What is Podcast SEO? | Episode 38

In this episode, we are exploring the world of podcast SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and its importance in expanding your reach and the success of your show. We’re looking at what is podcast SEO and why it’s important, the basics of general SEO concepts, applying some tactics at both the show and episode level, advanced SEO strategies and some common mistakes to avoid.

Whether you’re a seasoned podcaster or starting your journey, understanding and implementing podcast SEO strategies can make a difference to your discoverability and growing your audience. However, always top of mind – create your content for people first, algorithms second.



Episode 36 Podcast Analytics: How to Understand and Use Your Data to Grow Your Show
Episode 34 The Importance of Audio Quality & Tips to Enhance your Podcast
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More about Podcasting Tips & Tricks

Podcasting Tips & Tricks is a show designed to share quick, actionable tips and tricks for launching and growing a successful podcast and is aimed at both new and seasoned podcasters. We’ll cover a range of topics from launching your podcast, editing, publishing, hosting, equipment, systems and processes, marketing, monetising, industry news and lots more.

Podcast awareness and listenership are growing year-on-year so it’s no surprise that it is still growing in 2024. And now is a great time for small business owners and entrepreneurs to launch a podcast to raise brand awareness and position their expertise whilst building authority and trust.

I’m Lyndal Harris, Podcast Consultant and founder of Podcast VA where my team and I simplify the podcasting journey. We offer a variety of done-for-support services, online and in-person training, as well as strategy sessions and health checks. At Podcast VA, we have launched hundreds of podcasts for both Australian and international clients, who collectively captivate millions of listeners worldwide. And quite a number of these shows have hit number 1 in the charts!



What is Podcast SEO?

Hello and welcome back to another episode. I am your host, Lyndal Harris, and this podcast is brought to you by Podcast VA, where we help simplify your podcasting journey.

