Podcast SEO: 10 For Sure Ways to Boost Rankings

businesswoman-listening-to-podcast-seo

Nothing’s for sure, my mom would always tell me. Going to the pool isn’t for sure. Dairy Queen for dinner isn’t for sure. My friends coming over to see how fast they can push me down the sloped driveway in a wagon isn’t for sure.

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There is one thing for sure, though: Your podcast SEO rankings are going to go up if you follow this list.

Many of these tips come from podcast SEO master and host of Weird Work by HubSpot, Sam Balter. In this episode of B2B Growth, Sam offers some solid SEO advice to get your podcast in front of eyes and into ears.

He’s helped us answer today’s big question:

How do I optimize my podcast? To optimize your podcast for search, try these 10 tactics:

  1. Make a podcast website or page.
  2. Optimize your show’s description.
  3. Syndicate to Google Podcasts.
  4. Plan your episodes around keywords.
  5. Make shorter episodes.
  6. Optimize episode titles.
  7. Optimize show notes.
  8. Write blog posts based on the episodes.
  9. Use social media to promote your podcast.
  10. Get guests to share your show.

Before we get too deep in the weeds, let’s answer a few basic podcast SEO questions first.

What is Audio SEO?

Audio SEO — or, Search Engine Optimization — is a technique used to help audio-specific content rank for search terms on Google. The goal is to get audio content to show up on Google’s first SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for particular keywords.

Say you want to be found on Google for the search term “handmade guitars.” You might use an audio SEO approach to show up in the top results for that term.

Podcast SEO is a subcategory of audio SEO. It’s the type of audio you use to rank for search terms. You could otherwise use a webinar or an audiogram, but they likely won’t work as well as a podcast. That’s because Google now features a Podcasts section on its SERPs.

Do Podcasts Help SEO?

Podcasts absolutely help SEO (as long as you take the right steps).

See, podcast listenership is growing. That means more people with a wider variety of interests and needs. There’s someone out there who wants to hear about making guitars by hand or forging for the largest living beech mushroom. Whatever you choose to talk about, there’s someone who wants to listen.

More good news: Podcast listeners tend to be educated millennials with jobs. This is a highly targeted demographic for most businesses.

[READ: Just starting out in B2B podcasting? Don’t even think about making these 6 mistakes.]

And, since Google launched its own podcast platform, it prioritizes shows that adhere to its SEO demands best practices.

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In short, starting a podcast will help your rankings and organic search traffic. Google has made it even easier for podcasts and their episodes to appear on its SERPs.

How Do I Optimize My Podcast?

We thought you’d never ask (again). 😉

Optimizing your podcast for search engines is a fantastic way to gain more organic traffic. Consider the following 10 ways you can optimize your podcast for search.

1. Make a Podcast Website or Page

Creating a dedicated podcast page or website is step #1 to boosting your SEO through a podcast.

When you launch a podcast, you have to choose a service to host it on. Something like Castos, Sounder.fm, or Anchor. On your hosting platform, you’ll have a page for your show. However, this doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to SEO.

Aside from your hosting service’s page, you’ll either want to dedicate one of your existing website pages to your podcast or make a new website. This is because you have more opportunities to optimize for search when you own the page or site.

It also improves the UX of finding your show. Think of it as a home-base for your podcast where people can then decide which podcast player they want to listen on.

Existing Website Page

Using your current website to dedicate a page to your show is a viable route for a new podcaster. This way, you don’t have to develop anything brand new.

Things you’ll want to include on your podcast’s page:

  • Show name
  • Show description
  • Cover art
  • Email subscribe button
  • Social follow buttons

It should look something like this:

podcast-website-page-example

You can also include featured episodes that you want to promote.

featured-shows-podcast-page-example

New Podcast Website

Creating your podcast’s own website is the best option in terms of SEO. An entire site dedicated to your show will certainly up its organic traffic.

One reason this happens is that a website has a unique URL specific to your podcast. And, if you named your show after your target audience, it can be very good for SEO.

