Podcast SEO: How to Rank Audio Content Successfully

In 2018, Zack Reneu-Wedeen, Google Podcasts’ product manager, said, “Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple of years.”

In 2019, Google declared they’d surface podcasts in the SERPs and make them playable.

In 2023, podcast listeners rocketed to 464 million listeners worldwide!

All this traction shows that if your podcast comes up fast on search engines such as YouTube, Spotify or Apple Podcasts, it can land you tons of traffic, downloads, listenership and brand recognition.

That’s why, in this article, I’ll detail a list of the top 14 podcast SEO strategies you can use to elevate your podcast audience.

Let’s go!

Dominate the podcast scene: 14 SEO strategies you need

1. Distribute your podcast across key platforms

When your episodes are hosted on podcast platforms, it increases their exposure and inevitably attracts more subscribers. Here are the top 3 spots to list your podcasts:

  • YouTube: It would be foolish to overlook the second-largest search engine. Upload the audio along with only one image (often the graphic from your podcast) to serve as the "video" component. To make it simpler for your audience to locate you, create an SEO-friendly title, put it in the right category, compose a transcript, and include relevant tags.
  • Spotify: Spotify stands as the world's second most popular podcast listening platform, with around 299 million listeners globally. You can get a general idea of your listeners by using Spotify analytics, which includes information about their age range and favorite episodes. Counting the amount of followers is another benefit it offers. Spotify also allows users to create customized playlists such as "Your Daily Podcasts," "This Week's Top Podcasts," and "Brain Snacks" to help expand their listenership.
  • Apple Podcasts: Get your program in Apple Podcasts Connect with an RSS feed, or create it from scratch using the app. You can just include the podcast's URL, episode count, release date, genre, synopsis, and title. There are additional technical requirements, but one episode should be enough for you to start. 

    Using podcast statistics and listener behavior data, you can market your show on Apple Podcasts, create channels to highlight your brand, encourage listener subscriptions, and increase awareness.

2. Find your voice: selecting the ideal podcast topics

Podcasts cover a wide range of topics. However, they often fall into three groups:

  • Trending topics generate a lot of interest and conversation on social media.
  • Evergreen topics include podcast topics that have a long history of interest and persistent search demand.
  • Interviews use interviewees' knowledge and experiences to elevate talks by focusing on subjects related to their expertise or interest.

Carefully choose your podcast topics to draw in and maintain your audience's interest. Strike a balance between your enthusiasm and what your audience finds relatable. 

Decide on your podcast's main theme, then explore further to uncover interesting and relevant subtopics. In this process, audience input is a priceless tool. To learn about the interests and preferences of your audience, communicate with them directly or through email surveys, social media polls, or other means.

By using social listening techniques, you can improve the lure of your material and encourage audience participation and a sense of community. Each episode ought to provide something of value, be it instructive, enjoyable, or just thought-provoking. Your intention should be to inspire your audience to want to know more about you and excitedly anticipate your next episode, whether they are entertained, motivated, or educated.

Pro tip

I advise you to use Rank Tracker to discover the most popular topics among your target audience. Its Keyword Research module offers more than 20 research methods, including Related Searches and People Also Ask Questions. With such a tool in your arsenal, you can quickly find new content ideas, be it for a podcast or blog. 

For example, if you run a podcast about gardening, you can enter one of your broad topics like “vegetable gardening” and get hundreds of relevant ideas:

Download Rank Tracker

With the tool, you'll discover high-demand, low-competition topics by analyzing SEO and PPC data. This data-driven approach helps you create specific, audience-focused episodes that resonate with their search queries and interests. 

3. Craft high-quality content to build authority

Google prefers to highlight more authoritative content, much like it does with written material. You need high-quality content to establish authority and be acknowledged by the search engine's algorithm as a leader in the field. Low-quality content will not be as viewed, will not captivate people, and will not deliver the necessary information. You can maintain relevance with listeners and establish authority by prioritizing quality over quantity.

Although every podcast producer believes their show is amazing, a good podcast should meet certain standards, such as:

  • Your show's key concept should be clear to your audience and your should always know how to convey it in the best way possible. Stick to language that’s easy for your audience to comprehend.
  • Since you’re aware of what troubles your listeners are having (did you notice that we discussed this in our very first step?), the content of your podcast should address and provide answers to those concerns. Speaking about topics that interest your audience will grow your subscriber list, boosting interaction, feedback, references, and links. In the end, your podcast will dominate your niche.
  • Podcast scripts reign supreme in podcast marketing, much like content does in content marketing. Rehearse ahead of your recording and keep it sounding natural. Revise and edit your script to retain only the most noteworthy content.
  • A basic microphone can’t be used to record a podcast. You’ll require a range of top-notch equipment for top-quality sound, which is crucial for a successful podcast. You'll need editing software, pop filters, mixers, microphone stands, and headphones with amplifiers.
  • During the live show, let the audience interact freely. People enjoy hearing other people's ideas and opinions the same way they enjoy listening to the host.

