How to optimize your podcast for search engines Search Engine Watch


Podcasts have turned into a very popular option for content consumption. They are not new as a form of content type but there is an increasing number of people re-discovering them. They can actually make an interesting medium to explore when trying to grow your audience.

“Podcast SEO” is expected to be a growing term among SEO professionals, marketers, and podcast hosts over the next few years.

What do we mean by “podcast SEO” and how can you really optimize your podcast for search engines?

Here is everything you need to know.

Podcasts show up in Google searches

Google has announced earlier this year that podcasts will start showing up in search results.

You will be able to search for a podcast and find some of the episodes straight through the search results. The indexing of the podcast will return the audio content that you can consume directly.

There is also the potential for Google and its services to analyze the audio and automatically transcribe it to highlight a podcast in relevant search results.

What’s interesting is that Google Podcasts has recently started automatically transcribing the podcasts to use the content as metadata. Thus, people are able to find specific information as part of an episode without even knowing about the podcast before.

This is a big moment for anyone interested in SEO to understand that podcasts are becoming more important. With Google’s support, there is a clear indication that podcasts cannot be ignored as a source of content.

“Podcast SEO” is now a growing term and there is a great opportunity for successful podcasts to build their audience through search traffic.

Thinking of SEO when structuring an episode

How do these changes from Google affect your podcast? A good starting point is to think of your content structure.

A podcast can sometimes feel like a casual conversation but it still has a structure and a theme. Whether you’re producing formal or casual content, you want to be able to have a clear theme.

Think of what you want to talk about and how the questions can maintain a good flow.

It will be easier for Google to understand the content of your podcast and how to index it if you start thinking of your audience, and what they expect from you.

Moreover, a clear theme also helps your listeners understand your main focus without getting lost in the conversation.

Creating a site for your podcast

You don’t necessarily need a site to start your own podcast. All you need is a hosting provider. However, if you want to start thinking of SEO more seriously, you want to be certain that you own the data and the relationship with your subscribers.

You can also build an email list to grow your most loyal listeners.

A site can also help you improve your podcast’s SEO. It’s easier for search engines to discover your episodes when you provide additional context to them.

Many podcasts publish a new blog post for every new episode to describe their new topic. It’s a great way to build up the content for your podcast and make it easier for search engines to pick up the main theme and the focus keywords.

You can also treat your blog content as any other regular blog post to link from one episode to the other, add related posts, and keep your audience engaged.

Adding keywords to your podcast episodes

Your podcast’s title is your number one keyword. However, you won’t just rank for it once you create more episodes so you want to make sure that you increase your chances of building your audience.

When creating content for your podcast you want to pick one main keyword that will describe it. Think of your theme, the episode’s structure, and find the best keyword to describe it.

Make sure that you don’t pick the same keyword on every episode as you risk cannibalizing your own success. Even if there is a similarity from one keyword to another, it is still important to aim for one keyword per episode.

Your keyword should have a high search volume and ideally a low competition. You can aim for long tail keywords and you can find inspiration by searching in Google or through the use of tools like Ubersuggest.

Decide on the episode titles

Your podcast titles will determine whether your potential audience will spend the time to listen to your episodes.

Even when someone discovers your podcast, they won’t necessarily listen to every single episode if the titles aren’t appealing enough.

Your titles should be clear and descriptive while taking into consideration the limitation of characters.

A keyword can also be helpful in the episode’s title but you still want to make sure that you add it in context with the rest of the content.

Should you include the episode’s transcript?

Google may have just started automatically transcribing the podcasts but they are not yet perfect.

A transcription of your episode can help search engines understand your podcast in more detail.

It can improve the discoverability of the episode through the right focus on keywords, content structure, and key topics.

A transcription also makes your podcast more accessible to people and you can even split the topics that you’re talking about in time brackets to help everyone find them easily in your podcast.

Podcast transcriptions can be time-consuming though and not every podcast host might be ready for this step. If you’re serious about building your audience and improving your SEO, even in the longer term, it might be worth the effort.

Metadata

As with every other practice of SEO, metadata can provide additional details about your content.

A podcast’s description can explain what the episode is about. It should provide further information right after the title. The description is also helpful for search optimization to allow search engines to understand the topic of your episode. You can also add your main keyword to ensure that you are consistent with it.

Tags are also useful for your podcast. They allow people to discover them by looking at specific categories or genres. You can add several tags but you want to make sure that they are still somehow relevant to your podcast.

Think of your potential audience and what they should search to discover your podcast.

Link to your podcast on social media

Sharing is caring. A good indication of a podcast’s success is the number of shares and comments it gets on social media. You don’t need to have an extremely popular show to see a few positive comments or shares on social media.

As with every form of content, content marketing is an important factor in improving your success. Pick your social media channels and other forms of promotion based on your topic and target audience. This can be a consistent effort with the promotion.

Encourage people to share the link if they’ve enjoyed your show and create tracking links to find your best-performing channels.

This can be a great way to improve your SEO through “online word of mouth” as it can improve your levels of popularity and eventually your ranking.

Ask for reviews for social proof

Podcast reviews can also help your podcast’s success. It’s not just an indication of the quality of your podcast but they can also help improve the social proof.

Ask your listeners to leave a review if they enjoyed your podcast. Start with your most loyal fans and make it as effortless as possible.

Social proof can be very useful for SEO as it “notifies” search engines of the most successful pieces of content.

Add your podcast to Google Podcasts

As Google becomes serious about podcasts, Google Podcasts is now more important than ever.

If you’re not uploading your episodes to Google Podcasts yet, you can quickly do it by adding your podcast’s RSS feed.

It’s the easiest way to start improving your SEO presence while monitoring your rankings, and you’ll show up as an audio snippet in search results.

Quality first, SEO next

I assume that we’ll start spending more time with “podcast SEO” as podcasts keep growing as a content type. The fact that Google is paying more attention to them and the way that they can show up in SERPs is a good indication that the podcast market will only grow stronger.

What you need to remember though is that quality should still be a priority for your podcast.

Audio and content quality will be the key factors to your podcast’s success. Promotion and SEO will only work if you have a solid starting point for your podcast.

Find a creative title, a unique topic, and pay attention to your sound’s quality. These things will help your future audience connect with you and your podcast making success easier through marketing and SEO.

Got any queries or thoughts on “podcast SEO” that you’d like to share? Leave a comment.

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