How to optimise podcasts for search engines

Podcasts have become popular in recent years and can be a lucrative marketing tool for many. We take a look at how to optimise podcasts for search engines.

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The popularity of podcasts has grown exponentially over recent years, with an estimated 15.6 million UK listeners in 2020. As a result, countless brands, influencers, and simply anyone with a story to tell, has set up a podcast.

So, the question on everyone’s lips is with thousands of podcasts now available, how do you stand out from the crowd? No matter how good your podcast is, if no one can find it, then you aren’t going to get any listeners and it will soon become a waste of time and effort.

‘Podcast SEO’ is a term that is likely to grow in popularity over the next few years, and something that could become a staple in digital marketing agencies around the world. In 2019 Google announced that podcasts will begin to show up in Google SERPs, meaning you can listen to them directly from the search engine or save them for later. As a follow-up from Ali’s blog post ‘Are podcast food for SEO?’, here are some top tips on how to boost the SEO of your podcast.

1. It all starts with the title

Just like with any good blog post, news story, or video, if your podcast title doesn’t grab the attention of your audience they aren’t going to listen. However, it’s not as simple as having a catchy title if you want your podcast to rank well. As you would with a blog post, be sure to include the most important keyword within the title of the podcast so potential listeners know exactly what your podcast is about. That being said, it’s not all about the keywords. A keyword-rich title, that is ultimately unmemorable won’t stick in the mind of your potential listeners. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between intrigue and optimisation. Again, just like any good blog post.

2. Meta content

Following on from the previous point, just like any other SEO practice, you can provide additional details on your podcast through the metadata. Use the description to provide further information that cannot fit in the title. A well-written description that includes keywords can help the search engines understand your topic.

Adding tags to your podcast will help users find any other podcasts on a related topic, again just like with blog content (I’m starting to feel like a broken record). Once again, be sure to make sure that you are only including tags that are relevant to the topic of your podcast.

However, be careful not to stuff all aspects of your podcast with your keywords. Use them naturally throughout your title, subtitle, and description if you are able to provide one, but don’t try to force them in your author tag or other elements of the podcast. Platforms such as Apple Podcasts have caught on to this and will get in touch with you to say that your author tag doesn’t represent what your show is actually about.

3. Transcribe your episodes

While Google has got much better at automatically transcribing podcasts, it still isn’t perfect. Be sure to provide a transcription alongside each episode to help search engines understand your podcast in great detail, and further improve the discoverability. Again, focusing on the right keywords and topics throughout your podcast will turn your transcription into a well-optimised piece of content.

Furthermore, transcribing your episodes will also make your podcast more accessible to everyone. Alternatively, if someone doesn’t have time to listen to the full episode, splitting your transcription into the key topics and structure will help them find the information they need.

Transcribing podcasts can take a lot of time and effort, but if you are serious about making your podcast a success, this is a must.

4. Make your website work harder

One of the core roles of SEO practitioners and digital marketers is to build more links to your site from trusted sources. This is often through various different sources of content. A well made podcast is just another form of content for people to link to. If what you are covering is important and you provide plenty of useful information, people will naturally start linking to your podcast. Therefore, it’s important to host your podcast on your website, as well as places such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.

Alternatively, you could turn your podcast episodes into a blog post for your site, creating even more content. Pull out the key takeaways from each episode and write up a bitesize blog post for those who just need the important facts, without listening to a longer podcast. Again, this is creating more keyword rich content that will help to boost your site’s SEO, and in turn, attract more listeners to your podcast. This also works the other way around. If you have a blog post on your site that is consistently driving traffic, consider creating a podcast on the topic. There is clearly interest so why not tap into that?

5. Make some noise

While this may not be specifically about optimising your podcast, if you want it to be a success you need to shout about it. Quite simply, the best way to get people to find your podcast is to talk about it. Make sure that you are sharing every episode on social media, using relevant hashtags, and tagging any guests or hosts so they can reshare it.

Make sure that your podcast is featured on every podcast directory possible. A podcast directory is a place where listeners can find and consume podcasts, two of the best examples are Apple Podcasts and Spotify, however, there are a number of smaller platforms that can be very beneficial. There is no reason not to have your podcast listed on every platform possible, it’s the best way to improve its reach. The task of getting listed on every different directory can be time consuming, but this article from Castos is a great place to start and covers everything you need to know.

Alternatively, platforms such as Buzzsprout are a great place to start. Simply upload your podcast and they will take care of listing it on every major platform, that way you can spend more time making the best podcast possible.

Time to start talking

At its base level, SEO for a podcast is not too different from SEO for a video or blog post. Treat a podcast the same way you would treat any other piece of content and you’ll start on the right foot. If you want more information on SEO for podcast episodes or SEO for a podcast series, let us know in the comments and we will write a follow-up post.

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