(By Matty Staudt and Joe Stone) There’s a lot of talk in various online podcasting groups about the best ways to get people to listen to your podcast. Other than making sure you have quality content and marketing, it needs to be discoverable. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Here are a few things you can do to help get your podcast discovered. Once you get that episode completed, it’s time to brainstorm and think of what the episode is really about.
Keyword – Think of a keyword that best describes the episode. Keep it short, simple, and relevant. And try not to use it in future episodes.
You’ve got your keyword picked out, and you’ve uploaded it to your podcast host. Now it’s time to dig in.
Titles – Keep it simple, strong, and relevant. Remember that keyword? Use it here. Cutesy creative titles do nothing for SEO. Call it was it is.
Descriptions – This is sometimes the most overlooked part of a podcast. When publishing, make sure you include a detailed and relevant description of your episode that mentions the subject, guests, and that keyword that we talked about.
RSS – Most podcast hosting platforms will do this to an extent, but make sure that your RSS feed is submitted to all of the big podcast directories. Here is a great list on Simplecast’s website that shows you how to it manually. Having your podcast listed on various sites that link back to your own will drastically improve your ranking. More on that later.
Website/Blog – If you don’t already have a website or blog for your podcast, I highly recommend it. Even if it’s a free one through a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly. Even Google Sites or Blogger is better than nothing.
Headers – Include at least one header text (H2) that also includes your keyword.
Body – Create a content summary of the episode with keywords — but don’t give away the story. Also, if your podcast is branded and meant to eventually drive traffic to your website, a full transcription could be a good idea. I’ve seen it work for some podcasts.
Images – Images don’t help with SEO because search engines can’t read photos (yet), so that’s why it’s important that you add alt text to any imagery on your site.
Audio Player – Embedded audio player of your episode so people can listen in right there. You might find that your analytics show listeners don’t tune in long on these web players, but don’t worry. That’s most likely because they are sampling it to see if they like it, and then will listen to it on their preferred player.
Podcast App Buttons – Links to other platforms where people can listen to your podcast (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.)
Social Media Links – Link out to your social media channels so listeners can follow you there and you can build a community.
Meta Description – This is a short HTML tag, a description if you will, that search engines display that summarizes the content of your web page. Make sure the keyword is in there.
Social Media – Sharing and active communities. This may or may not seem a bit obvious. Not only does having an active social media community benefit your podcast brand, but posts liked and shared more will rank higher in search engines. Plus the content being driven back and forth between your site and social channels improves ranking as well. Share your content!
Linkbacks – We’ve touched on this a bit already with social media. It’s important to not only link out to reputable and relevant sites but also to have other sites linking back to your content. There are a few ways to do this. You can do it organically by writing your own blogs with links and also writing content for other blogs that link back. The other option is to join an SEO network or directory. We have this option available to our clients.
YouTube – This may ruffle some feathers out in the podcast industry, because it is often said that a podcast is not video, it’s audio. And I agree — up to a point. However, you can’t just brush this off. Behind only Google, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world with more than 3 billion searches a month being performed on the platform. That’s more than the next four largest search engines combined. And YouTube content ranks higher on Google’s search engine. Plus, if you utilize it, it’s another way to potentially monetize your podcast if you get enough traction there.
If the thought of recording in front of a camera terrifies you, you aren’t alone. There are ways to leverage the platform without having to become a “YouTuber.” Because, honestly, shooting and editing video will add a whole other level of complexity to your production schedule — and nobody has time for that. Another easier option is to convert the audio you already have into a video format using a service like Headliner. Then after you upload the content to YouTube, use the same description and keyword methods you did for your podcast host above to further improve your SEO.
Matty Staudt is the Founder of Jam Street media and can be reached for consulting and podcast production at firstname.lastname@example.org or on all socials @MattyStaudt. Matty will also be sharing his podcasting wisdon at the Radio Ink Hspanic Radio Conference in March