Video Optimization for an International Audience: What You Need to Know

Video Optimization
August 18, 2022

Video content has become one of the most favored global marketing tools in recent years. In fact, 72% of consumers prefer learning about a product or service through video. The simple power of video goes way beyond the capabilities of just words; but only if it’s used in the right ways that target specific audiences.

Optimizing video content for an international audience is an important step in the localization process—a step that content creators shouldn’t overlook. Reaching broader overseas audiences relies on creating good content, and knowing how to reach them in the first place. For example, viewers who don’t speak the original language of the video may need to be engaged with in different ways. That’s where video search engine optimization (SEO) can come into play.

Here’s what you need to know about optimizing video content for localization.

Prepare Your Video for Global Audiences: Start from the Beginning

Optimizing your video content starts with having a video SEO strategy, which requires thorough preparation. Start by conducting extensive research into the regions that you’re choosing to target. During your research, decide what languages you may need to revolve your target keywords and content around.

 It’s best if you prepare for localization before or during the content creation process. Thinking about your global audience(s) during the ideation phase will ensure you’re one step ahead of any future localization efforts, saving you time and money.

 Keep your concepts general and try to avoid content that is region-specific. The research you’ve carried out should educate you on any relevant cultural differences that you need to factor into your content creation.

 Allow your new regional knowledge to direct what you think would be universally understandable and engaging for all of your various global audiences. If the video has any inappropriate differences or things that may not be understood, you need to rework the content or create separate videos that work for a specific audience.

 Along with region-specific factors, video content should also be timeless. Focus your concepts around content that won’t need to be constantly changed or updated over time. Preempting any major changes you’ll need to make could save you time, money, and effort further down the line. The future you will certainly thank you for it.

Plan How You Want to Localize Your Video

It’s all well and good having a powerful video, but what if your audiences can’t understand it? Apart from creating an entirely new video in another language, there are other options to optimize video for localized content, such as adding subtitles or voice via voiceover/dubbed content and including a transcript.

Let’s look at what these options and processes entail, and how they can help your global audiences.

Create Captions and Subtitles

According to Verizon and Publicis, 92% of consumers watch videos with the sound off, so you definitely want to include captions for your video. Subtitles are the translated version of captions. Subtitling involves displaying spoken dialogue as written text to help global audiences understand the original video material. Subtitles are the most basic option to enable non-English speakers to understand your video.

The YouTube video optimization process lets you create subtitles, which streamlines the process. You can use automatic video captioning, in which case you’ll need to have the content translated using Google translate or some other type of translation tool. However, a better option is to work with a professional localization service provider (LSP) to create more accurate and effective translations.

Add Voice through Voiceover or Dubbing

Adding voice may be the most expensive and complex option for localizing your video content, but it’s also the most effective. The process involves working through an LSP to find a voice actor to record the dialogue in the additional language with an appropriate persona, tone, and inflection.

Voiceover involves adding a second localized narrative in a new language, with the original voice and sounds heard in the background. The original dialogue doesn’t match the new language, so they won’t say the same thing simultaneously.

Dubbing is a much more complex process that involves adding a second language to match the original voice. The original voice is completely removed, and only the second language is present.

Create a Transcript

Using subtitles and voiceovers/dubbing is all about making your videos more accessible. Video transcripts are primarily used to assist deaf audiences. However, a transcript can be easily translated into different languages, meaning it’s also useful for helping global audiences, who can read it while also listening.

Optimize Keywords as Part of Your Video SEO Strategy

Once you’ve figured out your localization strategy and the videos are ready, you’ll want to optimize keywords. Your title is the first thing your audiences will see. The keywords used in your video title, meta tags, and description are at the forefront of your optimized video content. Also, if you created a transcript, you can add keywords to it. Use location-based keywords to target specific regions and open up your content to international interest and new audiences.

Write a Full Description

Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written and keyword-packed description.

Video descriptions are more than just a basic sentence or two—use their full capacity.

Video descriptions are the perfect opportunity to spark interest and inform your viewers about the video topic and boost your visibility through YouTube/Google’s algorithms. Search engines love both quantity and quality. So maximize your chances of ranking on Google in various countries by writing an effective description. A high-quality video description always:

  • Contains searchable keywords to improve discoverability.
  • Explains how the video benefits the viewer.
  • Includes important information about the video and the channel.
  • Ends with an encouraging call to action.

Add Hashtags

Adding location-based hashtags to your video content will not only help place your video in certain suggestion categories, but also help audiences from different regions find you. Just be careful not to include too many hashtags in your description, because this can actually work against you. YouTube’s algorithms tend to identify excessive hashtagging as spam.


 Videos aren’t going away. So to ensure you have localization in mind with your video SEO strategy as you develop video concepts and optimize the content.

 As a digital content agency that's part of the TransPerfect family of companies, we have access to a global network of over 10,000 native-speaking linguists covering over 170 languages. From ideation to production, localization, and post-production, TPT Digital provides end-to-end video support.

 If you’d like to discuss your video strategy and how TPT Digital can support your business goals, please contact us today.

TPT Digital Team