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.