In 2019, Podcast SEO (Search Engine Optimization) emerged as a crucial aspect of podcasting and its growth. This shift came about when Google declared that podcasts would start being included in search engine results. This was a significant milestone as it was the first time podcasts were visible in Google searches. Prior to this, listeners discovered podcasts through listening apps, recommendations, and actively searching for content that matched their interests.
Why did Google decide it was time to start including podcasts on their SERPs (Search Engine Results Page)?
Google's decision to rank podcast episodes was mainly driven by the progress in artificial intelligence and language processing. Prior to this, Google faced challenges in comprehending and classifying podcast content, and what was spoken about during podcast episodes, to show it in search results.
Additionally, with the increasing popularity of podcasts, and the quickly growing number of podcast listeners worldwide, Google took notice of these trends. YouTube videos had already been appearing in search engine results pages before this, and so search engines recognised the need to also start indexing podcast shows and podcast episodes in their search results.
It was the combination of advancements in AI and the rise of podcast listeners that ultimately led to the inclusion of podcasts in search engine results.
This update has made it crucial for podcasters to focus on optimising their podcasts for SEO. By utilising podcast seo best practices, podcast shows can increase their visibility, attract more listeners, get more podcast downloads and achieve their podcast goals.
It is always a good idea to start with the basics. Your podcast needs a theme or a topic. Not only is this good for your audience (your listeners follow your podcast because they enjoy or resonate with the theme of your podcast content), but it is also best practice for enhancing your podcast SEO. When you have an identifiable, consistent theme for your podcast show, it is much easier for Google to effectively index your podcast. While each of your podcast episodes will have a new discussion, your overall podcast content should have thematic consistency.
To have a successful podcast, it goes without saying that you want your theme and topics to be something that people are interested in listening to. If all of your episodes are related to something that nobody will ever search for, your podcast will not succeed.
To decide what topic you want your show to be about, take a cue from how you would choose a blog topic. Fortunately, there are several tools at your disposal to help you choose topics that will rank well in search results.
Two tools that should be apart of your podcasting toolkit are Ubersuggest and SEMrush. Entering a keyword or phrase related to your podcast will show you the topics and themes sought after by listeners, helping you create an episode that appeals to them. They are also extremely useful in helping you keep up to date with trending topics so that your own podcast is always optimised for search results and relates to what people are currently interested in.
Once you've chosen your theme or topic, using the appropriate keywords is essential if you want to make sure your podcast appears in search results.
Again, use these sites to do keyword research. To boost your podcast SEO you should be aware of the popular and relevant keywords when preparing an episode. Generally, when you want to rank high on search engine results pages, you want to use words which have high searchability but not a lot of competition. As you plan and formulate the episode, think about the keyword(s) you want to include. Remember that a keyword does not have to be just one word, it can be a phrase too (long-tail keywords).
It is important to use your keywords in the following places for maximum SEO effectiveness:
One of the best ways to ensure search engines are indexing your content correctly and your podcast show is appearing in search results is to have a podcast website.
Having a website for your podcast is a key element to maximise your podcast SEO rankings. Google can find your podcast much more easily this way, and can also understand and rank your content with less ambiguity and room for misinterpretation. This will all result in improved search rankings.
Additionally, even if someone is not actively searching for a podcast when they are looking for information online, they may still come across your podcast website in their search results. This gives rise to a new listener and will grow your audience base.
If you already have an existing website that you wish to maintain, you can choose to devote a page to your podcast rather than creating a standalone website for your podcast show. For search engine optimization and growing your podcast, it is preferable to make a website specifically for the podcast. A standalone podcast website will give you a URL that is linked to the podcast which helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If you don’t have a website yet, Podpage and Podcastpage.io are two excellent platforms to start off with. They offer expansive customisation options, are cost-effective, and flexible, and have plenty of tutorials available to assist you.
