Last updated on November 14th, 2019
When you think of 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 show how following SEO best practices 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 the tactics overlap with general SEO practices, while others are specific to audio content. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of everything you need to know about SEO for podcasts and 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 site for Google, there are a number of things you can do. You can research the most relevant keywords 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.
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.
Pick a keyword for every episode
Using the right 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 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 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 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
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. 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.
Put the keywords in the right places
An important factor of the written pieces included with every episode is 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
Other important places to include keywords include in image alt-text and image captions, and throughout the text, of course.
When including transcriptions, show notes, or complementary blog posts for a podcast, avoid trying to force 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.
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, following SEO for podcast 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 keywords your audience uses within their search queries and include these terms within your podcast.
As 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.