Having a dedicated podcast website gives you more real estate to work keywords into. Now, you don’t want to stuff your website like a burrito at Chipotle. But you do want to strategically work the content so keywords are used naturally.

2. Optimize Your Show’s Description

Your podcast’s description is one prime piece of content that should be optimized for search, without a doubt. That’s because the description pops up in a bunch of places.

  • Your host’s page
  • The show’s dedicated webpage or site
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts
  • Stitcher
  • Social profiles for your show
  • Search results for your podcast

When it comes to writing an optimized podcast show description, you should…

  1. Identify your show’s target audience.
  2. Make a list of keywords you want to be found for.
  3. Find what makes your show different from others in the same space.
  4. Decide on how frequently you’ll publish new episodes.

Then, write a description of your show about 600-900 characters long. Slip keywords in where it makes sense. You can use this template if you get stuck.

3. Syndicate to Google Podcasts

As a new podcaster, you could’ve missed this one: Make sure you’ve syndicated to Google Podcasts.

Syndication just means that when you publish new episodes to your podcast hosting service, it automatically updates podcast players (AKA, directories). This is so you only have to upload an episode once.

How to syndicate to Google Podcasts:

  1. Upload at least one episode to your hosting site. (We use Sounder.fm.)
  2. Submit your RSS feed URL to Google or wait for it to crawl your RSS feed. Don’t have an RSS feed? You can make one here.
  3. Wait for approval.

Since Google is a podcast directory in addition to a search engine, it’s able to crawl your page or website for the RSS feed. But, if you don’t want to wait around for the crawlers, there are ways to submit it manually.

The content associated with your show should now be easily found by Google. That’s what SEO is all about.

4. Plan Your Episodes Around Keywords

Keywords are to SEO as good shoes are to jogging — they keep the whole thing going.

Same goes for podcast SEO. Episodes should be built around a targeted keyword.

Optimize Episodes

For example, if you make guitars by hand, your podcast might be called something like The Emerging Singer/Songwriter or The Indie Music Show. Maybe you talk with musicians about their journey and opinions on industry updates. A common phrase you might use is “acoustic setlist.” (Or not. Just work with me on this one.)

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Knowing that acoustic setlists are important to your ideal customer, you decide to focus an entire episode on the topic. You call it How to Create the Best Acoustic Setlist.

Maybe you find a guest who knows a lot about making great acoustic setlists. Or, maybe it’s a solo episode. Either way, you’ve set up your podcast episode to target a keyword — that’s good for your SEO.

Plus, it makes it easier to create optimized content based on your podcast episodes.

Dynamic Ads

Sam points out that it’s easier to keep your podcast content evergreen when you use dynamic ads.

Dynamic ads are ad spaces you can update with new content. It used to be that podcast advertisements aged along with the episode. But now, you can update the ads that play in past episodes. So, when someone chooses to listen to an episode in your backlog, the ad is current.

Sam also suggests using your ad space to promote your own services. If you own a guitar shop, maybe you advertise the pedal that works really well for acoustic sets. It would fit well in an episode about acoustic setlists, no?

5. Make Shorter Episodes

Because podcasts can be passively consumed, creators can make episodes 20, 30, 50 minutes long and still hold listeners’ attention. Make a video that long and risk getting very few views.

“Podcast content in and of itself is really flexible.”

Sam Balter, Host of Weird Work by HubSpot

However, when you’re using your podcast to boost your SEO, it’s better to make shorter episodes. Keep them 10-15 minutes long.

Short & Informative

Sam says that because your podcast might pop up for a search term, the shorter the episode, the more likely someone will listen. The searcher is probably looking for a quick answer. So, try to make your episode as informative as possible in an as short amount of time as possible.

Cluster Your Episodes

One way to consider creating these short episodes is in a cluster. Sam suggests making one longer pillar episode and breaking each part off into a quick episode. Sort of like you would with blog posts.

Google favors content that’s all interconnected. That means searchers are more likely to find your stuff.

6. Optimize Episode Titles

Just like with your show’s name, the titles of each episode should be optimized if you prioritize SEO.

