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Podcast SEO: How to Optimize it?

podcast seo: how to optimize it

With the increasing influence of podcasts in the internet space, it’s crucial for people who own a podcast to spend some time improving their rankings on search engines.

In case you didn’t know, SEO (Search engine optimization) for podcasts is a real thing.

In fact, in 2019, Google officially announced that podcasts will start showing in search results

google's algorithm update about podcasts

Therefore, some of the rules you already know about classic SEO also apply for podcasts.

As a result, if you want to dramatically boost your podcast’s visibility and discoverability, you NEED to rank high in search engines such as Google.

That’s because high ranking result = lots of organic traffic.

And, as you may or may not know, organic traffic is the best type of traffic for many reasons:

  1. It’s free traffic
  2. It’s qualified
  3. It’s passive, meaning that you continue to get traffic even if you’re sleeping

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of this guide, it’s important to note that the main aspect that determines whether your podcast will show up on the first results or not is producing high-quality and valuable content.

Giving value to your audience should be your main priority and the foundation for everything you do, especially if you’re starting in the podcasting world.

There’s a lot of garbage on the internet.

That’s why the best way to differentiate from other podcasts is to deliver the best content possible.

With that said, in this article we’re going to review the top actionable ways to optimize your podcast for search engines so you can drive high-quality traffic and reach a larger audience.

Let’s dive in.

Prerequisite: Do keyword research for your podcast
podcast keyword research

Keyword research is one of the most important -yet overlooked- aspects of a solid SEO strategy overall.

It will help you answer two crucial questions:

  • What is your audience actually looking for?
  • How many people are looking for it?

Even if creating high-quality content should always be our main priority, having a good understanding of our community and what they’re looking for is crucial if you want to maximize your chances of becoming a successful podcaster.

That’s exactly why you need to invest some time finding the right keywords to target so you can optimize your content creation process.

Remember, our main objective here is to find relevant keywords for your market an audience so you can produce content around those specific keywords.

Surprisingly, a lot of podcasters don’t care about podcast keyword research at all.

And, unfortunately, lacking a proper keyword research strategy often results in a waste of time and effort: you will be producing content without knowing what your audience is really interested in.

Granted, it doesn’t mean that you can’t produce content based on what you personally like.

Heck, if you want to produce podcast content just for fun then, by all means, do it!

At the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy podcasting, what’s the point?

This article was made to show you the fundamentals of podcast SEO so you can optimize your podcast for search engines by strategically selecting keywords and topics that will bring you the most bang for your buck and make your show the next “The Joe Rogan Experience”

How to do keyword research?

Before you nerd out on the internet about tools and methods to do keyword research, I have a simple strategy that you can start using right now: Ask yourself some questions!

Think about your podcast and what kinds of terms your audience could be looking for.

On the same token, take a look at the content you’re currently providing and see what keywords better describe it.

After doing that, you can then start using some tools.

My favorite free SEO tools are: 

google keyword planner is a free tool you can utilize to do podcast keyword research

Best Paid SEO Tools:

semrush keyword research tool for podcast seo

If you’re starting out to rank your podcast, prioritize long-tail keywords with medium to high search volume and low competition.

These types of keywords are much easier to rank for.

To give you an example, let’s say you have a podcast about football (or soccer for our American audience).

Trying to rank for the keyword “football” or “football players” is going to be very hard because they have a lot of competition and, most of the time, big and recognized websites and brands already rank for these keywords so it’s a war you will most certainly lose.

Instead, optimize your podcast for long-tail keywords (or terms) such as “how to become a better football player?” or “best football boots in 2019

Once you start ranking for many different long-tail keywords you will see your podcast traffic going up and up.

How to optimize your podcast for search engines?

Now that you have a list of keywords and terms that you want to rank for, it’s time to make a plan to strategically use them.

You want to place those keywords in strategic places that will help your podcast rank.

Podcast episodes

keywords in podcast's episode

As obvious as it may sound, you need to place your focus keyword into your podcast episode’s names

Of course, you want to use keyword(s) that describe your episode’s overall theme.

By doing that, not only you’ll be optimizing your podcast episode for search engines but people will quickly understand what topics your podcast show covers.

One big tip I can give you is to use appealing names so you can attract listeners.

appealing podcast name

When people are looking for a podcast to listen, they usually click on the one that catches their attention and resonates with them.

Keep in mind that your show will line up against hundreds of thousands of other shows.

Having an appealing and interesting podcast name will help you stand out from the mix.

Make sure you don’t pick the same focus keyword for every podcast episode, though.

What I suggest my clients do is to pick one focus and broad keyword/topic and then create a podcast episode for several variations of that keyword.

Let’s say I want to optimize my podcast for the broad keyword “fitness”. 

I’m not just going to call all my podcast episodes “Fitness”.

I’m going to attack the fitness topic from several different angles such as:

“The impact of fitness in my life”, “How to start a fitness life?”, “Is a fitness lifestyle worth it?”, you get the point…

Podcast description

In your podcast descriptions, try to incorporate the targeted keywords naturally. 

