5 Reasons NOT to Promote Your Podcast on Facebook

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If you have a podcast, then one of your top priorities will be to increase your audience size. After all, if you create a podcast to which no one listens, does it even matter? So at first glance, you may think that running Facebook Ads would be a good vehicle to promote your podcast and help increase your listening numbers and subscribers. After all, Facebook will allow you to finely target your audience and do it in a very cost effective way.

My point with this post is not so much to argue that Facebook is inherently a bad platform to  advertise podcasts on, but rather to point out that there is a better way to do it than most marketers recommend. There have been a slew of recent posts on how to best advertise podcasts on Facebook, and I fundamentally disagree with the premise of these posts. Here is why:

So what’s the problem with using Facebook Ads to promote your podcast?

The issue has to do with where to send traffic once someone clicks on your ad.

So many marketers recommend promoting Facebook episodes by directly linking to the iTunes or Android episode pages.

  • They argue this is better than sending people to a show notes page on your own site
  • In fact, many of these posts argue that you don’t need show notes pages at all, and can save the time and effort
  • They argue that iTunes and Stitcher is after all where you want people to go to subscribe to your show
  • They advise that this is the best way to capture people on mobile devices, by targeting an iOS audience for the direct link to the iTunes episode, and by targeting Android audience and sending them to the Stitcher episode link

I fundamentally disagree with this for the following 5 reasons:

#1:  It Costs Too Much

Sure, your ads may result in getting more subscribers to your podcast on iTunes and Stitcher, but Facebook ads should have a better goal than just to add listeners to your podcast. And the cost per new listener is usually quite high. Think of it this way, in terms of analytics: “Cost per anonymous listener” IS NOT THE SAME THING AS “Cost per qualified lead or email subscriber”. You could be adding leads for your business, building your email list, increase the rank and traffic for your site, and building a digital asset for your brand.

Instead, you could be getting greater value and ROI from your facebook ads by focusing on lead generation and list growth instead of on just getting more listeners.

#2:  iTunes and Google Play Do Not Need More Traffic

promote-your-podcast-on-itunesYou are paying for traffic that you are sending to iTunes and Google Play Music.

Really?

Instead, your own site could be benefitting from greater traffic, rank and authority.

#3:  Blind Dates

promote your podcast with a blind dateiTunes and Google play traffic may slightly increase your subscriber and listener stats at Libsyn or Blubrry. Of course this cannot truly be measured, since Facebook won’t know how many listeners actually subscribed to your show on those platforms.

More importantly, you don’t know whose these listeners are. Since you are not capturing their email address, you have much less of a chance to engage with them, even if they are big fans of your show. If you don’t manage to send them to your website and show pages, you are essentially going on blind dates – without ever even asking for a name.

You are essentially going on blind dates – without ever even asking for a name

Instead, your podcast listeners could be coming to YOUR site, because you offer valuable additional episode information there. They could be signing up to receive podcast notifications via email, or finding links and resources about your guests, and downloading these resources from you in exchange for an email address.

#4:  No Digital Sharecropping

no sharecorpping in promoting your podcastIn my opinion, too many authors, speakers, entrepreneurs and small businesses spread their entire online presence across 3rd party platforms. They want authority  and recognition in their space, but are also conscious of the promised audience, engagement, ease of use and time savings these platforms promise.

They post all of their valuable intellectual capital and thought content on platforms like Medium, LinkedIn or Facebook instant articles. Their videos exist only on Youtube, their podcasts episode only on Soundcloud, iTunes or Stitcher. In other words on platforms they don’t themselves own outright, but platforms that have a built-in audience and engagement.

In the long run, this is short-sighted

What to do instead? I am not proposing to avoid these platforms. However, I am saying that the content should live on your own site FIRST AND FOREMOST, and then be shared from there centrally, spreading out to 3rd party platforms for social engagement. The effort involved in creating and maintaining your own podcast show notes are well worth it in the long run, and pales in comparison to the effort of actually creating your content in the first place. You need to build system for sharing from this central platform only once – the week to week effort of recording episodes and publishing show notes for them adds up only gradually, and much of the process and subsequent syndication of your content can be automated.

For our clients we specialize on automation of the entire podcast production and publishing workflow, including automatically syndicating your episode content onto many other platforms. The content calendar tools and automation processes we use for this is the topic of another upcoming post, feel free to subscribe to our blog to learn more.

In short, having your own podcast show notes pages allow you to build a much more valuable asset in your site, audience and email list. Would you not rather have traffic and rank for your own site? Would you not rather earn organic search traffic over time? And I think most marketers would agree that email lists are still the most valuable asset to build for your digital presence.

#5 : Analytics & Measuring Performance

How do you measure your investment in Facebook ads? For me the answer is by how many people SIGN UP for your podcast or blog, NOT by how many more listeners you might be getting on iTunes

Before running ad campaigns on Facebook, you get to decide the “Goal” of each ad campaign during the setup process. Simply measuring “clicks to a website” is the weakest form of available analytics, yet this is the only goal you can use when sending traffic to iTunes or Stitcher.

Facebook cannot measure who subscribed to your podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or even if they listened to an episode after clicking on your ad. So how do you optimize or test your ads? If you are sending your ad traffic to iTunes and Stitcher as proposed by many marketers, then the only way you can tell if these ads are even working is to see if your Libsyn or Blubrry stats increased during the time you ran the ad. And of course, even then you don’t know the identity of the people who subscribed.

promote your podcast and know your numbers

A recent marketing webinar from SharpSpring pointed out that focus on conversion rate was by far the most important metric to measure.

