If I put an HTML5 video player on a web page and it has an associated caption file (WebVTT) using the <track> tag inside the <video> tag, will it affect my search results in a positive way?

I am trying to avoid putting the transcript of the video on the page inside a hidden element (I am not an SEO expert but I have heard that hiding text with display:none; or visibility:hidden is not a good idea).

TL;DR: Will search engines index the contents of a video caption file?

  • I have heard that hiding text with display:none; or visibility:hidden is not a good idea Not true, Google understands that the modern day internet uses display:none and visibility: hidden to enhance user experience. Jun 9, 2016 at 15:41
  • You can use display:none as long as you have a mechanism for showing the text to uses at some point. Text that is not displayed initially is not going to get much weight for ranking in the search results. Text that is never displayed to the user is considered search engine spam and Google can penalize the entire site for it. Jul 7, 2016 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


Contrary to what has been commented by @Simon Hayter Google policies state that hiding content from end users for SEO purposes (such as adding the transcript the way you are talking about) is a violation and will negatively impact your SERP rankings. having said that there is no problem with adding an expandable div which the user can open themselves which has the transcript within it. In this way you are complying with Google terms as the user can still view the transcript if they should choose.

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