Podcasting has become immensely popular in recent years, and as of 2021 there are more than two million podcasts with an estimated 120 million listeners collectively.
In 2019, Google began indexing podcasts to appear in search results in response to the rising demand from audiences and content creators.
If you’re a podcaster that wants to increase your podcast’s visibility and grow your audience, it’s essential to learn how to optimize your podcast for visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of tailoring your online content to appear higher in search engine rankings. Using relevant and searchable keywords, offering a variety of content formats, and making use of social media are all excellent ways to boost discoverability and take your podcast to the next level.
5 Effective Ways to Optimize Your Podcast
The first steps in launching a successful podcast are defining your target audience and establishing a focused theme. By doing so, you’ll make it easier for both listeners and search engines to understand what your show is about.
Thanks to the latest advances in language processing technology, search engines can recognize verbalized keywords and automatically transcribe podcast episodes to highlight them in search results. Although podcasts tend to have a conversational tone, be mindful of structuring the conversation logically for queries that might pop up in Google.
Try to work in applicable keywords where they naturally fit. This will help you when you start repurposing your content as well, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Here are the best ways to optimize your podcast for visibility:
1. Submit Your Podcast on Google Podcasts Manager
To have Google index your podcast, all you need to do is register with Google Podcasts Manager. Once you’ve verified your account, Google analyzes your RSS feed and adds it to their search results. The Google Podcasts carousel is gold in terms of both visibility and discoverability.
Be sure to optimize your episode descriptions in Google Podcasts. The below screenshot shows an episode from the podcast Drink More Water which includes the following:
- Comprehensive description
- Links to social media profiles
- Contact email
In addition to Google Podcasts, you’ll also want to submit your podcast to the other major podcast directories to reach a broader base of potential listeners. Some of the top platforms to submit your podcast to include Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and iHeartRadio.
Find out which ones your target audience uses most, and submit your RSS feed to those directories first. However, try and get on every directory you can to maximize your show’s visibility.
2. Use the Right Keywords
Keywords are the universal language that search engines use to connect users with the content they’re looking for. The search starts with your episode’s title, so it’s best to choose a keyword phrase with high search volume and relatively low competition that accurately describes the theme and focus of your episodes.
In addition, include relevant keywords throughout the episode where possible while maintaining an authentic voice.
When writing your episode’s descriptions, be sure to insert those keywords where relevant as well. By being thorough, you’ll naturally optimize your descriptions.
You can also simply perform a Google Search and see what appears in the autocomplete results below the search bar and also the Related searches at the bottom of the result for keyword ideas.
The below screenshot shows a search for the query “Podcasts about” using the free keyword tool Soovle, which provides keyword suggestions from all the major search engines.
3. Create a Website for Your Podcast
While creating your own website isn’t the only way to get found online, it’s a fantastic way to optimize your podcast’s visibility. A website or at the very least a page on your existing website dedicated to your podcast makes it easier for search engines to find your show. It’s also an excellent way to engage more with your audience.
A digital home for your show gives you the opportunity to repurpose your podcast material into blog posts, episode transcriptions, show notes with timestamps, episode artwork, and more. It also provides the search engines with better context to highlight your podcast and its related content.
Making your ideas available in a wide variety of formats gives your audience more ways to interact with your website. Higher interaction rates can also boost your search ranking.
Pro Tip: Transcribe and embed your podcast episodes for maximum visibility.
Good podcast hosts will give you the ability to embed your episodes on your website so that your visitors can listen without having to download an app or click away to a directory.
When visitors are looking for answers on Google, if they can visit your website and find what they are looking for, two things can happen. First, they will stick around and read or listen to the content which will tell Google that your website is providing a good user experience. Second, that visitor might bookmark your page, share it, or click around to other posts on your site.
Both of these scenarios are helpful for your visibility and reputation!
4. Expand to YouTube
YouTube is second only to Google in daily traffic. Filming your show live, or using Zoom and then uploading the footage are two easy ways to get your episodes on YouTube.
There are also file converters, editing software, and audio gram programs such as Wavve or Headliner allows you to transform your podcast audio into videos. You can also record videos of your podcast participants or overlay the audio with other visual media such as photos, informational charts, diagrams, or animation to create YouTube ready content.
The below screenshot shows podcast episodes uploaded to YouTube with key moments surfacing in search results.
5. Be Active on Social Media
When it comes to connecting with your existing fanbase and reaching new audiences, social media is one of the most effective mediums you can be utilizing.
Growing and popular shows use social media to build their brand, share the latest episodes, connect with their audience, and more.
So you might be thinking, what does social media have to do with SEO?
When people perform branded searches for your show, your podcast’s social media profiles will typically appear on the first page of search results.
Also, if you are active on Twitter, Google may decide to display a Tweet Carousel of your latest tweets.
As an example, below is a screenshot of a Twitter Carousel appearing in a search result for Drunken Peasants, a podcast that focuses on news, entertainment, and politics.
Make Optimization a Habit
Taking the time to optimize your podcast can be the difference between a few downloads, and a successful show.
Through optimization and by repurposing your podcasting into other formats like video you’ll have a stronger presence online and more opportunities to get your show discovered.