Understanding Podcast SEO
[0:25]Today, we are talking about podcast SEO or search engine optimization for podcasts. Understanding the basics of SEO is a really important factor that can help with your reach and the success of your podcast. So this episode is for you, whether you are a seasoned podcaster or you’re just starting out on your journey and you want to learn a little bit more about how to to implement podcast SEO strategies that can make a difference in growing your audience. We’re going to look at what exactly is podcast SEO and why it’s important. We’re also going to take a step back and talk a little bit more about general SEO and search engine optimization, how you can apply podcast SEO tactics to your show with some simple strategies, as well as some of the more advanced techniques as well. And then we’re going to wrap up with some common mistakes to avoid when it comes to your podcast SEO.
[1:26]So what exactly is podcast SEO? Basically, it’s steps to optimize your podcast. So it’s more discoverable to potential listeners through search engines like Google and podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. And it involves strategies that’ll help your podcast show up in these search results when someone is looking for that content related to your topic or niche. And you might be wondering, well, why is that important? Most listeners will search for new podcasts using keywords or phrases, and a lot of people are searching in the podcast apps as well as on Google or search engines. And if your podcast is optimized for these phrases, it obviously increases your chances of increased traffic, more subscribers, and ultimately reaching a wider audience. And remember that there are millions of podcasts available on the different directories now. So discoverability is more important than ever. And some of these strategies are really simple steps that you can build into your production workflow that will become second nature and others are some more advanced steps that you can take to really spend some time working on the podcast strategies to grow your show.
[2:49]Before we get into the specifics of the podcast SEO strategies, I just want to take a step back for a minute and get a picture of what SEO or search engine optimization really means, especially for those of you that might not be familiar with this concept.
[3:06]Basically, SEO involves a series of actions that are aimed to improve your visibility of your website or or your content in search engines. And the goal there is to really get yourself up high on the search results. Because if you think about the way you use search engines, do you ever click over to page three or four? So really your SEO strategies are about getting yourself up higher in the search results for what people are actually looking for. And the magic of SEO really is in using the specific keywords or phrases that people are using and then optimizing your content so that the search engines find that when someone puts a query into it. So that’s some general information about SEO. But if we translate that now into podcasting, podcast SEO uses the same principles, but tailors them more around your audio content and really targets the podcast directories or platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and the other directories. So these platforms actually have their own unique algorithms that work differently to the search engines and how they will rank and display podcasts for people who are searching for new content.
[4:28]I know for me, when I think about SEO for my website, I get a little bit nervous wondering if I’ve got everything set up and I’m doing things properly. So I’m going to break down what some of these elements are into simple steps so that you can start applying podcast SEO to your show straight away.
Implementing Podcast SEO Strategies
[4:48]You can do SEO at the show level, your podcast name, the description of your show and the tags, but then you can also apply podcast SEO strategies at the episode level. And that’s what you can be doing every single time you publish an episode to make sure that it is optimized. So firstly, we look at your episode titles and your episode titles are crucial when it comes to that podcast SEO. And sometimes that can feel a little bit tricky because you want to make sure that your keywords are in it, but you also do want to make sure that it’s catchy and people want to listen to it. You’ve just got to try and find that balance to make sure your keywords are in there and that it’s something that will hook your listeners in. The next thing you can think about are your episode descriptions. So you’re not just telling potential listeners what to expect, but you’re also weaving in relevant keywords, but you want it to sound natural. You don’t want to sound like you’re keyword stuffing the description because it will come across that way and it won’t be a good balance of SEO and readability. Remember, your descriptions want to entice and inform real people, not cater for an algorithm.
[6:03]The next thing that can make a difference is the metadata. Now, the metadata is actually the information that comes along with your episodes and a lot of it is added in the hosting platform if you haven’t added the ID3 tags or the metadata in your editing platform. So often when you add it in the editing process, you’re adding ID3 tags, which actually sit with the audio file. And when you’re putting it through the hosting platform, it’s still picking up your episode name, the podcast name, the category, the year that it was released, the author field. So all of those fields make up the metadata and this includes the tags and the categories. So you want to make sure that you’re including really good keyword rich tags on your episodes, as well as weaving those into your titles and into the descriptions.
Importance of Transcripts
[7:01]And lastly is providing transcripts for your episodes is really beneficial for SEO. So you’ve got the advantage of making it more accessible for people to consume your content, but it also is a goldmine because you’re integrating your keywords throughout your content when you’re speaking. And that, of course, enhances your show’s discoverability. Implementing these elements really doesn’t have to be a massive task or chore, but it will make a big difference with making it easier for new listeners to find your podcast.
Advanced SEO Tactics
