By Aakash Singh published September 10, 2020 Est Read Time: 5 min
Your podcast has a lot of great content, but someone searching online for topics related to that audio content wouldn’t even know it existed until last year.
Google included indexing podcasts in its 2019 update, but many podcasters haven’t embraced the opportunity to maximize their SEO. Let’s change that. Here’s what you should know about podcast SEO and how to get your podcast ranking.
But before we go ahead, remember that this advice assumes your podcast content is top-notch. Just like non-audio content, searchers need to find that your content is relevant, otherwise, they move on.
1. Craft effective podcast title and description
As with non-audio content, you need to do keyword research to ground your SEO work. Knowing what your prospective listeners are searching for, how they phrase it, and how often they search is essential to following the rest of this advice.
If you’re choosing the name of your podcast, think about incorporating a primary keyword. Most importantly, though, the title should clearly tell potential listeners what the podcast is about. It also helps Google better understand how to rank your podcast in search results.
If you have a title but it isn’t explicit about the topic, use an explanatory subtitle and incorporate a keyword. This text will improve the podcast’s chances of ranking because it offers critical context for Google to interpret when indexing the podcast.
Podcast meta descriptions are important not only for Google but for search on podcast platforms such as Spotify and Apple. Use your primary keyword once in the description. Detail clearly what the podcast is about and who the podcast is for.
As far as how long the description should be, Google displays about 155 and 160 characters. But don’t stop with Google. Consider the podcast’s distribution platform. Dan Misener tested seven to see how many characters were shown before someone would have to click to see the rest of the description. Apple Podcasts allowed the most – 150 characters – and Stitcher allowed the fewest – 72 characters. Spotify, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Castro, and Breaker fell in between.
2. Build each episode around a keyword
With your title and meta description optimized, you now should use your keyword research to plan your episodes.
Build each episode around one targeted keyword. Doing this increases the opportunities for the episodic content to appear in rankings. The narrower topic also boosts the chances a searcher with an informational intent will listen.
The episode keyword should be used in the episode title and description. As with the podcast title and description, the episode title and description should convey clearly what it covers, particularly as it relates to a searcher’s intent.
3. Say the keyword
Just as in YouTube, saying your keyword during the podcast helps optimize its content. Search engines listen to your content to decide if it is the best fit for a particular search term. You shouldn’t stuff as many mentions of your keyword as possible into your script, but you should incorporate synonyms for your keyword to achieve better results. (Make sure their inclusion sounds natural or you’ll turn off listeners.)
4. Publish a transcript
Google scans written documents far more easily than audio media. Though Google has started automatically transcribing podcasts, it’s still best to publish a transcript too. You can take your audio file and use a transcription tool, such as Wavve, which will transcribe your podcast audio to post on its own. Then, update the transcription with your previously determined podcast SEO – title, meta description, etc. – and incorporate text-based SEO like subheads (H2, H3 headings, internal links, backlinks, etc.) Publish the transcript on your site – it could be its own blog post – and submit the page to Google Search Console for indexing.
5. Don’t forget Google podcasts
Google has its own podcast application. You can visit Google Podcasts Manager to walk through the steps. It will help Google return audio snippets from your podcasts on results pages. It also can help you monitor rankings to further optimize your content.
See your audio ranking
Over half of Americans age 12 and older have listened to a podcast – 55% in 2020 vs. 40% in 2017. That growth in listening and a whopping 850,000 active podcasts in 2020 – a 70% increase over 2018 – mean you must do more to get your audio content found. Now that Google’s search algorithm analyzes podcasts, it’s essential to take the time when planning and publishing your podcast to optimize it for search.
Try these tips for your podcasts and share the results in the comments.
Tools mentioned in articles are identified by the authors, not the CMI team. If you have a tool to share on this topic, please include in the comments.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute