If you’ve started a podcast in conjunction with your business, hopefully you’ve instantly gained millions of followers, and thousands of people download your episodes every single day.
For everyone else, however, you may be interested in learning how to optimize your podcast for search engines.
Wait… SEO? For Podcasts?
Absolutely! According to marketing folklore, Google noticed the prevalence and popularity of podcasts all the way back in 2019, and immediately updated their algorithm to index and rank podcasts along with everything else. Word on the street has it that Google has also been tapping into podcast content to help them with these rankings.
Ultimately, when people ask their Google Home, Assistant or Search to provide them with podcast content regarding your material, there are things you can do to ensure these searchers land on your podcast.
Read also: How to optimize your content for Voice Search.
So what can you do? SEO is already hard enough… is ranking a podcast even harder? Not at all! In fact, the process isn’t too different from your daily marketing exercises already.
SEO for Podcasts 101
What’s the first thing you look at when you’re doing a little search engine optimization for your site?
Keywords work the same way in podcasts as they do for your webpages, with one added bonus: less traffic. Despite the amazing popularity of podcasts, there are still far fewer pods than there are websites. That means that when someone search for “podcasts about *insert your business here*” you’re already running ahead of the game.
But don’t stop there. Google isn’t the only place where folks will search for podcasts. Services such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and more also have search functions by “topic”, but let’s be honest… this is another instance of keywords at work.
Therefore, use your keywords liberally, but intelligently. You’ll want to include them in your content, your episode titles, and even in your podcast title, if possible. The podcast title is one area where you get a pass for being creative and witty over keyword stuffing, however.
With podcasts on the rise, you do need to make sure you’ve adequately differentiated yourself from the crowd!
Work on your Episodes…
An important detail here is to use different keywords for different episodes. If you title every episode with the same keyword, you’ll just end up being your own competition and throwing the Google algorithm into a tizzy.
Instead, take some time as you’re brainstorming your episodes. Use a keyword research tool to scan related long-tail and short keywords for that sweet spot of low competition and high searchability. Even though you’ll be competing on a parallel dimension, the words you use should reflect what the public is searching for.
Content-wise, you don’t have to go overboard with keyword stuffing. We, the general public, still aren’t entirely sure how much transcription Google is doing at the moment, so make sure your content is first and foremost driven by organic discussion around your chosen topic.
Just as keyword stuffing in an article or blog becomes obvious pretty quickly, your listeners will be turned off by hearing the same words repeated ad nauseum.
When publishing your podcasts, keep your keywords in mind for the meta descriptions and titles. Just like standard search engine results, podcast search results will include these small “blurbs” to describe each episode and its content. You still have just a very short amount of space, but your practice with creating ace metas for your page’s SEO will pay off here, too.
Indirect SEO for Podcasts
The phrase “too much of a good thing” rarely relates to marketing, and when it does, there’s often a very broad boundary to the land of “too much.”
Having a podcast is a great way to stir up brand recognition, and increase your reputation as a trusted authority. But having a podcast alone isn’t going to do all the heavy lifting needed in this area.
Instead, make sure you cross-reference your podcast on all of your online outlets. Your social media accounts, your blog, and even your newsletters or emails should all direct attention to your podcast. More visits mean higher rankings, so encouraging those who follow you in other ways to check out your podcast gives you greater exposure to that Google search algorithm.
This can be as simple as adding “Check out my podcast to learn 13 things you didn’t know about my business!” to your Twitter feed, or as meticulous as creating a “behind the scenes” podcast recording video for your YouTube channel.
If you’ve listened to podcasts on your own, you’ll know that many of them thrive on listener interaction, and what better way to increase listener participation than through shareable social media posts.
Gaining More Exposure
Additionally, you can create companion material. Create a blog post related to your podcast topic, or Facebook discussion topics surrounding the details covered in that week’s pod. The more exposure your podcast receives through various outlets creates more streams of organic traffic, and as we’ve discovered in typical SEO, Google’s algorithm loves multiple streams of organic traffic.
Lastly, there are online services that can help you understand how listeners find your pod, and how they engage in it. In October 2020, Google launched its own Podcasts Manager tool to help users understand what search terms lead to your show. The service is currently free, and can provide helpful insight for those struggling with nailing the right keyword at the right time.
Starting a podcast can feel overwhelming, especially when you have to come up with unique and creative content to discuss each episode. However, by optimizing your podcast for search engines, you’ll gain the reputation you deserve as a trusted authority. With that reputation come the audience you need to spearhead a greater and greater volume of conversions over time.
Brush up on the basics of Search Engine Optimization with this free and in-depth course: 4 hours and 31 video lessons suited for those who wish have a better understanding of how to do SEO and want to drive more traffic and customers to your website.