A better goals is to measure “Conversions”, and Facebook algorithms are more effective in showing your ads to the best possible and highly “converting” audience. However, for this you need to install a “Facebook Pixel” on your own site, so that actual sign ups to your podcast email subscription list can be recorded by Facebook. Having a Facebook Pixel on your site is not complicated, there are great plugins for this. Facebook then improves the targeting of who they show your ads to, based on who signed up, and builds in effect a custom audience for your on the fly during the course of the campaign. This results in a much better use of your advertising dollar.

Conclusion

IMHO, having a home page for your podcast is critically important for promoting your podcast. And so is having episode specific show notes pages. Most good podcasts already do. So if you are sending Facebook ad traffic to iTunes and Stitcher, I’d encourage you to do otherwise.

Market & Launch your podcast

This resource guide includes gear guides, platform tips and guidance on how to market and grow your digital presence using podcasting as content strategy.

podcasting as content strategy

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3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To Know

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Lesson 4 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters series is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

An often overlooked SEO factor for podcasters is that images in posts contribute to SEO rankings. Of course the images should be interesting and relevant in the first place, but technically the way images contribute to your SEO ranking has to do with “ALT” tags, as well as with their role in determining your site loading speed.

1.) Use ALT Text Tags For SEO Image Optimization

What are ALT text tags?

A WordPress example of Alt TextThe official definition of ALT text (alternative text) is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell Web site viewers the nature or contents of an image. The ALT text appears in a blank box that would normally contain the image. This is useful when an image link is not available because of a broken or changed URL or some other issue.

Why are they important for SEO?

Also, ALT tags serve as accessibility properties that provide the visually disabled, (who use screen reader software to read page content out loud), with information about each image. This has the additional side effect that search engines pick up these ALT tags as well and index your article based on the image ALT tag language used. So for SEO Image Optimization, if you can use your main article key-phrase in the ALT tag, it will add to your overall SEO post optimization and keyword density in a positive way.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Do honor the intent of creating accessible sites that provide screen readers and search engines with context and recognition of what is going on in the image
  • Do not stuff indiscriminately keywords into the ALT tags in a way that makes screen readers annoying, inaccurate or not useful
  • Do use descriptions that describe the image in a meaningful way, while utilizing your key-phrase

To include an “ALT” tag, it is added to each image in the following ways:

  • In WordPress, you don’t need to know HTML to do this, you can add the ALT tag in the media library, or when you are adding the image to the post
  • If you want to know what this looks like in HTML, you would simply add alt=“Description of the image” to your image tag
  • For example, if you wanted to add an image with a podcasting microphone, that might look like so:
<img src=“microphone.jpg” alt=“Podcasting Microphone”/>
WordPress Tip

WordPress tip on using the same image several times:

Keep in mind that if you’ve already used an image and created an ALT Text tag for a previous posts, changing that image’s ALT text tag might negatively affect the SEO ranking of previous posts. A typical example of this are featured images in posts. If you have already used an image on a post once before, it is likely to already have an ALT tag assigned optimized for a previous SEO keyword.

  • Therefore if you would like to use it again it is better to upload a new version of the image, even if it already exists in your media library.

 

2.) Understand Your Site Load Speed

Site load speed has been a search rank factor for a long time, and the speed that your page loads is directly influenced by the size of the images present on your pages. WordPress and most themes process images into several sizes when you first upload them, so that thumbnails and several small to large size variations can be used. But WordPress compression algorithms are often not ideal.

Tools to help you understand your site load speed

We have tried to list some great SEO tools throughout this series, and image processing tools are often overlooked. We’ll get to these in a minute, but first of all it helps to you know if images on your site contribute to slow loading speeds, and by how much. Here are 2 tools that help you measure the loading speed of your site, and allow you to compare before and after optimization.

GTmetrix assists in SEO image optimizationGTmetrix

  • GTmetrix: A free service that gives you insight on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it

Yslow

  • Yslow: Yahoo!’s Exceptional Performance team has identified 34 rules that affect web page performance. YSlow’YSlow Logos web page analysis tests your site against 34 rules that affect web page performance, and is based on the 23 of these 34 rules that are testable.

 

3.) Improve Your Site Speed By Optimizing Your Images

Once you decide you’d like to optimize your site images in order to improve load times, here are some tools that help you do it.

  • If you have an existing site with lots of images, a utility to help optimize these is great, but in general terms I would also recommend to pre-process and size images for use on your web site when you first upload these or create them in Photoshop or your favorite graphics program.
  • Uploading 12,000px wide images straight from your camera is lazy, and there is no use for these on your site without first optimizing them, and utilities like Snap-Converter mentioned below make this process very easy.

So in general terms I recommend optimizing images before they ever make it to your site.

That said, here are some great tools:

WP Smush

  • WP Smush Pro For SEO image optimizationWP Smush is the popular replacement of the Smush-It image optimization plugin based on a service once provided by Yahoo, but now discontinued
  • WP Smush Pro is a premium image optimization tool that uses advanced algorithms to compress your images while maintaining their quality and dramatically improving your website’s page speed.
  • It will go through your entire media library and replace your on-line images with optimized versions, while maintaining quality. This can significantly speed up your site. Run GTmetrix before and after, and you will be rewarded with a vastly improved site load speed, and Google rank.
  • It also processes every new image you upload, so you can be assured that all of your site images are compressed optimally.

