Reaching All Audiences on YouTube with Optimized Closed Captioning

In our last post we took a closer look at YouTube Channel Optimization. Now it's time to take a closer look at Reaching All Audiences with the help of Closed Captioning.

Reaching All Audiences

Strategy Overview

  • Caption your videos to ensure they are accessible to any viewer. Create dedicated content to create a localized experience.

Why It Works

  • Captioning makes your videos accessible to more viewers, increases video indexability, and localized content unlocks new audiences.

How To Do It

  • Use online tools to create captions for your videos. Leverage your original channel expertise to launch in a new territory.


  • Views, Subscribers, Engagement, Community Activity.

Strategy Details

YouTube is a global platform - your audience can watch from anywhere in the world. Take extra steps to help your content appeal to broader audiences, including viewers who are hard-of-hearing and foreign language speakers.

Closed Captioning

  • Over 5% of the world’s population (360 million) has disabling hearing loss*. Use YouTube’s features to help ensure your videos are accessible.
  • The Transcribe and Sync tool can speed up caption creation. Select this option when adding a new track in Captions Manager, and write out all the audio in your video. YouTube will auto-sync the timing to match the speech.
  • Edit automatically generated captions using the Captions Editor (both these tools are currently available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).
  • You can also upload caption files in any language, this is especially important if you are targeting multi-lingual areas, or other countries.

Multi-Lingual Closed Captioning

  • If you upload a caption track on your video, viewers can enable translation directly in the player. This will automatically translate your track into one of 58 languages (variable accuracy).
  • Once you have a caption track, take advantage of the Google Translator Toolkit. Access this by selecting ‘Request Translation’ when adding a new track.
  • Here you can order translations directly from an external vendor translate captions yourself or invite contacts to create and edit captions in the languages they speak.

Closed Captioning Increases Visibility and Discoverability

  • Providing a caption not only makes your work accessible to a wider audience, it also acts as additional metadata that helps your video show up in more places on the site.
  • If your video is captioned for multiple languages, it will also be searchable in those languages.
  • However, only caption tracks that have been uploaded/created are searchable - captions automatically translated within the player are not indexed.

Experiment with using different languages for titles, tags and descriptions. This can help improve discoverability through search terms.

Internationalization – Launching a Local Channel

A separate local channel is a great opportunity to create a dedicated experience for viewers who speak another language. Use YouTube Analytics to find out where your channel might already be attracting an audience to assess a new channel’s potential.

  • Ensure you can devote enough resources to launch and maintain a brand new channel. Can you upload on a regular schedule and give viewers a reason to come back?
  • Listen to your community, and use the Top Fans feature to ask directly for feedback about a new channel.
  • Identify and follow local trends to develop your content. Use YouTube Trends to find out what is trending in the market you want to reach.
  • Involving a local partner in creating, hosting and promoting your content can be a great way to become more visible to a local audience. Build relationships and trade your successful existing content for local expertise and exposure.
  • Use your original channel to drive viewers to your new offering using tools such as annotations and the channel description.

In our next post we'll take a closer look at The On-Site Use of Videos and gaining accreditation for your YouTube video in the SERP's.


Post Script: This content originally appeared on the YouTube Playbook - We have included it here as part of this series because we believe it is relevant and adds value to this series, and this series adds value to the playbook. It is not intended to indicate that we are the original author of this specific part of the Video SEO Playbook.... So, yeah, Google please don't sue me. That'd be swell! Thanks.





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