When it is clear exactly what each of your podcast episodes are about, it is a lot easier, not just for your podcast listeners, but also for search engines to understand what the episode and how to index it for search results. If a search engine doesn’t know that your episode relates to different search terms, you won’t show up on Google SERPs.
Your show notes are the perfect place to tell your listeners and search engines exactly what the episode is about. You have the advantage of show notes being written content rather than audio content, as it is much easier for search engines to comprehend and rank.
Your show notes should give an overview of the topic of the episode and as well the themes of your podcast show. You need to mention each of the topics you discuss in your episode if you want to increase your chances of ranking. The best way to do this is to list each topic in bullet point format with timestamps.
Check out our blog post on How to Write Great Podcast Show Notes for more information.
Similar to podcast show notes, including a podcast transcription is very useful when it comes to appearing in search engine results as it gives search engines including Google, podcast apps such as Spotify, iTunes and Google Podcasts a very clear idea of what your podcast and the podcast episode is about.
Your podcast episode transcript will include all the dialogue from your podcast in written form, allowing it to be better matched the search terms your audience is searching for.
No need to worry about having to re-write your transcript from scratch - there are an abundance of tools at your disposal (e.g. descript or otter.ai) that can do the job for you. Although, it is recommended to take a final look at the transcript afterwards to check for errors and to delete any filler words such as "erm" if the software you used wasn't able to.
Discover our blog "Why you should have a podcast transcription" and learn more reasons why it is beneficial to transcribe your podcast.
Another successful strategy to improve your podcast SEO is to take your podcast episodes and turn them into blog posts. Audio content and written content will attract different types of people – those who are readers and those who are listeners.
Creating a blog post based on the content of your podcast episode can appeal to a wider range of people. It will also increase your SEO by matching what more people are searching for in their search results. If somebody was initially searching for a blog post, they could find your podcast via your blog, and vice versa.
If you intend to turn your podcast into a blog post, don't simply use your transcript. Your blog should be a separate content piece. Transcripts do not usually capture readers’ attention. When creating content for your blog, you want to pick out the best parts of your episode and compose a compelling, interesting ,funny or informative post that your readers will want to read.
As before, when creating content for your new episode, it is important to include your keywords in your blog to boost your SEO.
The power of social media to grow your podcast cannot be underestimated. The more places your podcast can be discovered by your target audience the better. If you are not actively promoting your podcast across your social media channels, by creating posts, sharing content, using keywords in your tags and engaging with followers, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your appearance in search results.
You should research which social platforms your target listeners are most active on and tailor your social media strategy to suit their algorithm. A lot of podcasts are discovered via social media. Who knows you may even go viral.
You can boost your visibility and get improved podcast SEO results by asking guests on your show to spread the word about the episode to their followers. Make it as easy as possible for your podcast guests to promote your podcast show - provide them with information on the release date of the episode, and give them a press kit with pre-made promotional content such as copy, audiograms, and excerpts from the episode which they can post to their social media accounts easily.
If you want more ideas of how to use social media to grow your podcast, check out our blog 10 Best Podcast Marketing Strategies.
You may want to think about transforming your podcast into a video podcast. Distributing your podcast in video form gives your more ways to appear on search engine result pages. With a video podcast, your show will be listed in both the podcast and video section of Google's search results, as well as search results on YouTube.
Video podcasts are also a quickly growing podcast format that a lot of listeners love. There is huge potential here to grow your audience and the success of your show.
For instructions on setting up a video podcast for your business, please take a look at our guide.
The more your podcast is loved, and the more credibility it has, the higher it is going to rank in search results. Don't be afraid to ask your listeners for feedback, or to ask third party sites to review your show. Google pays close attention to reviews, so having as many as possible is beneficial for your podcast SEO.
Remember that search engine optimization is not the only way to increase the reach of your podcast. Have a look at our 10 Best Podcast Promotion and Marketing Strategies to get your podcast heard by your ideal listeners.
If you need help with producing and growing your podcast audience - Contact Zorbiant.