Podcasting is on the rise. This isn’t just a casual marketing phrase, podcast popularity has been rising like a launching space shuttle with a growth of 11% in the last year in the US alone.
Here in Ireland where I am based, 1.1% of the population listen to podcasts. This figure is set to grow as we are a country where audio is our most favourite pass-time with 83% of people listening to radio every single day of the week.
Not impressed yet? Over 112 million Americans have listened to at least one podcast and more than 67 million listen to podcasts every month and 42 million users listen to podcasts every week. That’s 15% of the entire US population, an astounding number when you consider that podcasting is also one of the youngest forms of publically accepted media on the market.
This presents a big opportunity for those of us creating podcasts in countries outside of Ireland also. My podcast, JSB Talks Digital for example, appeals to marketers in English-speaking countries.
However, listenership isn’t the only thing that’s rising. Because the basics of a podcast are relatively easy to accomplish, requiring only an episodic audio recording that can be uploaded to iTunes, everyone can do it.
Creators range from interesting individuals recording from home to large professional companies sharing industry news for their B2B partners.
Of course, even with millions of listeners available accessing from dozens of platforms, how do you make your podcast stand out among the many others all clamouring for valuable listener attention?
There are, fortunately, enough listeners to go around as many of them listen to six or more different shows a week, but you still have to achieve a certain rank on search engines and podcast directories in order to reach your desired audiences in the first place.
If you’re familiar with marketing, you may see where this is going… The best way to rank anything in a search engine or similar program is with great SEO.BLOG: How to Optimise Your #Podcast for #SEO | #JSBTalksDigital Click To Tweet
How Does One ‘SEO’ a Podcast?
The traditional form of SEO involves altering the content of a website, video, or blog slightly, working in particular words and phrases that connect directly to what potential customers tend to type in a search box.
But a podcast’s content is all audio which is hard to scan for SEO purposes. The good news is that this unique limitation means that you don’t have to change how you write your shows, just how you write about them.
If you have a great podcast that is, for some reason, not showing up in iTunes or other directory sites then it may be time to do a little search engine optimisation. Here’s how…
Step 1 – Always Start with Keyword Research
No matter how ready you are to optimize your podcast to reach more listeners, no amount of SEO techniques will be helpful unless you have a collection of the right keywords.
These are the words your target audience is likely to type into a search bar when looking for a new podcast.
These can be genre names, specific topics, industries, content details, or even a particular broadcast style. You will want at least three or four to start with but should endeavour to constantly seek new keyword research to better optimize future episodes.
Research can be done with computers and analytics or you can start with intuition and a knowledge of what your audience is looking for.
Your goal is to find popular search terms that also perfectly describe your content so users find exactly what they’re looking for when your podcast appears on their search results.
Step 2 – Your Podcast Name
If you’re already ‘casting, it’s not too late to – slightly – alter the name of your podcast for something a little easier to find on a search.
Keep your unique name, but make sure you have a tagline that explains what your podcast is about in a search engine optimised phrase.
The name of a podcast is the most ‘relevant’ piece of your listing when it comes to search engine optimization, meaning that if you want to get noticed by listeners, make sure you include one or more of their related interests in your title.
A good example for a fitness podcast might be “Fitter Me – The Fitness Weight Loss Podcast”.
This will help both fitness and weight loss interested listeners find the podcast without losing the unique and easily identifying name of the show itself.
That said, remember to keep it short and mobile-readable. You don’t want the name to run off the page.#PodcastingSEO Tip: The name of a podcast is the most 'relevant' piece of your listing when it comes to search engine optimization | #JSBTalksDigital Click To Tweet
Step 3 – Your Episode Names
Each episode you make should have its own name crafted based on the contents and the intention you had when recording it.
It is also one of your few opportunities to sneak a little SEO into your podcast content and design. Make sure your episode names use one or two of your researched keywords in order to help bring listeners to your best work while remaining unique and entertaining for your existing audience.
This is one of the reasons why it’s important to never stop researching your keywords. You can even take a page from the ‘SEO Copywriting’ book and build a few interesting new episodes based on popular keywords your listeners are searching for like a writing prompt challenge.
Just remember that, like the title, you should keep your episode names reasonably short so they are more likely to appear completely on the screen, even if the listener is searching on a smaller mobile device.
Step 4 – Number of Plays and Downloads
The success of a podcast is most often measured by the number of plays and downloads they achieve among their listener base and a growing amount of listeners over time. You may be thinking that you have no control over this but, technically, you do.
You can actually encourage your listeners to re-listen to older episodes boosting your number of plays simply by ensuring the episodes have replay value.
Mysteries, for instance, might subtly encourage listeners to go back and look for clues in previous episodes while informative blogs will be re-listened to catch particular facts people want to remember or share with others.
The more individual downloads and streamed listening session, the better your platform search ranking.#PodcastingSEO Tip: The more individual downloads and streamed listening session, the better your platform search ranking | #JSBTalksDigital Click To Tweet
Step 5 – Ratings and Reviews
Unsurprisingly, the amount you are promoted by directories is closely related to the positivity you get back from listeners in the form of ratings and reviews.
Directories want more energetic traffic and popular podcasts are what achieves this for them. Of course, ratings and reviews are something that you can’t directly control but you can use your influence within the podcast itself if you have a strong connection to your listeners.
When your listeners aren’t just absorbing news but actually feel as if they know you, it becomes easier to ask them one casual personal favour: a review if they like your work.
A strong but polite call to action can boost the number and quality of your ratings and reviews, especially if you follow up by thanking everyone who left a review since your last podcast either individually or as a group.
After these five steps the rest of your SEO influencers are up to the listeners themselves.
Total subscribers, new subscribers, and number of downloads are difficult if not nearly impossible to influence other than with effective marketing and enhancing the replay and sharing value of the content itself.
Whether you’re just getting started on your home computer or are already hosting a popular B2B industry podcast, it’s always a good time for SEO.
Get a leg up on competition, increase your exposure, and boost your listeners all in one surprisingly easy fell swoop. For more great podcasting advice, contact us today!