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One of our 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 website or to their show’s website.

In general, I feel people are overly focused on iTunes podcast SEO (Also known as ASO for “app store optimization”). And this often results in overlooking the value of podcast marketing techniques that result in email subscriber and list growth, instead of gaining an audience of anonymous listeners on iTunes. For example, I’ve written at length on how Facebook podcast marketing is often done in a way that drives traffic to iTunes or Stitcher and results in no traffic to the podcast host’s site, and personally, I think this is a mistake.

So I’ve been coaching a lot of solopreneurs and podcasters on SEO, and even launched a self -paced online course 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…

Podcast SEO Marketing Course

Our new extensive Podcast Marketing course

What this podcast SEO course focuses on

There are a lot of misconceptions 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 the course, we focused on keyword research-based content marketing techniques and how to boost show-notes using SEO optimized show notes posts for 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 other content 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. That said, WordPress has completely changed the internet and enabled entrepreneurs to launch advanced on-line businesses, basically for free. And in order to grow these online businesses, SEO strategies plays a big role.

“Link Building”

Link building techniques are still all a huge part of a successful SEO strategy and are 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 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 external 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 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 Concepts Overview

The high-level topics of SEO optimizing podcast episode show notes we will discuss in this series are as follows:
POdcast SEO Optimization Topics

  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 and Headings

    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 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. Internal Link Building

    Creating an internal link structure means that Google values your content more, and can more effectively determine the context and theme of your primary topics.

  4. ASO (App Store Optimization on iTunes)

    Discoverability on iTunes is relatively limited, but we will go into what is known about iTunes search, and how you can ensure your show and episodes are discoverable for the keywords you think people may search for.

  5. Cornerstone Concepts

    Cornerstone SEO strategies involve creating authoritative long-form content around a theme and then surrounding it with smaller articles, blog posts or episodes that link to the authority posts. This approach gives rise to the creation of content themes for your episodes, and a way of linking these to become more powerful in the way that Google indexes and ranks them.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 the 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.

  8. Advanced SEO Strategies

    How to use more advanced and strategic SEO techniques, such as competitive research, external link building, and using various analytics tools to target SERP (Search Engine Results Page) positioning.

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 your 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 many 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.


FREE 2021 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

  • Gear Guides
  • "How To" Tutorials
  • Music & Sound Effect Libraries
  • Software & Tools
  • Guest Booking Services
  • General Podcasting Sites & Groups
Podcasting Resources Guide

Where can we send your guide?


 

Post By

Robyn Stratton of positivitystrategist.com
Robyn Stratton on podcasting services and marketing

Remaining Relevant

As a solopreneur, this is a story about rebranding, reinventing, and realigning my online persona in the digital marketplace. It’s a journey about moving with the times.  After all, remaining relevant and essential in this increasingly complex, diverse and multifaceted world is an important issue for all of us and it takes investments.  Investments in our thinking, emotional and physical energies. It’s about identifying digital strategies, finding the right resources and talent to help make strategic choices and positive changes.

The term solopreneur began to be socialized from around 2010, yet in my research, I found a definition dating back to 2005.  That being said, today, it’s a well known term and there are increasing numbers of us out there making a living as one person businesses.

Transitioning to Solopreneurship

As a solopreneur, I used to be extra precious about my content, my services, my clients, my brand and hoped everyone who stumbled on my website would immediately love my content as much as I did.

Becoming comfortable as a solopreneur was a transition in identity for me, because when I had my first website, 16 years ago in 1999, I was shy about positioning myself as a solo act.  I had come from big consulting background.  It didn’t seem professional to talk about myself in the first person singular on my earlier websites. Instead the company was positioned as a consortium of consultants, a group of associates, so I wrote in the in the first person plural – “we” do this and that; “our clients” are xyz.  It felt too early to say I worked from home and I was alone.  I was nervous to admit, I did it all on my own.

digital strategies as a woman solopreneur

Well, things have changed and with the employment scene as it has been for the last 10 years and with entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, solo practitioners being the norm, it’s no longer a stigma to say:

“I am my own company and it’s great!”