Snap-Converter

  • Snap ConverterSnap Converter (for Mac) is a utility to help you resize as well as convert images from PNG to JPG
  • Convert images as well as Mac and Windows icon files. Supports standard bitmap types as well as digital Camera RAW types, Photoshop documents, and more. View the complete list of supported file types.

Resize SenseResize Sense

  • Resize Sense is a utility that helps crop and resize images to a variety of optimized sizes.
  • Very useful for when you need to convert a range of differently sized images into the same size and aspect ratio.
  • Helps to eliminate the hours of tedious work needed to resize, crop, straighten, rotate, flip, edit metadata, and rename many images one at a time.


Market & Launch your podcast

This resource guide includes gear guides, platform tips and guidance on how to market and grow your digital presence using podcasting as content strategy.

podcasting as content strategy

Where can we send your guide?


Podcast SEO Course Overview

Lesson 1Lesson 2Lesson 3You Are HereLesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers LoveGreat Podcast Episode Titles – Use these 4 SEO Techniques 3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

Great Podcast Episode Titles – Use these 4 SEO Techniques

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Lesson 3 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters course is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

Your podcast episode title is likely something that will get shared on social media, and more importantly will show up in search results and on iTunes as well.

Given how much time you are putting into creating a podcast, it is worth spending a little extra effort on creating a good title that makes people want to click through and listen or read more.

Of course you should not write content or headlines for search engines, so keep it people friendly, avoid keyword stuffing and make sure the meaning of the content is not distorted by forcing a keyword or key-phrase into the content.

1.) Podcast Episode Title Do’s

  • The MFCEO Podcast Does Episode Titles WellTry to convey the essence of what the episode is about
  • Be sure to add a short description as well (see the gallery below on how this  impacts iTunes)
  • You can include the name of the guest and the episode number, but place this information at the end
  • If possible, try to include your SEO key-phrase in the episode title.
  • Include your SEO key-phrase in the post slug

Example: Check out the MFCEO Project for some examples of “well done” episode titles

2.) Podcast Episode Title Don’ts

Check out the gallery below of Podcast Episode Title Don’ts

  • Do not put the name of the podcast first, this wastes space and is redundant.
  • Do not use the date and time as your episode title. (Sorry, Dave Ramsey)
  • Do not put the episode number first, if you’d like to include it, place it last. The reason for this is the way that episode titles display on iTunes, there are only about a 25 visible characters that display in the list of episodes, so putting episode numbers first wastes this space.
  • For interview shows, do not just use the guest’s name as the title, unless they are a celebrity. Listeners who don’t know the guest will not know what the episode is about.

3.) Use these resources for writing great episode titles and post headlines

Pro bloggers have known this secret for a long time: Catchy, fun, unique and click-worthy titles help drive traffic to their blogs. Spending time to think of good episode titles will help drive traffic to your show notes page, as well as increase your listenership. Suffering from episode title writers-block? Don’t worry, there are tools out there to help you, my favorites are:

 

4.) 5 More Not So Secret SEO Tips for Titles and Content

Tip #1: Creating H2 Tags (or sub-titles)

From an SEO perspective, Google (and other search engines) love well organized and hierarchical content. This means your show notes post should be organized. The title of the post should have the H1 tag, paragraph headers should have an H2 tag and short paragraphs should consist of text and bullet points. This approach has the additional benefit of increasing the readability of your content.

Tip #2: Focus on Readability

Unless you are writing long form essay content, short paragraphs are more appropriate for podcast show notes and accommodate “skimmer” type readers.

  • Try to avoid densely spaced content of paragraph after paragraph of text, this will be hard to read and is too information dense.
  • Breaking up your show notes into smaller segments is a good practice, also the use of images to break up the content is a good idea and will make your posts look and read better.
  • Add a sub-headline (H2 tag) for every paragraph

Tip #3: Do not use H1 tags anywhere in your show notes post

  • Each page should only have one single H1 tag
  • H1 tags are reserved for your post headline, and this tag is usually built into your theme
  • So in practice this means you should only use H2 and H3 tags within your show notes post
  • When you publish your post, the post title will automatically be displayed as an H1 tag on your page

Tip #4: Include your key phrase in at least one H2 tag sub-headline

  • Just as it was important to include your key-phrase in the H1 tag (or post title), it is also important to include the key-phrase in at least one H2 tag sub-headline

Tip #5: Watch The Concept of Keyword Density

While this is not relevant to headlines, you can and should use the key-phrase several times in the body of your post text. Keyword density refers to the number of times you have included your key-phrase in your post content, as a percentage of overall word count. If you are using the recommended WordPress SEO plugin, watch for the keyword density recommendations it provides, you can find these on the advanced tab.

Some keyword density tools


Market & Launch your podcast

This resource guide includes gear guides, platform tips and guidance on how to market and grow your digital presence using podcasting as content strategy.

podcasting as content strategy

Where can we send your guide?

 


Podcast SEO Course Overview

Lesson 1Lesson 2You Are Here…Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers LoveGreat Podcast Episode Titles – Use these 4 SEO Techniques3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers Love

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Lesson 2 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


The SEO for Podcasters course is a series of posts and a step by step guide to all the techniques we use for our clients. We ensure their podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

The Fine Art of SEO Keyword Strategies

Keyword strategies fail if you select keyphrases that are too popularIn this post I’m covering some SEO tips and research strategies that have emerged from discussions we’ve had with many of our blogging, content marketing and podcast production clients. The good news, unlike in years past,  is that almost all of our clients consider SEO a “must have” component of running a podcast or blog.  And for many, their blog or podcast serves as the central inbound marketing component for their site, driving traffic and increasing their e-mail lists.

