SEO for podcasts is a thing. It’s a HUGE thing, because podcasts are here to stay. There are approximately 2 million podcasts out there in 2022, and 80 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners.
For younger generations, they are among their favorite ways of consuming content.
For the older ones - it’s like having your own custom-tailored radio station that only plays your favourite content. What’s not to like about podcasts, right?
So, podcasts as a phenomenon were set up for success from day one. But, not every podcast will be a success. Some of them are less visible than others to search engines, and consequently, to the general public.
That’s due to their quality, of course, but we all know the cold-hard truth:
Where there are search engines - there’s SEO.
With the rapid developments in natural language processing and AI, podcasts are becoming a major player in the world of content marketing.
Whether you are just considering making your own podcast, or already have a bunch of podcast episodes under your belt, investing a bit of time and effort into podcast SEO is something you just have to do.
Here are some simple and effective ways to optimise your podcast for SEO.
Is Podcast SEO Worth The Effort?
Search engine optimisation used to be something that people only did for text, but nowadays that is not the case. At the moment, audio content and videos are a goldmine when it comes to content marketing, and are one of the best ways of reaching your target audiences.
Over 60 percent of Americans listened to podcasts last year, and that number grew from 57 percent the year before that. Podcast popularity is on the rise, and if you are not tapping into that market, you are missing out. But with almost 2.5 million podcasts and over 68 million episodes in Apple Podcasts, it can be hard to set yourself apart from the competition.
There are other search engines, but Google is the most popular one, and the one that most podcast SEO tips focus on. So here are some tips on how to get your podcast noticed by Google.
Find Your Niche
Before you can get to the first page of search results, you have to take the first step of your podcast journey, and that is - coming up with an idea. Whether you are using your podcast to promote your business or intend for the podcast to be your primary product, it's important that you do a little bit of research and planning first.
What niche do you want to focus on and what kind of target audience does that niche attract? What do they want to know? Once you know your audience, it will be much easier to determine the topics they are interested in, the tone of the podcast, what listening apps they prefer, and the online platforms where you can reach them.
Let’s say your small business makes light bulbs (OK, we know, bear with us.) You can only dedicate so many episodes to different types of lightbulbs. You need to dig deeper and think wider. Do some research and figure out what type of topics are really of interest to you. Maybe your podcast turns into a go-to place for everyone who wants to learn more about light design.
Put Out Good Content
The most important principle of content marketing is that content is king. You can have an impeccable content strategy, if the content quality is not up to par, you won't be able to keep your listeners.
Find a podcast host with a pleasant voice and good flow. Think about the concept and theme for every episode. Successful podcasts, even when they sound like nothing more than witty banter between podcast hosts, usually rely on careful preparation and show notes. Don't expect to just wing it and gain instant podcast visibility.
Quality is always the first step toward getting more organic traffic.
Do Keyword Research for Every Single Episode
Keyword research used to be reserved only for text. Nowadays, keywords are important for any kind of content, and they are one of the main things that will make your podcast climb in search engine results rankings.
Here are a few things to remember when trying to find the relevant keywords for your podcast episode.
What Are Keywords?
Podcast keyword research isn't any different from research for other types of content. Keywords are basically the search terms that people look up on Google, and your aim is to appear in search results for those terms.
Using keywords used to be tricky because you had to get them exactly right. Nowadays, search engines have become more sophisticated and they recognise search intent. This means that they understand better what the user was looking for and they are able to give them relevant results even if they didn't use the exact same keyword that appears on a page.
Brainstorm Keyword Ideas
Think about what your episode is really about. What Google searches do you want it to appear in? What search terms would yield those results? That is the starting point for your keyword research. Now all you need to do is find the related keywords and see which ones fit best with your podcast content, and what their chances of ranking are.
Experiment with Research Tools
Most tools for keyword research will give you a few free searches. Some of them will even help you out by suggesting related keyword phrases that you might have missed. Try out several tools to see which one gives you the best podcast keywords before you commit.
Find Your Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are more complex and precise keywords. Short, less specific keywords usually have a high search volume, but that is not the only thing you should focus on. While shorter keywords are more likely to bring you more search traffic, long tail ones get fewer search queries but are more likely to bring you new listeners who will stick around.
Use Your Podcast Keywords Wisely
Now that you have your keywords, it's time to use them. It shouldn't be a problem to sprinkle the keywords throughout the actual episode - after all, that's what the topic of the day is.
If you're not sure you'll be able to use them in a way that sounds natural, feel free to work it out beforehand in your show notes.
You want to use your keywords enough that when people search for them, you show up in the results. But don't be tempted to keyword stuff, that might have the opposite effect.
Don't overdo it with the number of different keywords either. SEO is a matter of delicate balance. You can use multiple keywords if they are closely related, but it's better to use one keyword that is well chosen than to throw in everything but the kitchen sink.
Pay Attention to Every Episode Title and Summary
The main keyword should be the basis of your episode titles. Make sure you use the keywords in your episode description too, and on the episode page of your website, if you have one (and you should). It's a good idea to have the main keyword appear in the URL of the page for each episode.
Of course, keywords are not the only thing that matters. Try to capture the attention of potential listeners with catchy titles and interesting, informative descriptions.
Podcast metadata is an excellent way to optimise your podcast for SEO. Tags can be another great place to mention a specific search term or a particular keyword.
Upload a Transcript for Each Podcast Episode
A great way to make search engines notice your audio content is to upload a transcript for each episode. Search engine crawlers are able to understand written content, which means that Google will notice all of the keywords that are mentioned in the transcript.
Besides, it's a convenient place for your listeners to do a quick and easy search when they want to find valuable information from your podcast.
Another important use of your transcript is to turn it into subtitles. Keep in mind that podcasts are not legally required to have subtitles or captions.
Creating a manual transcript is time-consuming and complicated, but with an app like Subly, it only takes a few minutes. You simply upload your audio file, let Subly work its magic, and save your transcript in the file format which best suits your needs - SRT, TXT or VTT, for instance. You can later use this file for subtitles too.
Create a Podcast Website
It's not enough to have your podcast on Google podcasts and other similar apps. A website dedicated to your show is the perfect place where you can use written material that will maximise your gain from podcast SEO.
This can be a great place for all of your written content. Apart from transcript uploads, consider a blog too. You can use your transcript as a basis for a blog post, and attract more listeners that way.
Branch Out to Video
There's nothing simpler than converting audio format to video. Just add a picture in place of a video, and voila! Your podcast is ready to set off for the previously uncharted territories of YouTube.
Don't forget to upload subtitles to your video, so Google can index it. You can use that Subly transcript you saved for that purpose. Piece of cake!
Now that you are no longer a novice when it comes to podcast SEO, it's time to get down to work and start optimising!
Grab the new episode of your podcast and apply the new tricks you just learned to use SEO to your advantage. And to make your SEO journey easier and more successful, use helpful apps like Subly.