Website Evolutions

Since 1999, I’ve had 7 websites. It’s the last four websites, since 2006, that have evolved to ever higher performing platforms increasing strategic value with each evolution.

Until 6 years ago, I kept my “professional’  website separate from my newly created WordPress blog.  As my blogging site grew, it became increasingly clearer to me that the boundaries between my professional persona  and my personal persona were dissolving.  I was writing stories that spoke to my passion (in fact my first blog was called pursuingpassions.com) and my passion was my work, because I do work I love and it informs who I am.

Fast track to my most recent evolution, when I got really strategic. Ten months ago I had a BFO – a blinding flash of the obvious.  My website was tired looking, it was dated and even though it had been converted to be mobile optimized, it still wasn’t reflecting my own self-perception of being current, and a thought leader in my field.

Embracing Digital Strategies

It was time to reassess and update, and follow my own advice that I give to clients about the need to re-invent yourself and get clarity about your purpose, strengths, and potential legacy.

Inbound Marketing

I’m super excited about the results. For me, rebranding to Positivity Strategist from my former Positive Matrix identity has been very exciting because I was coached to follow an inbound marketing content strategy. It was a significant, and hugely valuable undertaking.

Juergen Berkessel, CEO of Polymash, has become my digital strategist, guiding me to understand how to begin to increase the visibility of my web presence in the  world.  He coached me in a workshop format to complete value proposition design and persona development activities that have helped me appreciate and segment my clients. This has shaped content and refined language on my website; and with that awareness, I now can write more targeted content that more specifically relates to their needs.

Podcasting as a Content Strategy

Polymash also recommended I start a podcast as a content strategy, and took over the production of it in order to grow my content offering, thereby positioning my leadership in my field and increasing traffic to my website. There are many search engine and traffic generating aspects to this as outlined in How to Start A Podcast As Content Strategy in 2015

Marketing Automation and SEO

I’ve begun to appreciate and follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices for producing all of my content, and am making use of marketing automation software that allows me to grow my email list. I can now better understand how anonymous site visitors or email subscribers behave on my site, and I can better respond to their behavior in order to engage and serve them. Ultimately many of these anonymous visitors are opting in specific service and content offers, and relationships are strengthening.

Inbound Content Marketing Dashboard

Expanding the Platform

On-line Courses as Content Strategy

Because I'm a writer, speaker, trainer and, therefore produce a lot of content, the next piece of advice my coach offered me to grow my content marketing capability was to create an online training course in my field of expertise.  I have just launched my first Udemy course Be an Agent for Positive Change: Positivity Strategies and accompanying that is the creation of a YouTube Channel, showcasing my course, and also Slideshare presentations.  The blogging continues and I've just started to produce regular posts on LinkedIn, and the Udemy course will result in dozens future posts.

Udemy Course as Content Strategy

Tracking Progress

In less than 10 months, with the guidance of my digital strategies coach, my brand new domain name, Positivity Strategist with a zero Alexa ranking has grown organically to being the #1.5M most popular site world wide and #235,539 in the US,  outranking many well-known brands and established websites in my professional field, and an increasing amount of visitors and opt-ins are the result of my SEO optimized content being found on Google and other search engines .

Positivity Strategist Alexa Rank

Professional Growth is a Bonus Benefit

Not only has my website gone from non-existent to a viable presence on line, I have learnt and grown enormously in the last 10 months.  What I had absolutely no appreciation for in the the past, I now appreciate and practice.  I can perform many of these activities with greater ease and therefore I experience joy.  My professional development in the areas of speaking, interviewing, writing have improved because I’m using them all the time.

A huge discovery has been to accept that I can use automated tools and software. It’s not so complex; and, it is so rewarding! And for tasks I used to moan and groan about, I’m reaping the rewards.  Just one example is researching the right key words to improve the search ranking of every piece of content I write.  I hated doing that, as I just wanted to write fun titles for my posts.

It was tough to make the changes, yet I have now successfully habituated them and I am seeing huge benefits.  It’s been a great 10 month journey and I am truly grateful.