But understanding of SEO keywords strategies and finding good keyphrases often starts with this mis-conception:

I just need to find a popular keyword that lots of people are looking for, and then optimize my post for it.

 

1.) The dangers of being too popular

It might seem quite easy to imagine a popular keyword that you want to be found for. Why not try and optimize a podcast episode for the keyword “podcast” for example? A popular term, 350K searches a month. Would that not drive lots of traffic to your site?

The answer is yes, but only if your site can rank in the top 50 search results for this keyword.

An example of a futile keyword strategySuggestion: Click here to do a search for the word “podcast” on google right now, and look at the top 10 results. Who are the sites ranking in the top 10? That’s right, Wikipedia, Apple, NPR, The Atlantic, etc. In other words hugely popular sites.

Now ask yourself, on which page of the search results do you think your own post would show up?

That’s right, page 200+ or something like this, unless you have a massively popular site. And when was the last time you looked at or clicked on anything beyond page 2 of a google search result?

The lessons and implications are this:

  • Do not try to rank for hugely popular keywords. You will not be in the top 50 search results, and therefore your post will not generate any organic search traffic to your site.
  • You need to research keywords and keyphrases in order to know if they are in fact “too popular” for your post to rank for them.
  • You need to have an idea about how your site ranks, in other words who it can compete with. Without this information, you are flying blind

No worries though, we will cover all of these considerations in this blog series.

2.) Is there such a thing as being “too niche”?

OK, so in our previous example, the keyword “podcast” seems very generic, and we’ve realized it’s unlikely we can rank our post for it. So what about the other extreme? Maybe it will be easier to rank for a key-phrase that is very specific?

keyword strategies example using Google AdWordsAssume for a minute we optimize a post for the term “health tips for dads”. And a few days or weeks after we published the post, HOORAY, we are ranking on the top 1-2 pages for this post!

Mission accomplished? Well no, hang on…

How many people a month do you think are looking for this term? Oh, sorry, a quick peek at Google Adwords reveals that this term is searched for 0 times a month, which is exactly how much traffic this keyword choice will generate.

The lessons and implications are this:

  • You may rank in the top 10 search engine results, but that does not mean you will get traffic from a keyphrase that is too niche.

3.) So what’s the answer then?

Finding the right fit for your keyword strategies The answer is finding a fit: To identify keywords and key-phrases commensurate with the search engine power of your site overall.

Some rules of thumb we follow for keyword research success:

  • The rule of thumb we follow is that if you have a brand new site with little traffic (Under 2000 sessions a month), try and find key-phrases that have at least 70 searches a month, but stay under 300 searches a month.
  • If you have a popular site at least 1-2 years old with 5000+ month visitor sessions, perhaps you can rank for key-phrases with 300+ searches a month.
  • But to rank for content that has 1000+ searches a month, you need your site to have both a lot more traffic.

Ask yourself, is it better to be on page 100 for a keyword that is popular, or on page 1 or 2 for a keyword that is un-popular, but that people are still looking for 100 times a month?

4.) Some other ways to determine your overall site rank

Have a look at Alexa rankings, there you can look up your site’s rank for free. Keep in mind, these are my personal educated guesses based on our experience, I would love to hear from you if you manage to “break the ceiling” of these rather cautionary numbers.

Alexa is a great toolset, and if you sign up for the free version you can create charts and comparison graphs to track your site’s rank vs your competitors.

Our “educated guess” rules of thumb here are as follows:

  • New sites are typically ranked 5million or higher. If you are, stay with key-phrases that are searched for at most 70-100 times a month.
  • If your site is ranked above 1.5Million on Alexa, you can likely rank for key-phrases that have 300 monthly searches  and above.
  • If your site is ranked above 500K on Alexa, you can likely rank for more popular search terms and key-phrases that have 1000 monthly searches or more.

5.) How can you tell the number of searches a month for any given key-phrase?

Using Google AdWords for keyword strategiesNotice that earlier we mentioned checking up on how many times a month people search for a specific key-phrase. This is super valuable information, but how do you do this? The answer is Google AdWords. If you have not ever placed any pay-per-click ads with Google before, you may be unfamiliar with the platform, but it is free to use and has the best keyword research tools available for free.

Our advice on this one: sign up for an AdwWords account, even if you don’t intend to do paid advertising  

  • The sign-up process is a pain, as it requires a credit card and the only way you can sign up is to launch your own initial PPC ad, but you can simply pause the ad as soon as you launch it, and it won’t cost you a cent. The process may be scary, but it is definelty worth it.

6.) The Concept Of Keyword Difficulty

Keyword Difficulty

Keyword difficulty is a data concept and score that shows you exactly how hard it is going to be to rank in the top 10 search results on Google or other search engines. It does so by investigating the sites that show up in the top 10 results of google, and then comparing their SEO maturity and rank to your own. So a low keyword difficulty score is better, it means that you are more likely to be able to compete with the sites in the top 10 search results. A high score means that the top 10 search results are occupied by popular sites that you will have difficulty competing with.

Keyword difficulty tools we use provide a range of information about your competitor sites that currently occupy the top 10 search results. Domain age, # of incoming links, Alexa ranking and social signals are all able to pinpoint “weak competitors” currently showing up in the top 10 search results. Using these tools as part of our SEO services, and selecting “the right” keywords using the keyword strategies outlined above, we can often quickly accurately create a recipe that places a post or podcast episode into the top 10 search results on Google and other search engines.

Giving away all our secrets, but here are some of the keyword difficulty tools we use for this: 

All in one approach to keyword strategiesAre there any “All In One Solutions” ?

