6 ways to grow your podcast audience with SEO

6 ways to grow your podcast audience with SEO

Columnist Stephan Spencer explains the benefits of podcasting, as well as how to optimize your podcast for visibility in search engines, YouTube and platforms like iTunes or Google Play.

Traditional content strategies use blog posts, articles, images, and sometimes video as the main sources of content. And while those can be awesome for driving traffic and supporting your SEO efforts, podcasts are an often overlooked and underestimated medium. Podcasts can build your brand and drive direct traffic, while at the same time adding rich content to your site and supporting your link-building efforts.

Of course, you not only need to know how to leverage your podcasts for SEO, but also how to rank well on the platforms specific to podcasts. So whether you’re starting out or are an established podcaster, read on for specific tips on how to SEO your podcast.

1. It’s all in the title
What does it take for your podcast to be found on iTunes and Google Play? It’s all in the title. The iTunes ranking algorithm for podcasts places a heavy emphasis on the title of the podcast, in addition to factors like total number of subscribers and the total number of reviews for the podcast.

What this means is that, while you want to have a title for your podcast which is compelling and interesting, you shouldn’t have a title which is so obscure or non-intuitive that it doesn’t explain in clear language what your podcast is about. Make sure to include your most important keywords in the title of your podcast. If your show is already established, you can do this by adding a subtitle. For example, if your show title is “A 5th Race Podcast,” and your show is about Stargate, you can make sure that you’re found by adding a subtitle such as “An Unofficial Stargate Podcast.”

That said, a generically keyword-rich title that is not distinctive or memorable is also a non-starter. The title of your podcast should be something you are proud of. (Note that with branded podcast names, it would be good to incorporate keyword-rich subtitles.) And while you do want to include keywords in your title and/or subtitle, don’t try to stuff your author tag with keywords. Apple will catch on and send you a note stating that your author tag isn’t representative of what your show is about.

Keep it clean, use the right keywords where it counts, and you should show up for relevant search queries. On Google Play, your show’s description (not individual episode descriptions) is searchable as well, so make sure you optimize it, while still keeping the copy interesting and compelling. (Speaking of keeping it clean, if your show has swear words and is thus labeled as explicit in iTunes, your podcast will not be reaching the very large Indian market.)

2. Optimizing your RSS feed
While the average user doesn’t use RSS nearly as much as in the past, your RSS feed syndicates your podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music and most other podcast platforms out there. Essentially, your RSS feed is what people are subscribing to when they subscribe to your podcast on any of these platforms.

Your feed is also what provides all your podcast information to these platforms. So when you want to update your show’s title or description, you have to update it in your RSS feed. It can take up to 24 hours for any of the fields to update on iTunes or other directories.

The best way to have SEO control over your podcast is by creating your RSS feed using the one that Libsyn provides you or the feed you get from the PowerPress plugin for WordPress (a free plugin).

Make sure you have a good, compatible RSS feed that won’t break or be too slow by using either castfeedvalidator.com or podba.se to validate your feed.

3. Leveraging your website
Yes, your podcast is an audio file, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t score SEO points by leveraging your website and making it a worthwhile destination for Google to send traffic to. As SEO practitioners, we are always trying to attract more trusted links to our sites. A great podcast is just one more type of content you can use to attract those links.

If a writer is looking at your site and considering linking to your podcast content, showing them other authoritative sites where your content has been featured can act as a “social proof” that your content is authoritative, high-quality and trustworthy, and thus worth linking to. For instance, you can show an “as seen on” section on at least your home page, but preferably on every episode page — the way I do on my biohacking/lifehacking podcast, “The Optimized Geek.”

Another easy way to boost your reach is to create supporting content that you want to expose search engines to. Some examples of content you can create are:

episode description or recap
show notes with timestamps
key takeaways
episode art
The transcript will be a particularly text-rich piece of content to post to your site. Don’t just bury the transcript, feature it and present it nicely, so that users are more inclined to interact with it.

Each episode should have unique episode art so visitors have something to pin on Pinterest. Have a look at my wife’s show, “Stellar Life,” for an awesome example of the use of episode art:

Author: georged31093

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