Let’s face it, your web site design has a certain shelf life, and the time comes when even the most reticent business owners realize their site is due for a make-over. Being a visual design fanatic, graphic designer and photographer I sympathize with clients who think they have a design problem. Just recently a prospect stated something I hear a lot:

“My biggest problem has always been the design of things”

I think this comes from intuitively recognizing that “there is something wrong or missing” from their site, but failing to realize exactly what it might be. And so the focus falls on “design”, the “look and feel”, the “cool factor”, the latest font choices, video backgrounds and sliders. Thoughts turn to “mobile”, “responsive”, “more modern”.

UX Design Problems Are Hard to Spot At First Glance

hard to spot ux problemMarketers and app developers have embraced user experience as being a fundamental aspect of modern design. But for the average small business owner, blogger, solopreneur and for most lay people, UX is a difficult and mysterious concept to come to grips with, and the lack of a good user experience is hard to spot.
This means that very often site re-designs are based on visual decisions and look and feel only, ignoring the fundamentals of user behavior, research, and customer centric thinking. This also implies little research and planning.

But Digital Strategy Gaps Are Even Harder To Spot

For me, the coolest vanity site out there is useless (or at best a hobby only) if it fails to attract and convert visitors into leads. Or fails to engage consumers of our content. Visitors will come, say “wow this is cool”, and then leave, unless we have a way to capture them. Like being on a blind date with someone beautiful, without ever asking for a name. Now there’s a design problem for you.

Some examples of missed opportunities

We’ve seen carefully crafted corporate site re-designs launch, with no content other than myopic product catalogs, services and company history, all organized by internal departments, and navigable only by the initiated. Why was the site not converting?

Because that’s called an intranet.

So often the language is that of a first person narrative, it’s all me, me, me, or we, we, we.

Sorry, how are you helping your site visitors?

We see sites that advertise their products and services by shouting at a demographic, rather than starting to engage with their prospects.

If you want to start a conversation, don’t shout.

And often we see thoughtful and entertaining blog articles, marooned and hidden away in some far corner of a site without linking to other valuable pages, and without any accessible opt-ins chance to grow email lists for the content owners. Or we’ve seen famous authors book launch site giving away free preview chapters of their book, without a sign up form asking for an email in exchange. I get it, you’re being modest and are providing value, but trust me, it’s OK to have an occasional opt-in asking for a name and email address.

There is such a thing as being too humble.

So the question for me is always one of customer centricity: Who do you place at the center of your site’s experience? Yourself or your visitors?

So what should we focus on when considering a site re-design?

Let us adopt our customer’s point of view. What is our value proposition to them? How can we inform, delight and offer relevant content and experiences to them?

1.) Awareness: Start by realizing the opportunity for re-invention

It starts with simply realizing that each time a web site is re-designed, it is a huge strategic opportunity to re-invent not only the site, but also the way it contributes to your underlying business model.

2.) Education: Why and how content marketing works

Initially, spend more time researching. In my experience, most web design projects benefit from an 80/20 rule: 80% planning, 20% execution. Educate yourself about why content marketing and an inbound approach work so well for most companies that practice it. Here some quick stats and info to understand the opportunity better…

3.) Conversion: Going Inbound

There is no better way to start customer centric thinking than by implementing an inbound content strategy. It will help develop the muscle for customer centric philosophy and language. It will lead not only to a deeper understanding of your site visitors, but also to a better relationship with your prospects.

4.) Marketing Automation: The difference

For small businesses and solopreneurs, the potential of marketing automation cannot be overstated. Once accessible only to relatively large organizations and corporates, marketing automation platforms are now extremely affordable, and an excellent way to design and run sophisticated inbound content campaigns.

5.) Re-Frame the Opportunity: Converting visitors into prospects, prospects into leads

A re-design project is an ideal place to start, because it can provide you with a re-frame: Your site’s job is to convert site visitors into leads, by providing valuable content to your readership in exchange for contact info and email addresses.

Your site can become the central hub of a customer centric overall digital marketing strategy that supports your business goals (and reflects your brand of course).