What Is Domain Authority and Why It Matters for SEO Learn more

4. Do your research to bring in the right guests

You can grow your podcast's audience by inviting renowned or entertaining guests. Individuals frequently look for content about topics they are interested in or artists they wish to hear from. Adding guest biographies and relevant links to the show notes increases exposure and draws in new listeners. 

Keep in mind, choosing guests should complement the topic of your podcast. It goes beyond simply featuring well-known figures. For instance, regardless of how well-known they were, you wouldn't have a fitness and wellness expert on your podcast if it's focused on SEO. 

Choosing the proper guests for your podcast is beneficial to both of you. It's a mutually beneficial partnership in which you introduce them to your target audience in exchange for inviting a portion of their target market to see you.

5. Make a trailer for your podcast

Similar to a movie trailer that provides you with a brief synopsis, a podcast trailer serves as a teaser for your show. You can attract more potential listeners and offer your audience a preview of the content of your show. Add a bit of music to your trailer to create anticipation and highlight your podcast's USP.

Allow 30 to 40 seconds for the podcast trailer. It is advisable to begin your trailer by talking about the issues the audience faces since this will pique their attention and encourage them to watch your complete show. Don't forget to explain at the end of the trailer how the episode will address their concerns or provide the answers they need.

Don't imitate what others are doing in your niche. Instead, make your trailer stand out. Explain to listeners why they should care about your podcast. Just as in movie trailers, you can include brief snippets from your show. An effective podcast trailer can increase engagement and help with optimization for search engines.

Let’s look at a real-life instance of a podcast teaser for “For All Mankind” that piqued listeners' interest and motivated them to tune in when the show premiered:

6. Keep optimizing the podcast metadata

The four most important podcast metadata tags that must be carefully entered are author name, title, description, and category. Here are some tips that can help you make the most out of your podcast:

  • Every episode you post must have its own title and description.
  • Make sure the headline for your podcast captures the essence of the episode or podcast and helps the reader grasp the topic.
  • Adopt a minimal approach when selecting keywords for the title and descriptions, avoiding overuse.
  • As you build your own brand, give your podcast a name. Naming schemes such as "Marketing With Coffee" or "Marketing Mentors By..." are appropriate.
  • Episode numbers should not be included in the header tag.
  • Clearly describe your show in your description. Your description appears in Apple iTunes only for the first 100 characters, so make sure your USP is there initially.
  • Select a maximum of three classifications that closely correspond to the content.

10 HTML Tags Essential for SEO Learn more

7. Include audio transcription for each episode

Even though Google is still working on improving its podcast transcription technology, having precise and high-quality transcripts can greatly help search engines comprehend the substance of your program.

If you use keywords wisely, organize your content around essential themes, and optimize accessibility for a larger audience, transcription may become the key that unlocks your content's full potential. 

Adding time brackets to the transcription will help improve readability even further by making it easier for listeners to find particular segments of your podcast.

Transcripts can be added to the episodes on any podcast-hosting platform. Long-term SEO improvements and increased podcast accessibility are significant advantages of podcast transcription, even if it can be time-consuming. If you find creating the transcript too tough, you can use podcast transcription services like Rev, which charge $1.50 USD for every 60 seconds of audio.

Not every podcast presenter can commit to moving forward with such services right now. Still, it could be well worth spending on podcast transcriptions if you're serious about growing your audience and improving your show's online profile.

8. Make your RSS feed optimized

Using an RSS feed for your podcast makes it easier for listeners to access your audio content. You have to publish the podcast on a platform like SoundCloud to obtain an RSS feed (this procedure is detailed in the section below).

Include a suitable title, an email address, the name of the creator, a synopsis of the podcast, and a header image in the feed form that comes up when uploading. Ensure that all episode- and podcast-level tags are included.

For a more detailed understanding, here’s how to create a podcast RSS feed.

9. Create podcast episode highlights

Include a synopsis that explains the podcast's topic. You should also include an in-depth summary of the podcast's contents. Talk about the main points, important debates, information on the guests, and noteworthy highlights that can draw in listeners looking for information. A thorough yet precise overview makes it easier for interested parties to locate and interact with the podcast in accordance with their tastes and interests.

After each episode, jot down a sentence about interesting anecdotes or jokes guests share. You can highlight them to capture the listener’s attention and direct them to the full episode.

10. Take advantage of Google Podcasts Manager

Similar to Google Business Profile Manager for entrepreneurs, Google Podcasts Manager is a program that helps you index and verify your podcast on the Google network.

You may use the additional data that Google Podcasts Manager provides about your podcast and your audience's listening habits to enhance the next episodes and increase their engagement. Better yet, there is no cost associated with the service.

You will receive tailored data regarding your podcast's performance across Google properties after you publish or register your show on Google Podcasts Manager, assuming it isn't already there. This information includes:

  • Number of times your podcast has been downloaded or listened to within the Google Podcast app.
  • The duration listeners spent on your most recent episode and the points at which they typically stopped listening.
  • What gadgets your audience is using.
  • The search terms that viewers use to find your program.

