Your Video on Google »


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