It should be pretty straightforward naming your episodes. Since you focused the episode around a keyword, make sure the keyword is somewhere in there. Better yet, put it at the beginning of the title.

Also, check Google to see what other creators have named their content. Try to name your piece something different that still emphasizes the keyword.

7. Optimize Show Notes

Show notes are the blurbs that summarize each individual episode. They pose a great SEO opportunity.

podcast-show-notes-example

Look at all that room for optimization. ☝

So far, you’ve chosen a keyword to target in your podcast episode. You’ve also given the episode an optimized title. Now, give a summary of what was discussed. It should be pretty easy to fit the targeted keyword in there once or twice.

Remember: Don’t stuff the show notes to the brim with keywords. Neither Google nor people appreciate that. Use them naturally.

8. Write Blog Posts Based on Episodes

Sam points out that a lot of marketers worry about cannibalizing their other channels when they start a B2B podcast. That the podcast will be way more popular than their other stuff but somehow not bring in as many leads.

For the most part, this is some B.S. It’s also a bad excuse for not starting a business podcast.

Repurpose Your Podcast

Podcasts aren’t consumed in the same time or space as other media. They’re not interrupting because people can consume them on their own time. If anything, a podcast adds to your market share.

Not to mention, a podcast actually makes it easier to feed your other channels, such as your blog.

Think about it: With a podcast, you’re creating a ton of good content that’s relevant to your target audience. Repurpose that shizz.

Blog Posts > Transcripts

Lots of podcasters think it’s enough to post the transcriptions of their podcast episodes. News flash: It’s not.

Who wants to go through and read a word-by-word interview? There’s a reason why you don’t see transcripts in the top three search results — no one wants to read them.

Google takes time on-page very seriously. If people aren’t spending time reading a transcript (they aren’t), then it’s not going to rank very high.

If, however, you take the time to mine the juicy parts of the interview and turn them into a well-organized post, you’re SEO is going to do 10000x better.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to execute because you planned the episode around a keyword. Pretty smart, right?

9. Use Social Media to Promote Your Podcast

Go a step further and turn your podcast content into social media posts.

[READ: Promoting your podcast is the fun part. Check out these 20 proven podcast marketing techniques.]

Linking back to your podcast through social media adds to its legitimacy and exposure. Both things Google takes into account.

Here are some examples of social media posts you can make to promote your ‘cast:

The thing to keep in mind when you’re promoting your podcast via social is the value your followers get from the post. You’re not making an ad — you’re making a social media post. Give your followers something before you ask them to check out your show.

10. Get Guests to Share Your Show

With all of the neat content you’re generating from your podcast, guests should find it easy to spread the word. You could even send them a blog post or video from their interview to share with their audiences.

Again, more coverage means more legitimacy means stronger SEO power.

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Try your best to make guests look like rockstars in the content you produce. They’re more likely to distribute something that makes them look good, ya know?

BONUS: Make Your Podcast a YouTube Show

Bonus round! 🌟

You know Google’s BFF, YouTube. It’s only the second largest search engine in the world. You see where I’m going with this?

Recording video of your interviews, doing some light editing, and publishing to YouTube with optimized title, description, and tags are things we absolutely recommend doing.

[READ: Wanna start a YouTube podcast? Do it in 10 steps.]

You’ve probably seen the YouTube videos that pop up on Google SERPs. Imagine if your podcast showed up for both the Podcasts section and Video sections. 🤯

If you have the resources and the will to make a YouTube podcast, it’ll really boost your SEO rankings.

Why Start a Podcast Now?

As with anything, the longer you wait, the harder it is to do.

“For people looking to start a podcast, get out there. Start today. Try and make some of your content on your own… It’s only going to get harder to get into this space.”

Sam Balter, Host of Weird Work by HubSpot

What’s the worst that could happen? You make a podcast and get zero downloads? Hey, at least you can say you made a podcast. That’s something!

But seriously, with these tips for increasing your podcast SEO, you’re gonna get listeners. There’s no doubt about it.

For more on #HowtoPodcast, subscribe to B2B Growth on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Emily Kingland

Lead Writer at Sweet Fish Media

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