The KW platform is an all-in-one solution that allows you to conduct research for your keyword strategies. You get insights into keyword difficulty and competition all in one place. See a screenshot  in the image:

A Word About App Store Optimization

When we’ve been talking about keyword optimization, it’s been largely about being found on the web. What about being found on the app store? This is generally called ASO or app store optimization.

Within iTunes there are only limited places where you can ensure that people can find your show.

The title of the podcast is the most important one, but keywords are difficult to embed there, unless the title of your show lends itself to this. Keywords within the description of the podcast are not indexed, and therefore people cannot easily find you with these on iTunes. However, and often overlooked place to embed keywords relevant to your show is the Author Title Tag.

Tip: Use the author title tag to embed keywords for your title.

Here is an example from a podcast we produce called “The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show”. Notice how the name of the podcast host includes keywords that are significant for her business.

Conclusion

Spending just a little time on learning the above keyword research tips can have a major impact on your site traffic. It may seem overwhelming at first, but studying this for an hour or two a week is all it takes.

What are some keyword research approaches that are working well for you?

We would love to hear from you about what is and what isn’t working working for you.


Market & Launch your podcast

This resource guide includes gear guides, platform tips and guidance on how to market and grow your digital presence using podcasting as content strategy.

podcasting as content strategy

Where can we send your guide?

 


SEO For Podcasters Course Overview

Lesson 1You Are Here…Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers LoveGreat Podcast Episode Titles – Use these 4 SEO Techniques 3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You

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Lesson 1 of 5

THE SEO FOR PODCASTERS (AND BLOGGERS) COURSE


This is the first post in a course about podcast SEO optimization. The series is a step by step guide to all the techniques we use to ensure our clients podcast show notes are driving traffic to their sites and are ranked highly on Google and other search engines.

About this Podcast SEO Optimization Course

One of my most popular posts of 2017 continues to be about starting a podcast as a content strategy, and since then podcasts have been getting even more popular. We produce podcasts for clients, and help them with the launch strategies to get their podcast into iTunes New and Noteworthy. But sometimes it’s not just about having visibility on iTunes, increasingly clients are interested in using their podcast show notes content as a passive traffic driver to their own primary web site or to their show’s website.

So I’ve been coaching a lot of solopreneurs and podcasters on SEO, to help them position their show’s site and show notes pages, and showing them the tricks in making sure that podcast episode show notes are SEO optimized in order to contribute to a site’s traffic and ranking. Of course optimizing a podcast episode is almost identical to optimizing a blog post, so even if you do not have a podcast, read on…

What this podcast SEO course focuses on

There are a lot of mis-conceptions about how SEO works, and how to set up podcast episodes in a way that contributes to a sites overall rank with search engines. For the purpose of this series, we will focus on keyword research techniques and “On-Page-SEO”, in other words the art of creating fully SEO optimized show notes posts for your podcast episodes.

WordPress vs other CMS systems

We will focus on how to do this with WordPress, although the techniques discussed here a true for any content other management system. Even though we may discuss certain plugins in this post, we will cover what the plugins actually do step by step so that you can use it on non-Wordpress based sites.

“Link Building”

Link building techniques are still all a huge part of a successful SEO strategy, and is a huge topic by itself. Google rank in large part depends on incoming links to your show pages from other sites. The idea is that that your podcast guests for a show will reciprocate for the links you are creating to their site, by writing their own short piece of content that links back to your podcast show notes page, thereby providing valuable “google juice” and increasing the rank for your site.

Link Building Tip: Ask your podcast guests to link to your episode of their interview on their own site. We are pretty insistent on this as part of the deal before even booking guests for many of the shows we produce.

We won’t be going into the details of link building techniques, and will cover this in detail in a different blog series. However I would point out that this course should result in your content becoming more search engine optimized and friendly, and this means more more people will be able to discover, share and link to your content even organically. Typically, you do have to ask and encourage your guests and fans to create links to your show or episode pages, but the rewards in terms of Google rank increases can make the difference between being on page 20 vs being found on the top page(s) of the search results)


Podcast SEO Course Overview

You Are Here…Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers LoveGreat Podcast Episode Titles – Use these 4 SEO Techniques 3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

Podcast SEO Concepts Overview

The high level topics of SEO optimizing podcast episode show notes we will discuss in this series are as follows:
Podcast SEO Concepts

  1. Keyword Research
    How to research and choose a good key-phrase or keyword that is aligned with your content. This key-phrase should be what you think people might look for on search engines, and your content should be the perfect answer and fit for their question. We will discuss SEO concepts keyword difficulty scores.
  2. Good Titles
    Once you have found a key-phrase you would like to optimize for, then the episode title, content and images of the show notes post will be subtly changed or “optimized” around this key-phrase. This is what we will go through step by step in this series of posts. We we also touch on the importance of good titles in terms of ASO (App Store Optimization), where your shows keywords are searchable on the iTunes app store itself.
  3. Search Result Visualizations
    How to design the way your post looks in search results by selecting right SEO Titles and meta-description, and testing this with “preview snippet”. Creating a compelling episode title as well as a great short description that shows up in search results is not only key in being found, but also determines how many people will actually click through once they see your episode title and description in search results.
  4. Content Optimizations
    How to optimize paragraph headers (sometimes also known as H2 Tags), the main content text of your post ensuring the right “Keyword Density”, how to SEO optimize images, and why including them in your show notes is important.

