When you think of optimizing your podcast for SEO, things that come to mind are likely keywords, how to target them, or strong content strategies. But, most people don’t associate podcasts with search engine optimizations and are missing some key growth opportunities. In this post, we’ll teach you SEO for podcasts, including some podcast SEO tips that can introduce a podcast to new audiences and contribute to a brand’s ranking authority with Google.
It’s not surprising that podcasts, an audio format, aren’t typically associated with SEO practices. Google couldn’t index audio content until recently. Starting in mid-2019, Google began scanning audio files for relevance, marking a new territory for podcasts and content marketing.
There are tactics you can use to optimize your podcast, for both written and audio content, so that it ranks higher within search engine results. This means not only more listeners for your podcasts, but also more website visitors and improved brand awareness. Some of these podcast SEO tips overlap with general SEO practices, while others are specific to audio content.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to optimize your podcast, give you an overview of everything you need to know about SEO for podcasts, and show you how to make your show more SEO-friendly.
The Basics: Why Is SEO Important?
A key element of digital marketing, SEO helps to drive more visitors to a website. SEO, or search engine optimization, is about having your site, page, or content ranked as high as possible in search engine results.
Of course the term refers to search engines in general, but today SEO is really all about Google. Google has over 63,000 searches every second, representing 92% of all online searches worldwide. For businesses of all kinds, this represents a huge opportunity to get new customers, but first they need to find you.
In 2019, life doesn’t exist past the first page of Google. Few users click through to the second or third page of results, and many won’t even scroll down past the first few. Therefore, in order to reach your audience, you need to rank as high as possible on those critical SERPs (search engine results pages) for the searches your potential listeners are making.
What Is SEO Content Marketing And How Do Podcasts Fit In?
When it comes to optimizing your podcast website for Google, there are a number of things you can do. You can research the most relevant keywords for podcasts to your audience and include them on your site in strategic places. You can make sure that your site is technically up to scratch, and build authority links that tells Google your site is reliable and the information is valuable.
One of the most effective strategies to put you ahead of competitors is content marketing. Strategic use of content can help your site rank higher, both in terms of your domain and individual site pages. This content can be blogs posts, infographics, and of course, podcasts. Content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO, driving more inbound traffic to your episodes. In the next section, we will cover how to implement SEO best practices for your podcast and its website.
In order to get in on the benefits of SEO for podcasts, first you need to set up a website. Check out our 6 step guide to building a custom site using WordPress to get started. Building a website may sound challenging, but it’s a key way to promote a podcast that will definitely repay your investment in the future. It’s one of the first steps we recommend new show hosts take when they start a podcast.
SEO For Podcasts Best Practices
There are a few ways you can adopt SEO for podcasts. Since Google was previously unable to index audio content, most of these tactics were originally centered around written content. These techniques remain relevant today and we’ve also added new audio-specific tactics to make sure your podcast is SEO-friendly. Follow these podcast SEO tips to optimize your show.
Pick podcast keywords for every episode
This is one of the most important podcast SEO tips on our list! Using the right podcast keywords is essential for SEO of any kind, and podcasts aren’t an exception. Keywords tell Google that your episode is relevant to a user’s search, and therefore make it more likely to be featured in results.
However, this strategy doesn’t mean simply pick a podcast keyword that only you think is relevant to your podcast. Instead, the included keywords need to be the ones that your target audience is searching for. To establish which keywords these are, you should carry out in-depth keyword research, including an SEO competitor analysis.
Try Google Ads Keyword Planner or other tools like Moz’s keyword explorer to discover the search terms your audience is already using. These tools are perfect to help organize a SEO strategy for podcasts. They show monthly search volumes and even suggest related keyword phrases you might not have thought of.
Use the keywords in your episodes
Now that Google has integrated indexing of audio content, this means that podcasts can appear in search results. This is a great opportunity for podcasters, as episodes may turn up in any search, not just when users are specifically looking for podcasts. Make sure your show contains the target podcast keywords your audience is searching for.
An easy way to do this is to pick an episode topic based on the keywords you’ve established through your research. Throughout your script, you’ll naturally use the keyword and associated words, which is critical for an optimal SEO for podcasts strategy.
Include written content for each podcast episode
This is another key way to optimize your podcast, though many podcasters don’t bother. They simply upload a new episode to their podcast host and expect listeners to appear.
Google and other search engines easily scan written text to decide whether your content is relevant. In giving Google some written content to “read” in to complement the audio content, it has more of a chance of ranking an episode in search results.
It’s important to create separate pages for every podcast episode, including text that describes its content and context (along with your audio player of course). This not only provides more keyword opportunities (more on this below) but it also means you can rank individual episode pages for searches related to that specific topic. More rankings means more traffic, more listeners, and a larger loyal following.
There are two easy ways to add written content to your episode pages:
First, include podcast show notes. These are brief summaries, often in bullet point form, that tell potential listeners what they can find in the episode. It’s also a great way to show off images, charts, videos, or links you mention in the episode.
Second, include podcast audio transcriptions. These are complete, word-for-word transcriptions of everything said on the show. You already created the content (the audio), so why no repurpose it in written form. This is an easy way to get lots of written content for your page that Google loves.
If you choose Castos as your podcast hosting service, every episode you publish can be automatically transcribed into a full, word-for-word account of your episode. We’ve teamed up with an industry leading text-to-voice technology provider to offer an entirely seamless transcription experience. Additionally, you can take advantage of our podcast editing service that will create show notes for each episode.
Put the keywords in the right places
An important factor of the written pieces included with every episode is podcast keyword placement. Not all parts of your website are created equal according to search engines. Google scans certain parts of posts and pages first, giving priority to these elements.
The most important places to include keywords are:
- The title of the post
- The title of the podcast episode
- The URL of the post
- Image file names
- Image ALT attributes
- Beginning and end of the page content
- Sprinkled naturally throughout the page content
When including transcriptions, show notes, or complementary blog posts for a podcast, avoid trying to force podcast keywords into these places. Google dings sites that “keyword stuff” meaning keywords are overly featured within page with the goal of manipulating search results. When including the target phrases across your site, make sure they fit organically. Start with writing your posts with the keywords in mind so you’re not left trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Summary of SEO for Podcasts
Its easy to assume search engine optimizations aren’t important for audio-first mediums, but times have changed. With Google actively scanning audio content for context, these SEO for podcasts best practices is an important growth strategy.
Luckily the strategies are similar to what content marketers have been doing with written pieces for years. Focus on the podcast keywords your audience uses within their search queries and include these terms within your podcast.
As you optimize your podcast and your show gains more authority and improves its ranking in Google’s eyes, you’ll see episodes jump to the first page of their search results allowing new listeners to discover the show.
Post written by Tom Buckland. Tom Buckland is a digital marketing and Amazon seller consultant specializing in technical SEO. He’s the founder of Cardiff-based digital marketing agency HQ SEO in the UK and loves helping businesses profit through smart digital marketing strategies.
Read to start your own podcast? Learn the nitty-gritty details of starting your own show in our comprehensive guide. Learn how to start a podcast.