Podcast SEO: 5 Ways to Increase Your Search Rankings

Listening to podcasts has become part of my daily routine. But if you go to any of the podcasting platforms today, you’ll find thousands of them online. In fact, we now have over 2,000,000 podcasts with new ones being launched daily.

This means that competition is getting stronger. So how can you make sure your podcast stands out above the rest? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as churning out episodes and expecting the search traffic to roll in. 

The good news is that you can cut through the noise and gain an advantage over your competitors with podcast SEO. Marketers have been banking on it to get more leads and sales online. 

This entails optimizing your podcast content for the various search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc). Your episodes will then rank high for the targeted terms on podcasting platforms like Apple and Spotify.

Most importantly, using podcasts can be a great way to increase income for your business with sponsorship deals and advertising, and is great at complementing a blog

Let’s dive into the 5 podcast SEO steps you need to make your episodes more visible. 

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1. Optimize Your Podcast for The Target Keyword

Your target keyword plays a key role in determining your search rankings. It will make or break your podcast marketing. It is also super important for podcast SEO.

The truth is your target audience will never find your podcast if you don’t optimize your episodes for the right keyword. Also, search engines will pass your content if they can’t figure out what it is actually about.  

I recommend you research keywords before creating content. Sadly, the technologies for researching keywords for podcasts aren’t fully developed yet. However, the good thing is you can find profitable keywords the traditional way. 

It’s easy. Just brainstorm the terms your potential prospects enter in the search engines.

Here’s an example: Say you are in the self-improvement niche. Your audience can search for:

  • Happiness hacks
  • How to be happy
  • Stop being sad
  • Be free and happy again

Create a list with 3-5 keywords before you make your selection. Next, pick one keyword and proceed to the optimization phase. Ideally, you should feature the keyword in the title and subtitle of your podcast. 

Doing so tells the search engines what your podcast is about. You will increase your chances of ranking high—your podcast might even appear on the first spot. 

Of course, don’t get carried away by over-optimizing the keyword and dropping it in every sentence. This won’t do you any good. The trick here is to make it sound as natural as possible. 

Also, consider doing the following to dominate the rankings:

  • Feature your keywords in the first 100 words of your transcripts
  • Optimize your featured image for podcast SEO 

Note: It’s okay to do your keyword research before or after creating an episode. 

2. Transcribe Your Podcasts

Many people hate creating transcripts for their podcast content without realizing its positive impact on podcast SEO. Don’t be one of them. Although Google’s NLP algorithm isn’t quite perfect, it definitely is better than it used to be.  

Here are the benefits of doing so:

  • You will cater to the needs of people with any disabilities. They can read through your transcripts and add you to their favorite list.  
  • ·It tells search engines that you genuinely care about your audience’s needs. Some people prefer reading over audio.
  • ·Gives people an overview of your podcast content. The majority might want to go through your transcript and decide to listen to an episode. That might boost your search rankings if you get more listeners.  
  • Saves time for your readers. They can skim through the text and decide if your podcast content is for them or not.
  • Might double or triple your leads. Search engines might feature your podcast on the first page if you give your audience the option to listen to the audio or read your transcripts.
  • It’s your chance to hook new visitors to your content
  • Give your users the best experience. They can download your transcripts for later reading or any future references and mentions you make during the show.
  • Make it easy for people to give you free backlinks. The top sites in your niche might consider linking to your transcripts if they love your content. That will also help you boost your authority.
  • Transcripts are super-easy to share than audio content. You’ll make life easier for those with limited time.

The best part is you can optimize your transcripts for search engines. You’ll feature your target keywords at the beginning of the transcript. And that might have a positive impact on your rankings. Search engines like Apple will simply pick the primary and LSI keywords and rank your guides higher.

Pro Tip: Use software to transcribe your audio or outsource the task to a freelancer or specific transcription company.

Sure, you can use many methods to market your podcast like using social media. But I feel that capitalizing on backlinks is the best way to win the favor of the search algorithms. 

You can either build backlinks or generate natural links. By creating link-worthy content, other sites will naturally link to your content and make your rankings soar.