A Note About Using SEO Plugins

Using Yoast SEO (Formerly known as WordPress SEO)

Yoast for Podcast SEOYoast SEO (Formerly WordPress SEO by Yoast ) is one of the most complete and easy to use SEO assistance plug-ins. While there are other solutions out there, (Premium SEO Pack & All in One SEO Pack receive honorable mentions), I can highly recommend using Yoast, because it teaches the techniques needed step by step as you go through the process of optimizing each post, and it provides easy to understand feedback on how well each technique is implemented. So if you have a WordPress based blog or site, do yourself a favor and install this plugin.

Of course the use of a plug-in alone does not guarantee SEO success

  • Plugins can assist, but there are certain fundamentals and principles that are key to understand in getting your podcast episodes to generate search traffic.
  • The best SEO plugin in the world will not increase your site rank if you don’t understand the SEO fundamentals that make this plugin tick when you use it to optimize your content.
  • So what we will cover in this series are these fundamental SEO optimization concepts and steps of optimizing you content. So you can succeed with these tips without ever installing a plugin like Yoast SEO. It’s just that this plugin makes it easier, provides feedback and additional insights, and automates some of the more complex background tasks like creating an XML sitemap and submitting this to search engines automatically.

So I won’t go into the specifics of how to use the Yoast SEO plugin here, but there are may great tutorials and videos out there. If you are installing Yoast for the first time, here is my favorite setup post by Yoast himself, and what I like best is that he has kept this article up to date since the plug-in was first introduced in 2008.


Market & Launch your podcast

This resource guide includes gear guides, platform tips and guidance on how to market and grow your digital presence using podcasting as content strategy.

podcasting as content strategy

Where can we send your guide?


Podcast SEO Course Overview

You Are Here…Lesson 2Lesson 3Lesson 4Lesson 5
How To Make Podcast SEO Optimization Work for You6 Proven Keyword Strategies Podcasters And Bloggers LoveGreat Podcast Episode Titles – Use these 4 SEO Techniques 3 Practical SEO Image Optimization Tricks Podcasters Need To KnowHow To Increase Your Traffic With Search Result Visualization
An overview of the concepts covered in this SEO training series for podcasters and bloggersMisconceptions of keyword research, and how to do it rightThe importance of creating compelling episode titles, both for SEO and click-worthiness There are many ways in which images contribute to SEO of your siteTips on crafting a good search result snippets to increase traffic to your site

How To Start A Podcast As A Content Strategy

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Last updated: May 2017

You might not think tips on how to start a podcast have anything to do with content strategy…

But before you laugh, for the right sort of business, launching a podcast can be an amazing content strategy driver…

How to start a podcast - Google trend statistics

Google Trends Interest Over Time Graphic

Sure, podcasts have been hotting up in the last couple of years, as articles in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post point out.  Breakout shows like “Serial” and “Start-Up” were responsible for increasing awareness of podcasts, and most terrestrial radio stations, and their advertisers, are launching podcasts as part of their digital strategy. Alex Blumberg of PBS just left his well paying job as host of “This American Life” and “Planet Money”, and raised $1.6M+ for his new podcast venture “Gimlet Media“.

Here are some recent market size statistics to consider as of 2016/17:

  • 21 million people listen to podcasts.
  • The same number of people as are on Twitter.
  • As of 2016/17, podcast listening increased by 25% per year in the United States.
  • Weekly podcast listeners consume an average of 5 episodes per week.
(Stat Reference and some insights about the above at: Convince & Convert)

Impressive stats, wouldn’t you agree? But the success of this approach is more pragmatic. Assuming you want to launch an interview show with thought leaders in your space, the show notes accompanying each episode can be huge traffic generator for your site, and lead to Google rank increases, since it is in the interest of the thought leaders to cross promote each episode.

How to start a podcast - launch effect on Alexa rankings

Podcast Launch Effect On Alexa Rankings
(click to see a larger version of the graph)

We produced and launched a podcast for our client “Positivity Strategist” and as a result the site sky-rocketed in Alexa and Google ranking within the following three months, and their email list is growing exponentially, solely due to a successful podcast strategy.

The attached Alexa Ranking comparison chart shows the effect of positivitystrategist.com (in blue) as well as one of its competitor sites (in green) launching a podcast late in 2014.

POdcasting as Content Strategy List GrowthAnother example of how successful podcasting as content strategy can be was for a client podcast that followed our launch and content strategy called “the MFCEO Project“. It built an email list of over 17,000 within 1.5 years, and their 1.5 year old website gets 35K visitors monthly. It should be noted that there was a substantial social media presence on instagram before we started, but that is the point: Podcasting as a content marketing strategy when done right can convert anonymous followers into more concrete email list subscriber, and most marketers recognize both the importance and difficulty of this.

In his awesome article how recent Google patents are shaping the future of SEO, Neil Patel predicts both the rise and fall of podcast’s popularity as  tied to driverless cars. While podcasts are a form of content that is currently taking advantage of commute time for drivers, he predicts that eventually other forms of content will become popular once hands free driving allows us to consume video and visual content while driving.  (Neil even kindly linked to this post in this article, a big thanks!)

One additional content marketing benefit is that there is no shortage of topics to write about, since the show’s guests and schedule pretty much sets a highly relevant agenda for show content and related posts.

And while we love building a loyal listenership, this article is not just about how to start a podcast, it’s about how to start a podcast as a content marketing strategy for your business and web site.

It’s not for the faint of heart, and it is a long tail type play, but for organizations with a host “personality” and a point of view, it can be a hugely successful way of generating valuable content for both listeners and web site visitors.

