Podcasts have gone mainstream. As of March 2020, 37 percent of Americans over the age of 12 — around 104 million people — listen to at least one podcast per month according to Edison Research. But podcasts are often poorly optimized for search engines.
Drive more organic search traffic to your podcast with these 10 tips.
10 SEO Tips for Podcasts
1. Obsess over the message, not the equipment. The value of a podcast’s content is paramount. Absent value, it doesn’t matter if the recording is on a $1,000 microphone. Spend time honing the content. Everything else is secondary.
2. Host episodes on your site. Link authority is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. Other sites will link to where the podcast is hosted. You need that to be your site, rather than on podcast directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play.
Your podcast can live in a directory on your ecommerce domain, where each episode has its own page. The basic anatomy of a page should include:
- An audio (or video) file;
- An image;
- Show notes — i.e., a timestamped table of contents to help listeners find highlights;
- A transcript, potentially edited for length and clarity.
3. Nail the name. It’s tempting to come up with a clever name for your podcast. But the name is critical for organic search. Many more listeners will search for the podcast’s topic than its name.
Use the topic in the name of the podcast. (Ours is “Ecommerce Conversations,” for example.) If you must have a creative name, include both the topic and the names, such as “Cinderella’s Slipper: A Women’s Shoes Podcast” or “The Open for Business Podcast.” As long as you have the topic and the word “podcast” or equivalent in the title, your chances of being found by searchers are much higher.
4. Set keyword themes for episodes. Start with the keyword research you’ve done for your site. Then extend the research into question-and-answer and how-to areas. Don’t be afraid to follow tangents. They can lead to rich veins of keyword data you might not have found otherwise.
Use the keywords in an episode’s title as well as its audio or video. That will ensure those words are in the critical SEO elements: title tag, URL, and transcript.
5. Transcribe to text. Take the time to include the textual elements that search engines can index easily and deeply. Many listeners will appreciate the full text, especially those who want to quote an episode or link to it.
6. Double down with video. You’re already recording audio. Turn a camera on and capture the video, too. YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. Listeners go there to consume podcasts. If you can’t bear to be on video, consider setting the audio track to a video of still images.
7. Use the content everywhere. Your podcast is content marketing gold. Use elements of it where you market your products, always linking back to an episode.
Share quotes and images on social media. Write a blog post — or two or three — on interesting aspects of the podcast. Include every episode in an email newsletter. Reach out to relevant influencers to pitch your episode. Use snippets to answer questions on Quora, forums, and social media. You could even use video snippets in social media advertising.
The key is the link to an episode page on your site. All of those links build authority. Search bots will follow the links, improving authority. And humans will click the links and engage with the content, which could result in more links.
8. Distribute widely. Podcast directories use your RSS feed to discover episodes and deliver them to their listeners. Every directory you submit your podcast to includes a link back to your site when you host the podcast yourself. Those directories tend to be authoritative. Links from them are valuable additions to your backlink profile. Moreover, every podcast directory has its own following. Submitting to only one or two means missing out on the links and listeners from all the others.
At the very least, submit your podcast to the big three: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Play. After that, consider Stitcher, TuneIn, Soundcloud, Podcaster, and dozens of others you’ll find in a Google search.
9. Interview influencers. An influencer is anyone who draws an audience for your podcast topic. It could be industry colleagues or customers (who use your products). An influencer could mention her appearance on your podcast to her listeners and readers, likely triggering more links and increasing your organic search authority.
10. Be consistent. Set a realistic schedule and stick to it. The more you publish, though, the faster you’ll see results. Like a blog, you may need to produce and promote tens of episodes before you gain much traction.
Consider posting more than one episode at launch. If they like your podcast, listeners could binge on a couple of episodes and share their discovery with the rest of the world.