Don’t force it.

optimize podcast descriptions to increase your podcast ranking
Podcast description for “breath” and other related terms

By writing a compelling podcast description that’s rich in keywords not only you will improve your ranking on search engines but also on podcast directories (iTunes Podcasts, Google Podcasts,…).

Potential new audiences that may be interested in your content will find your show easier if you use relevant keywords in your descriptions.

At the present time, search engines are not yet capable of “listening” to your podcast and transcribing it to a tee.

Hence the importance of SEO-optimized descriptions and titles.

They help search engines understand the nature of your podcast episode and improve its ranking.

Meta Description

If you’re familiar with SEO, you certainly know that writing an optimized meta description is crucial to rank in Google and other search engines.

Meta descriptions are little snippets that provide a summary of a web page’s content. They are shown on the search engine results page (SERP): 

meta descriptions can help to improve your podcast SEO

The main purpose of meta descriptions is to let internet users know what the web page’s content is about before clicking on it.

They are also useful to help search engines understand the nature of your content.

As a result, you MUST provide an optimized meta description for your podcast.

Besides doing the obvious, which is using relevant keywords, you also need to write compelling meta descriptions that make people want to click on your link!

ALT attributes

ALT attributes are HTML attributes used to give search engines a text alternative for images on your website.

alt attributes for better podcast seo

Search engines can’t “see” let alone interpret visuals.

That’s exactly why ALT attributes are so important.

They help search engines understand what the image is about so they can rank them based on the keywords used.

Create a website for your podcast

If you haven’t created a dedicated website for your podcast then what are you waiting for?

Building a website for your podcast carries a lot of benefits.

First of all, it’s an awesome and effective “online presentation card” for your podcast.

podcast website

Think about it.

What’s better than a website to present something? You can efficiently present a concept, a business, an association, a product, etc…

In our particular case, a website really comes in handy to show the visitors what your podcast is about, its history, the founder, what type of content to expect, why they should listen to you, and the list goes on…

On the other hand, you can also produce content, such as blog posts, about topics in your podcast’s niche.

By doing so, you will be able to boost your podcast’s ranking by creating amazing content on your niche while linking to your podcast episodes.

This is an SEO strategy called “backlinking”, used by many experts in the digital marketing space

Lastly, a website allows you to grow your audience effectively in many different ways.

You can, for example, have an email opt-in to get your visitors’ email addresses and set up email marketing strategies to bring people to your podcast.

email opt-in on podcast website

You can also place social sharing buttons on your website so visitors can share your content and connect with you on social media (for more info about this topic, go to Promote your podcast)

Get a transcription

Transcriptions are useful in many ways.

Sometimes, people want to listen to your podcast but they just can’t do it in that specific moment.

Whether it’s because they don’t have headphones, or because it’s not the right time to do it, providing a transcription allows them to “listen” to your podcast without audio, by reading the transcription. 

podcast transcriptions

Secondly, you can use transcriptions as another way to optimize your podcast for search engines.

Even though Google has come a long way in developing technologies that allow their search engines to “listen” and “analyze” audio content, they are not perfect (yet).

A transcription helps search engines classify your podcast and identify the content provided in it. 

Update and publish content regularly

Google likes platforms that publish and update their content frequently.

If you do so, it means that you’re active, so you will have a ranking advantage over other platforms that don’t deliver content regularly.

Because of that, sticking to a publishing schedule is the best thing you can do.

The more frequent you can record, edit and publish podcast episodes, the better.

However, don’t kill yourself by trying to stick to a schedule that doesn’t fit you and your lifestyle.

If you can publish podcast episodes every day, awesome, stick to that.

On the other hand, if you just can do it once a month, that’s great too, stick to that then.

The key here is consistency!

Not only search engines love consistency… your audience does too.

Knowing when your favorite podcast show (or any other type of show) is going to upload a new episode is exciting and makes you wanna listen to it as soon as possible. 

Get high-quality backlinks

Backlinks (also known as inbound links or incoming links) are links from an external website to another specific website’s page.

podcast backlink

They play a huge role in SEO and are often considered, by a lot of digital marketing experts, the most important ranking factor.

Let me explain why backlinks are such an important part of SEO:

In today’s internet era, which is characterized by having overwhelming amounts of information, if a website page happens to have got a lot of links from external sources (aka backlinks) then it usually means that it’s a legit, trusted website with great content that’s worth linking to.

Therefore, If you want to see a substantial improvement in your podcast’s rankings, consider getting backlinks from high-authority websites.

Now, before you start grinding to get some quality links, let me warn you.

It’s going to take time and effort.

However, it’s well worth it if you do it right.

You will see a huge improvement in your podcast’s traffic.

And, keep in mind that, if it was easier, everyone would do it.

Promote your podcast

If you produce amazing content but not so many people know about it then what’s the point?

Planning, recording, editing… having a podcast is not easy and takes a lot of dedication.

If you’re like me, you want your podcast to be discovered by as many people as possible.

Promoting is a very important aspect of a podcast business. 