Benefits of an interview style podcast

Some of the  benefits of an interview style podcast with thought leaders in your area of business are:

  • Meeting, collaborating and establishing working relationships with thought leaders in your space. Each episode of your podcast gives your guests a chance to talk about their experience, products, books or latest offerings. So you are essentially promoting them on your podcast, which is why it is beneficial for them to be on your show. Therefore most of the time getting guests is relatively easy, and we have seen lasting relationships come out of supporting each other in this way.
  • How to Podcast As Content Strategy BenefitsBecome an authority in your field. Often the intent of an inbound content marketing strategy is to establish your business and your web sites as authorities in your industry segment. There are few better ways than to have a regular podcast interview show to establish this authority not only in your own mind, but in the mind of your listening audience as well as your web site visitors.
  • Google page rank, domain authority and overall SEO for your site. These factors are driven by having high quality incoming links. SEO is an ever changing field, and what worked in years past no longer works today, most SEO experts agree that high quality content and inbound links are the gold standard here. And since your show notes will promote and feature links to your guests site and latest products, it is a fair exchange to ask that they feature your episode on their site, as well as cross promote it on their own social media channels. So 50 episodes into your show, you will have 50 high quality inbound links, as well as all the traffic and social media mentions these episodes generated.
  • Self generating topics of discussion for posts on your site. Sure, you will need to prepare to think about guests and invites for your podcast strategically, but usually what emerges from each conversation is highly relevant content, easily turned into long form show notes that will constitute a large percentage of your content strategy.

Finding your passion and your voice

One caveat: You, or someone in your organization, needs to have a passion for your topic of choice. So if the ONLY overall reason you want to start a podcast is to increase page rank and generate traffic for your site, then this may not be not enough. Starting a podcast should not be a chore, it needs to come from the heart, and it needs to show passion.

  • How to podcast, bored listenerAudio is an interesting medium in this way. Your enthusiasm, or lack of it, will instantly shine through to your listeners, and be either a turn-on or turn-off. The effort required to launch a podcast is high, as are the rewards, but if it does not come from the heart, and if you don’t feel you can find something of value to share, don’t even start. I would argue the same is true for writing and blogging, but in audio format it is way more apparent.
  • Be clear about your value proposition to your listeners. Just like when writing blog articles, the listener experience should be front of mind. We love doing Value Proposition Design workshops for our clients when building web sites, and similarly the exercises we help our clients with apply here: clarity around who your likely listeners are, what they are interested in, what they can gain from listening to your show, or what pain relievers to their issues and problems you can provide.
  • Niches are good, up to a point. In thinking about topics for your show and episodes, the more narrow the niche of your topic is, the better. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are many examples of extremely small niches doing well in podcasting, and establishing a loyal listenership. But if you are launching a podcast for your business, the focus should be on what best serves your particular audience.

Focus on concept and content more than the equipment

You might think that starting a podcast is all about high quality sound and production value, and therefore you will need to focus on getting the right equipment.

  • Great Expectations. It is true that with the rise in popularity of podcasts there are increased listener expectations around having great sound, but there are many great sites that offer tips on how to start a podcast from a technical perspective, as well as how to do it affordably. No matter what budget, starting a podcast is relatively affordable in terms of money, but it can consume a fair amount of time.
  • What To Focus On. Having great equipment won’t automatically make you a great podcast host or producer, so the focus should go into the planning, concept, and automating the production process. Statistically speaking, most podcasts shut down after only 7 episodes. There are many reasons for this, and my own guess is that people under-estimated the time and dedication it takes. In order to see results in terms of a content marketing strategy, obviously your podcast needs to last longer than 7 episodes, so don’t over-focus on equipment, go with basic equipment for low cost to start with. If your podcast makes it past 25 episodes, reward yourself with a nice microphone upgrade:)

Find strategic guests with an existing platform

When inviting guests for your podcast, there is a strategic way to look at this:

  • podcast episode show posts are a giftIt is a good idea to set expectations with your guests up front. Be crystal clear about the fact the this is a mutually supportive endeavor and win-win gift exchange, where you create a piece of great content that promotes your guest, and that in return you expect a blog post or resource-link back to your site and the episode post in return, as well as active guest participation in sharing the episode on social media.
  • Having a platform.  Of course you want to pick your guests to be interesting and entertaining for your audience, but ideally your guest should also have a popular site, with a Google page rank of 4+, as well as a large social media presence. It may sound harsh, but otherwise getting links back from a dormant or low value site is of little SEO value, and guests with little or no social media following are not likely to help share your episode widely.

Write great long form show notes

how to podcast with long form shownotesLong form content is better in terms of SEO, while 300+ words are required from an SEO perspective, 700 words plus is better.

  • Create standard headers and footer. We follow a recipe  for creating a standard header and footer segment for each episode. We use automation tools like Text Expander to create show notes footers, with standing subscribe links to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher; a standard section on how to share the podcast; where to find links to books or sites mentioned in the episode.  This helps in creating longer form notes post.
  • Create some standing segments for questions you ask each guest.  You might also find that you have some standing questions you ask each guest, and you can prepare a show notes template that already includes the <H2> titles for each segment.
  • Use a Transcription Service, or Dragon Dictation software: We have had some pretty good luck with using Dragon Dictation software to process our podcast recording and to transcribe the content into a text file. While this process does not produce punctuation, it is helpful in creating summary notes or themes for show notes segments. There are transcription services that will do a better job, and turn around a full transcript of each episode in about one day. The only drawback is that this approach is a bit more expensive.
  • Include a nicely formatted audio player bar for each episode. We have found that many of our listeners visit the web page and listen to the entire episode there, using our built in web player. This is great in terms of getting high Google analytics engagement and time on site scores, as well as very low bounce rates.
  • Invest 1-2 hours to learn the basics of SEO for podcasters, using our free 5 part SEO for podcasters tutorial series.