Note that building backlinks for podcast content is almost similar to blog posts. Let’s discuss them:

  • Interview influencers. They will share powerful insights with your audience. Chances are, the influencers will link to your podcast notes then share your content with their tribe. Also, you might get some sweet links from marketers who follow them.
  • Write guest posts. Look for authoritative sites that accept guest posts in your niche and pitch them. Give them a free post then link to your podcast in the content.  
  • Be a guest on other podcasts. Find the creators in your niche accepting guests and request them to interview you. They will automatically link to you.
  • Be a thought leader. This is the best way to get natural links from authoritative sites. They will quote the texts in your podcasts when you share your thoughts about different topics. For instance, how technologies like the Metaverse will affect the world. 
  • Do podcast collaborations. We call this link exchange. You can reach out to content creators with a huge following and ask them to link to your content. Remember to give back.
  • Go social. Keep on sharing your podcasts on social media. You never know who will link to you in the future.

Overall, generating backlinks is a reliable way to rank for your target keyword. You’ll get an instant boost when authoritative sites give you a backlink.

Pro Tip: Consider using HARO to pitch journalists looking for experts on a topic. You’ll be surprised to get some free powerful links that will boost your business.

4. Take Advantage of Supporting Marketing Channels

People love consuming content in different ways. We have the audio and visuals die-hards. You should cater to their needs. It’s as easy as marketing your content on different platforms if you believe that you create content they should listen to.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Use your existing transcripts to repurpose your content and post it on other search engines like YouTube. Remember to optimize your podcast for the target keyword.
  • Create slideshows to illustrate your podcast content. You can use a video editor like Adobe to create your slides that will pop up as you speak.
  • Launch your podcast, then hire a video creator to make graphics for you.
  • Start a blog to market your podcast. You can create content around low-hanging keywords then link your podcast. You will grow your audience when other sites start linking to your blog.
  • Create an online course teaching others how to start a podcast, which could be a good way to gain added exposure. 

The trick here is to market your podcast where your audience hangs out. The other marketing channels like YouTube will attract more people to listen to your podcast episodes or share them with their friends. Chances are, you will earn new fans who will wait to consume your latest content. The result? You’ll win the favor of the search algorithms.

Repurposing content can have a positive impact on your search rankings. For instance, your videos might rank higher in the snippet section of Google or the ‘People Also Ask’ section.

5. Utilize the RSS Feed

RSS is Really Simple Syndication. The technology distributes your podcast content and search engines use it to scrutinize your content before adding it to their directories.

Also, the RSS feed does the heavy lifting of spreading your content to several platforms. It contains information such as the podcast title and will also capture the main keywords you’ve optimized your content for, including the LSI ones.

Though the RSS feed isn’t popular these days, consider optimizing your podcasts for the sake of search engines like Apple and Spotify. It will inform them what your content is about. 

Here are the two popular ways to take advantage of the RSS feed:

  • Use the PowerPress plugin if you are hosting your site on your website.
  • Manually create your RSS feed using tools like Lisbon.

Note that the approval time will vary depending on where you’ve submitted your content. Creators who use Apple say it takes around 48 hours. Other platforms like Google might take several days or weeks to approve your content.

Podcast SEO: A Conclusion

No doubt you have several competitors with their own podcasts and they’re all battling for the attention of your audience. 

So how will your business survive if you keep on ignoring what’s working?

You need to get a step ahead and start marketing your podcast like a pro. Build those relationships, show that you’re a real person behind the brand, and create relevant content for your audience. Want to learn more about podcast SEO? Read some of our other articles here.

By adding a podcast to your overall content marketing strategy you can leverage more spots within the digital real estate and enjoy the extra search traffic coming to your platforms. The fact that Google is starting to pay more attention to indexing audio shows that this trend is increasing and is not likely to back down any time soon. Now’s the time to get ahead.

5 Ways to Increase Your Search Rankings with Podcast SEO

Chris Bournelis is a writer and marketing consultant. With 5+ years of digital marketing experience, he’s passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships, content, and software to scale digital growth.

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