And, of course, it’s also crucial for podcast SEO.

We’re going to review my preferred methods to promote your podcast so you can get more monthly listeners and improve your podcast’s discoverability on the web.

Social Media

A strong social media presence can do magic for your podcast SEO strategy.

That’s because social media platforms are extremely powerful to get people to know you.

So, it’s a great tool to promote your podcast and your content, which indirectly helps your podcast rank better because of the increase in traffic coming from social media.

social media can improve your podcast seo efforts

When you publish something on a social platform like Instagram or Facebook and a lot of people like, share and comment on it, it automatically increases its reach and thus the number of people that discovers you and your podcast. 

For that reason, working on your social media profiles and building an engaged community is something that you shouldn’t neglect.

In addition, Google likes reputed websites.

If your social media efforts bring considerable amounts of traffic to your podcast, you bet Google will like it and will see it as a signal that your podcast is reliable and a source of great content that people enjoy.

Use email marketing

We just talked about using social media to promote your podcast.

Well, you can also utilize the power of email marketing to do the same.

Email marketing is often overlooked and highly underrated by many marketers and podcasters.

But, lucky for you, I’m here to guide you! 

If you have been capturing your listeners’ email addresses, kudos to you!

It’s the best thing you can do and, the sooner you start doing it, the better.

In fact, I always say that email lists are assets.

Why? Because they belong to you and only you. Also because you can monetize them, especially if they are big and qualified email lists.

On the other hand, if you’re not capturing email addresses then it’s time to start doing so.

If you’re lost and don’t really know which strategies you can use to capture email addresses from your podcast listeners, check out this article.

You can then create strategic email campaigns to promote your podcast episodes.

However, always give some value first.

And please don’t spam your audience sending emails everyday.

Keep your email campaigns informative while promoting your podcast efficiently.

Improve website speed

Google doesn’t like slow websites, period.

We live in a society where people don’t like to wait.

Google’s algorithm is not different.

It will penalize slow websites because it interferes with a smooth user experience.

There are many techniques to improve your website’s load speed, and some of them you can start applying right now:

  • Compress your images: Extremely high-definition images are beautiful and engaging. However, they are large files that may be slowing down your website. That’s exactly why you need to reduce their file size. The best way to do it is by compressing them so you don’t lose any quality in the process.
  • Move to a better-performing hosting provider: If you pay for web hosting, you certainly chose the least expensive plan. And, for the vast majority of hosting providers, the least expensive plan corresponds to shared hosting. There exist three types of hostings: shared hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS) hosting and dedicated server. For obvious reasons, VPS and dedicated servers are more expensive than shared hosting. However, if your website has a lot of traffic and you’re starting to get speed problems, then it might be time to invest in better hosting to take your website’s speed up a notch
  • Uninstall useless plugins: If you’re the type of person to install dozens of different plugins (like me) but you only a few, then it may be a wise choice to uninstall the ones you don’t use. Believe it or not, having a lot of installed plugins, even if you don’t use them, actually slow down your website and thus penalize it in the eyes of google’s algorithm.

Bonus: Say your focus keywords in your podcast

I know it may sound silly but saying your targeted keywords while recording your podcast shows is a great strategy if you want to maximize your chances of ranking for those keywords.

The reason for that is that Google is starting to automatically transcribe podcasts as we said earlier.

It means that podcasts will start ranking based on their audio content and not just their on-page optimization.

I’m a firm believer that this kind of technology will become extremely powerful.

It’s going to have the ability to analyze and understand a podcast episode just like a person would.

That’s crazy and it represents a window of opportunity for all of us podcasters who want to succeed in this space.

Final words

Ok future podcasters, now that you know the best podcast SEO strategies, it’s time to take action!

But first, as mentioned before, it’s crucial to put your podcast’s quality at the top of your priority list.

In the long term, it’s the single most important factor that will determine whether your podcast outperforms others and become famous and reputed.

SEO is about quality first, don’t forget that.

You need to deliver the best content possible if you want to rank high on search engines, period.

If you have other strategies for podcast SEO, share them with the community in the comment section below!

What is Podcast SEO?

Podcast SEO consists of optimizing your podcast show for search engines, such as Google, to improve its reach and discoverability.

Why is Podcast SEO important?

With more than 800000 active podcasts on the web, it’s crucial to stand out if you want your podcast to be recognized. That’s where the importance of podcast SEO comes from: it will help your show to be more discoverable.

How to optimize my podcast for search engines?

1. Place your targeted keywords on strategic places (podcast episodes, descriptions, meta descriptions, alt attributes)
2. Create a dedicated website
3. Get a transcription
4. Update and publish content regularly
5. Get high-quality backlinks
6.Promote your podcast
7. Utilize Social Media
8. Use email marketing
9. Improve website speed
Bonus: Say focus keywords in your podcast

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Nicolas Olaya

Nicolas Olaya is a digital marketing student, founder of The Practical Money Land. Making money online, blogging and helping others reach their goals are his main passions. With his content, he hopes he will help you excel at your business or, at least, motivate you to start your own online business!

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