Easy Guide: Adding Captions to Your YouTube Videos

When it comes to online content, simplicity and connectivity are two of the most important factors that determine the success of a channel. Creating videos is the most effective way to engage viewers, however, content creators often neglect the aspect of having captions for their videos.

Captions serve a bevy of purposes; from helping to reinforce main points in the video to improving discoverability of the content in search engines. As a content creator, you would do well to provide captions for your YouTube videos if you are striving for a higher level of success with your channel.

Your viewers not only appreciate captions, but they also increase the watch time for each video and thus help to get your content out there. With the help of this guide, you will finally know how to get captions for your YouTube videos and nail your viewer engagement.

Why Should You Provide Captions for YouTube Videos?

There are multiple reasons why you should provide captioning to your YouTube videos. Aside from improving viewer engagement and reach, here are some of the top reasons why captioning your videos is beneficial:

1. Improves Accessibility:

As per accessibility requirements, captions help to make videos accessible to those who have hearing disabilities. YouTube has also made it so that captions are available for videos in different languages when you enable the closed captioning in the language’s settings.

2. Enhances Content Understanding:

Since captions include the dialogue of the video as well as speaker identification, captions help to improve the content understanding for viewers. This is crucial for highly informative videos or those which feature various concepts.

3. Improves Engagement and Watch Time:

Captions allow viewers to watch videos without sound, and this enhances viewership from people who cannot listen to sound due to their device or environment. This does wonders for both engagement and watch time, as well as reach of the video.

4. Greater Reach and Improved Search Results:

Captions also help to broaden the reach of the video. Many users like to search for keywords to find videos, and including captions in your video ensures that potential audiences find your content easily. Moreover, YouTube also looks favourably upon videos which are captioned, which means that it is more likely to rank higher in search results when it comes to those leveraging a specific keyword.

Now that you understand why captions are important, let’s take a look at how you can go about getting captions for your YouTube videos.

How to Get Captions for a YouTube Video

There are 4 different ways to get captions for a YouTube video, and the best way for you depends on the type of content you post.

1. Manual Captioning:

If you’re looking for a free option, manual captioning is a great way to add captions to your YouTube videos. You can save the text of your captions in any text editor and use YouTube’s built-in subtitles editor to add them to your video.

2. Automated captioning using YouTube Speech Recognition:

Another free option is the YouTube speech recognition feature which is available when you upload a video. Automatic captioning can be enabled for any video uploaded, and YouTube will transcribe the video. The quality of this transcription is often quite poor though, so you may need to delete and replace some parts manually.

3. Paid Automatic Captioning Services:

If you’re looking for higher-quality captions, you may want to consider paid automatic captioning services. There are many companies which offer captioning services, and these companies will transcribe the video for you. The costs are generally affordable, and you can have them transcribe the video in other languages as well.

4. Hiring Professional Captioners:

If you are looking for highly accurate captions, you may want to take the plunge and hire a professional captioner. Professional captioners are expensive, but they guarantee the highest accuracy and provide the best quality results.

Above are the different ways in which you can get captions for a YouTube video and ensure that your content is accessible and discoverable. However, captions are also beneficial for ensuring that your videos are search engine optimised.

How to Optimise Captions for SEO

Including captions in your videos can also help to boost your SEO efforts on YouTube as well as Google. The following tips can help you ensure that your video captions are optimised for SEO.

1. Utilise Relevant Targeted Keywords:

Ensure that the captions contain the same targeted keywords as the title and description, as this helps the search engine recognise that the video is indeed about the said topic, thereby helping to boost the ranking of the video.

2. Have a Conversation Flow:

Videos that have captions with a conversation flow often have more engagement and better rankings. This also helps to improve the watch time of the video, which is further beneficial for SEO.

3. Use Subtitles and Timestamps:

Utilise subtitles and timestamps to organise the video content in the captions and make them easier to read and understand. This helps search engines understand the video content better, and also helps viewers stay engaged with the video.

These are some of the ways in which you can optimise captions for SEO purposes. Optimised captions can help to draw attention to your videos and also ensure that your content is visible in search engine results.


Content creators often overlook the importance of captions, but adding captions to your YouTube videos is an incredible way to boost both engagement and watch time. Captions can also help to improve the search engine visibility of your videos and ensure that your content reaches the desired audience in an optimised manner. Keep these tips in mind while captioning your YouTube videos and you can expect to experience greater success on the platform.

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