Invest in your sound quality and the editing process

Make sure you make your guests and yourself sound great. The better and more professional your podcast and each episode sounds, the more likely your guests will see it as an asset they are eager to share on their site, their social media and as part of their PR kit.

  • Sound Editing Resources. If you are editing the episodes yourself, there are several resources to help producing high sound quality regardless of  your software of choice. One of the best is Ultimate Vocal Formula, a generous course run by Rob Williams, which offers great editing tips, a terrific cheat sheet for correct use of equalizers and compression to shape your show’s sound to be broadcast standard.
  • Remove “Ums”, “Ahhs”, “You Know” and “Lip Smacks”. Unless your guests are totally fluent public speakers, if you are like us you may be surprised to notice just how many of these flubs are in the un-edited field for each episode. I can’t stress how important the editing process is in shaping the overall listener experience.
  • Be Ruthless. We not only try to remove flubs, but we may at times even delete irrelevant or repeating and rambling parts of a longer conversation, in order to create a better and more concise episode.
  • Sound Tracks and Segments. Having a great sound track and theme intro, even having repeating show segments with their own theme music can make your show stand out and sound professional and broadcast ready.

Promote and build your e-mail list

How to start a podcast email list buildngWhen people visit your show notes page, they should have an easy way to subscribe to podcast episode reminders via email.

  • Mention an easy to remember show-notes URL during each episode. Use tools like “Easy301 Redirects” or “Prettylink” to create short URLS in addition to your long episode specific URLs. This is because you want to mention an easily accessible URL during the episode to encourage listeners to visit there, find out more about the guest, or download special offers and lead-magnets. So for example, instead of “myshow.com/long-podcast-episode5-description”, create a short URL for episode: “myshow.com/5”, which is easy to remember for listeners.
  • Offer a way to subscribe via email. Make sure visitors have an email opt-in to be notified for each episode. We use a Mailchimp based automated RSS driven email campaign to send email notifications out for our podcasts. Most other marketing automation engines can generate RSS triggered emails. However, even if your platform does not offer this in an automated fashion, think of creating manual email notifications to your list as an advantage: It allows you to be more specific and personal in each email you send out.
  • Email notification do’s and don’t’s:  Be careful not to provide the entire show-notes within your email. Your email is meant to alert your subscribers to the fact that a new episode is available, and to raise some curiosity about it. And then get them to visit your site, that should be the primary goal and single CTA. Plus, who reads long emails anymore.
  • Promote opt-ins and give aways. Where applicable, create downloadable content for each episode, and allow clients to opt in for these using tools like LeadPages.

How much time will it take, and are there good ways to save time?

how to podcast - saving timeI’ve heard experienced podcasters agree that that the overall time it takes to produce a podcast episode is about 4-5 times the amount of time of  the actual episode recording length. I would say that this is a conservative estimate, coming from people who have their workflow down to a finely honed art, with templated processes and automation.

Overall, the steps involved are

  • Guest Management. Identifying guests, inviting them and scheduling pre-interviews and the actual interview
  • Recording. Recording the actual episodes sound files.
  • Producing. Editing the audio files in audio software, outputting the .mp3 files, tagging the .mp3 files with show information, uploading to your podcast hosting service, and preparing episode titles and summaries, as well as scheduling each episode for release and distribution on feeds and social media.
  • Show Notes Production & Promotion. Writing a blog article to accompany each episode, with links to your guest’s site and resources, as well as managing social media shares.

However, there are ways to save time:

  • Establish a schedule and stick to it. John Lee Dumas of the highly successful “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast shares that he sets aside one day a week to schedule, record and produce content for a month. In our experience, this is no small feat, and podcast related activities tend to bleed into the rest of the week. This is, of course, subject to your resources.
  • Automate as much as possible. When producing podcasts we have templated everything, from guest invite emails to basic show notes structure, episode footers and other lead magnet downloads. This greatly decreases the amount of time to produce show notes.  (I will share our process for applying some great automation tools in the near future).
  • Get help. If your business has the resources, you can easily farm out some of the more time consuming aspects of doing a podcast. For example, you can assign interns to handle guest scheduling and invites. Or, you can take advantage of podcast production packages like the ones we offer here at Polymash, where the only thing a host has to worry about is the actual recording of the interview, and where everything else from editing to basic show notes and publishing of each episode is taken care of.

 

Market & Launch your podcast

This resource guide includes gear guides, platform tips and guidance on how to market and grow your digital presence using podcasting as content strategy.

podcasting as content strategy

Where can we send your guide?

Last Tip: Define what success means for you

When first launching a podcast, it is easy to get caught up in your download stats. Don’t.

You can set your own goals and ways to measure success.

For example, building a loyal listener base can matter, or maybe it’s establishing lasting relationships with peers and clients.  There is intrinsic high value in having people want to listen and visit your site because they are truly interested in the topic. Our bounce rates on podcast episodes are below 20%, sometimes in the low teens. And our email sign-ups have skyrocketed.

This is a longer term strategic investment, but as you can see from the Alexa ranking graph at the top of this post, the reward can be massive.

  • If you’ve made it this far reading a long post about how to start a podcast as content strategy, then chances are it might be a good fit for you.  I’d love to hear your perspective, please leave a comment!