Quality vs. quantity can be a tough decision when transcribing your recorded content. Which one does Google favor?
Dave: So, related to this, and it may not exactly be related to this, but one of the things for our HireMyVA site, we’ve got like 150 podcast episodes. And we’ve transcribed them all. So, what we do is we use Spoke to automatically transcribe it. Then, what we do is I have one of my VAs go in and kind of clean it up because it’s not perfect.
Dave: And then we post that on the page where we’ve got the video, the audio, and then the transcription. We’ve decided to add to that. We would start adding a few quick summary points above that. So, I guess I am wondering, are we wasting our time cleaning up automatic transcriptions? And then, and even posting those, maybe we’re better off just saying let’s do a thousand-word summary and leave it at that or something like that?
David: So, I have exact experience in this, in the sense that we’ve been recording these Office Hours videos and throwing transcripts of them on Curious Ants for a couple of years now.
David: At first, my attitude was, I just want to get the transcript on the page at the video. Because some content, even if it’s not great, is better than no content.
David: From an SEO perspective. I read something. I think it might’ve been the idea that Google doesn’t like automation. But there’s something else. I think John Mueller said it, maybe about a year ago. And it made me think that Google might be considering that low-quality content because some of the transcripts were really bad.
Dave: Well, did you guys go in and clean it up at all?
David: Yes, I did.
David: And guess what happened? I got a lot more traffic.
David: So right now, we do not publish a transcript unless it’s been edited.
David: And then I’m gradually going back into the old ones and updating those to at least make some sense. And so, in some cases, I will just have a paragraph or two that is a summary. In other cases, I will pay someone to really polish that transcript. This is how I met Youssef.
Youssef: I was thinking about that.
David: Youssef was originally hired to polish the transcripts.
Youssef: Yeah. I was also interested in SEO, and David was looking for someone to build links. And yeah, we went from there.
David: Yeah. So, I think the way you’re describing you’re doing it, Dave, is the right way because you’re polishing it. If you just left the automation, at best, Google’s just going to ignore it. Right? Which means why bother even publishing it?
Dave: Yeah. Hopefully, it would be helpful for somebody. And the reason for at least doing a machine-automated one would be, well, I don’t have time to listen to 45 minutes of banter back and forth. Let me scan it, and then I can go to see where that’s at. Right? So, that’s helpful in a way.
Dave: Okay. So, at least we’re doing the right thing. The question is, are we getting any extra traffic over time? I don’t know.
David: Yeah, I did a huge analysis of before and after. And it showed really clearly that once I started, even to the point where I could see that as I updated each post, it started getting more traffic.
David: Now, there was a point where I did it a little differently. At one point, I put the whole Office Hours, unedited, on. That would be a long transcript.
David: Then, at a certain point, I started breaking these into smaller sections. Some of them will be very short, five-minute questions. Those generated a very little bit of content. And so, it didn’t hit that threshold of enough content for Google to really pay attention. But, cleaning up even that much, Google gave it a little more attention than the none that it was getting before.
David: So, I ended up prioritizing based on, if it’s already getting a little traffic and it’s a bad transcript, I think I could really get a lot more traffic if it had a better transcript.
David: Then I did the longer ones that were bad transcripts second. Those that were getting no traffic, hoping that by giving it a bit of transcript, it would get some traffic. That’s true. It did. And then a third priority was, but I guess I should say the other piece of data in this conversation was some of them I had previously taken the time to do a good transcript. Those tended to perform a lot better. Oh, I think I did a case study of this on Reliable Acorn.
Dave: I remember you talked about it a while ago, and I haven’t looked.
David: You mean you don’t just go to my website and read my blog?
Dave: The last while, I haven’t. But I remember you talking about it a little bit.
Dave: However, I figured, well, now’s a good time to ask it with this new algorithm update.
David: Let me see if I can find the article and share it with you. Here it is.
Dave: Oh, yeah, that came up. That’s actually the one that came up in search when I said Reliable Acorn transcript. Does Low-Quality Content Make a Whole Website Look Bad?
David: Yeah, so, this was in response to something John Mueller said. If you have a very low-quality translation, definitely pull down the content. Also, the good content will be perceived as bad content. So, you’ll get a bad reputation in Google’s eyes.
Dave: Well, you did that graph and everything. That’s cool.
David: Yeah. So, I truly tried to pull data to show. I guess I need to follow up here like I promised I would, and it really has helped. So, quality over quantity seems to be the scene today.
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