When you publish episodes to your podcast hosting platform, Google Podcasts Manager makes sure that the Google Podcast app automatically updates with the new content. All metrics and insights are integrated right in, along with the additional exposure.

11. Leverage social media for outreach

The most effective way to advertise your podcast is on social media. I’ve outlined some of the best tactics to use to connect with potential social media subscribers for your podcast below:

  • Remember to tag your guests and co-presenters when sharing podcast episodes with your fans.
  • Take advantage of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn as your top four platforms for social podcast marketing.
  • Make your posts suitable for various social media networks. For Instagram users, for instance, make your post aesthetically pleasing. If you’re using YouTube, your title and thumbnail should also be eye-catching.
  • Record a few of your podcasts for Facebook Live to engage with your audience directly.
  • Use appropriate hashtags. For example, if your target market is stay-at-home mothers in Nashville over 35, use more targeted hashtags like #health, #momlife, and #nashville instead of #yoga, #health, and #wellness.
  • Give away goodies to attract new listeners and grow your podcast's audience.

12. Reuse your podcasts in new ways

You can turn an excellent podcast episode into an eBook, a blog article, or a YouTube video that can be downloaded. By recycling the content, you may build authority and promote your podcast with links on other pages.

Since blog posts still account for nearly all of the search engine results, they are a great approach to boost your SEO. A podcast raw transcript can be used as the basis for an article. From there, you can expand it with headings, rationales, and other content sections that can be divided into digestible segments.

You can boost the popularity of your podcast by creating a landing page for every new episode. The more content you have on your website, the more likely people searching for related terms will reach your page. Building these landing pages lets you give Google more details about your podcast and its episodes, boosting your show’s position on the SERP.

13. Establish credibility using backlinks

Any link pointing to one of your website's pages or podcasts from an outside website is known as a backlink. Backlinks play a crucial role in SEO, showing Google that your pages are credible and relevant to users. Among the techniques used in a link-building strategy are:

  • Having a guest appearance on a different podcast.
  • Making images for your podcast that may be used on other websites.
  • Having a link to your podcast on lists of industry podcasts.

A Successful Link Outreach Campaign in 6 Steps (+ Templates) Learn more

14. Boost response time and speed

Google has discovered that a mere two-second loading delay can lead to a 32 percent rise in bounce rates. Meaning that if your audience has to wait a long time for the episode to load, they won’t stay for long. However, devoted listeners could be more inclined to become paid subscribers if your web page performs well.

Here are some really effective methods to improve the time it takes to load your podcast website:

  • Install a plugin for caching: Sometimes, it can take a while for your site to load completely. Caching can take care of that. When a page remembers something from a user's previous visit, it usually pertains to static elements. Consequently, it loads faster since there is less data to load.

    Usually, caching takes place on the server side. With a plugin, you may also effortlessly take control of it. I highly recommend WP Rocket if you're in the market for one.

    With a small amount of setting, you can easily install this premium plugin and optimize your website immediately. Another free option is the WP Super Cache plugin. This tool is simple to use, efficient, and free. It takes only a few minutes to install, activate, and set it up.

  • Make use of an audio file host: Your brand is most likely centered around your audio content. If so, you might be tempted to use your own server to host your podcast episodes. But keeping these bulky files on your disk can make loading times longer. The issue will get worse the more episodes you record. Because of this, you may want to think about using a hosting provider for your files, which might improve the speed of your website.

    I suggest Castos as an audio host if you're in the market.

    It's not just your stuff that Castos hosts. It provides services to help you automatically make transcriptions that are accessible, auto-publish episodes to various podcast sites, and get to know your audience better.

  • Pick a podcast theme that uses minimal coding: Poor themes slow down your website and can be difficult to fix. Thankfully, you can avoid this pesky issue by using a well-designed theme from the start or even replacing the one you have. Many types of themes are great for podcasts or are designed to the highest standards of style and performance. 

    You should look for themes with high user ratings, website loading speed, extensive documentation (which suggests that the theme developers have thoroughly tested it), and a huge community for support.

The verdict: prioritize quality over SEO

As podcasts continue to gain popularity as a form of content, I believe we will be devoting more time to "podcast SEO." The podcast industry is expected to grow stronger due to Google's increased attention to podcasts and their ability to appear on search engine results pages.

However, remember that your podcast's quality should still come first.

Your podcast's success will primarily depend on its audio and topic quality. Unless your podcast has a strong foundation, SEO or promotion won’t be effective.

Consider your sound quality, develop a catchy title, and choose a distinct subject. These will allow communication between your podcast and your potential listeners, facilitating success in marketing and search engine optimization.

Article stats:
Linking websites N/A
Backlinks N/A
InLink Rank N/A
Data from: free backlink tool.
Got questions or comments?
Join our community on Facebook!