[7:38]So there’s some of the more basic SEO strategies that we can cover. And now we’re going to talk about some of the more advanced tactics that you might want to look at to elevate your SEO even further. And these particular strategies can be really good for getting that extra edge because a lot of podcasters might be already doing the basic SEO tasks, but not necessarily these more advanced tactics. So the first thing we’re going to talk about is keyword research and really knowing what your potential listeners are typing into that search bar so that you can then create content and optimize it for exactly what they are looking for. So you might know keyword planner tools, there’s Google, Moz, there’s a whole lot of different ones that you can use for that. And they can provide insights into the popularity or the competition level of specific keywords. So you can see that once you have that information and then tailoring your episode titles, descriptions and content around what people are searching for can dramatically increase your visibility.
Link Building for SEO
[8:53]Link building is another one. This tactic involves getting reputable websites or podcasts to link back to your podcast because each backlink then acts like proof to the search engines and to the podcast directories, and it boosts your credibility and ranking. So guesting on other podcasts, collaborations, being featured in relevant blog posts or articles calls can be a great way for you to increase your number of backlinks that then helps with your SEO.
Podcast Hosting and Analytics
[9:31]Podcast hosting platforms and analytics. Now, sometimes your hosting platform will have built in SEO features. Not all of them do, but it’s definitely worth having a look in your platform to see if that is a feature that they offer. But not only that, you can look at your analytics and obviously track what’s working and adjust your strategy. So I know I can look at my podcast hosting analytics and see if more people are interested in my episodes that talk about launching a podcast or whether it’s the more seasoned podcasters, depending on the topic of the episodes. And after a while, you’ll see a pattern and you can adjust that strategy.
Consistency and Frequency
[10:17]And of course, consistency and frequency is a big one. Now I know I had a massive hiatus on my podcast, but releasing those regular episodes really keeps your current audience engaged, but it does give you more opportunity to be indexed by the search engines. So setting a realistic schedule that you can maintain. If you think that a weekly podcast is too much, then go to a fortnightly podcast. I don’t often recommend a monthly podcast because it doesn’t get enough traction. But at the end of the day, if you put out a monthly podcast, it’s still better than nothing. So really think about that schedule that’ll work for you, and then be really consistent, because it signals to your listeners, as well as the search engines, that your podcast is active and that it’s a valuable resource that people are tuning into.
Attracting Engaged Listeners
[11:16]Using these advanced tactics isn’t just about attracting more listeners. It’s actually about finding the right listeners who will truly engage and love and appreciate your content. So take some time. You don’t have to do it every time you release an episode, but every now and then put some time aside to explore these more advanced strategies, see what works well with you and your podcasting style, and start implementing them in your growth plan.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
[11:45]And lastly, we are going to talk about some common mistakes so that you can avoid them and keep your show on the right path. Firstly, keyword stuffing. While it is so important to use relevant keywords in your titles, descriptions, transcripts, everywhere that you can, there is that fine line of optimizing and keyword stuffing. And overloading your content with too many keywords will not only turn your listeners off, but it’ll trigger the search engines in their algorithm and you don’t want them to mark your content as spam. So the key is to use them naturally and in the right context. And remember that you are creating your content for people, not algorithms. So you’re creating for people first, search engines and algorithms second.
[12:40]The second mistake is people ignoring their analytics. Not keeping tabs on your podcast analytics is a really big missed opportunity for growth. So analytics can provide that insight into what episodes are performing, where your traffic’s coming from, how your listeners engaged, and using that data to refine your SEO strategies and make more informed decision about your podcast can be really key. And I do have a previous episode about podcast analytics. So make sure you go back and listen to that. And I’ll pop a link for that in the show notes.
[13:18]Not optimizing for mobile. In today’s world, you absolutely have to be optimized for mobile devices. A significant number of podcast listeners are listening through a mobile device. So neglecting that mobile optimization can really hurt your podcast as far as accessibility as well as listener experience. So ensure that your podcast website and audio player are mobile friendly and keep in mind how your metadata displays on various podcast apps and different platforms. Forms. And last but not least, poor audio quality can actually negatively impact your SEO efforts. If listeners are struggling to hear or understand your podcast because the audio is really bad, they’re less likely to engage or share your content and that in turn will affect your search rankings. So making sure you have good audio quality. I also have a previous episode about the audio quality of your show. And I’ll drop a link for that in the show notes as well.
[14:29]So avoiding some of those common mistakes will not only enhance your podcast’s SEO, but more importantly, improve the overall listening experience. And then that in turn leads to more retention for your show. So remember, SEO is the tool to help your podcast growth. The essential ingredient is in the quality and value of the content you provide and your listeners’ experience. That’s it for this week’s episode. If you have any questions on podcast SEO or you have an experience of where you started to use it and saw a difference, I would love to hear about that in the Australian Podcasters Collaborative Facebook group or reach out to me via social media. And as always, if you’ve got any feedback or there are any topics that you would like me to cover, please reach out and let me know because I would love to hear from you. If you’re enjoying the new season of Podcasting Tips and Tricks, I would be really grateful if you would take the time to leave me a rating and review in your podcast app.

Lyndal Harris

About the author

Lyndal Harris, Founder of Podcast VA offers podcast editing and production support services making podcasting easier for everyone. We’ll look after the techy stuff for you… All you need to do is record your episode and we’ll do the rest. Ready to start?