PBS Transcribes Thousands Of Hours Of Video To Improve Search Rankings

Despite the changes Google has made over the years to reading various forms of information, video and audio still do not get as much play as text-based information in the search results. So to improve their search rankings, PBS has transcribed thousands of hours of their video content.

PBS used Ramp's MediaCloud to do the initial transcriptions and then went through the results checking names and other industry-specific terms. Nieman Journalism Labs reported.

"Video is now more Google-friendly," Jon Brendsel, PBS's vice president of product development told Nieman. Normally, automatic transcription is laughably bad -- Google Voice users know this -- but Brendsel is satisfied with the results of PBS' transcription efforts. He said the accuracy rate is about 80 to 90 percent. That's "much better than the quality that I normally attribute to closed captioning," he said. The software can get away with mistakes because the transcripts are being read by computers, not people. (For a hefty fee, the content-optimization platform RAMP will put its humans to work to review and refine the auto-generated transcripts).

The results are now worked in to the on site search results at PBS.com and the company should soon see how Google likes this form of information.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.