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Podcast Content Syndication – Beyond Podcast Directories

Podcast directories aren't enough for podcast distribution. In this episode we will learn why. We will also learn how to automatically and widely syndicate episode show notes content for quick traffic and SEO rank wins. This is the primary marketing approach we are taking for our podcasts.

Episode 8: Easy Content Syndication and Podcast Distribution For Multiple Channels

Overview & Episode Content

  1. What is Content Syndication? (01:10)
  2. What Are the Benefits For Podcasters & Bloggers? (01:45)
  3. How does this work, and how can I automate it? (04:20)
  4. SCREENCAST: The StoryChief platform we use for this (07:45)
  5. DEMO: Our podcast distribution and syndication process (12:25)
  6. COMPARISON: StoryChief's free, basic and pro plans compared (21:45)
  7. CASE STUDY: Results we have seen
  8. Invitation to join our ambassador network

What is Content Syndication?

Content distribution and syndication for podcasters
Content syndication for podcasters

Here is a definition from Search Engine Watch:

Content syndication is the process of pushing your blogpost, article, video or any piece of web-based content out to other third-parties who will then re-publish it on their own sites.

So this applies to podcasts as well. We want to create Brand Awareness for our podcasts by publishing our show notes stories on multiple websites, communities, social media and email channels.

What Are The Benefits?

Podcast Distribution & Show Notes Syndication Benefits
Podcast Distribution & Show Notes Syndication Benefits

Question: Why should podcasters care about content syndication?

Aren't we already doing a form of this when distributing our episodes to iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play?

  • Answer: Yes indeed we are.
  • However, we are only publishing audio content on iTunes.
  • And we ought to do the same with episode show notes.

Multi Channel Presence

Content syndication is to our podcast show notes what podcast directories are to our audio files. A way to distribute our content widely. And a way to establish presence on multiple content and social platforms.

Traffic and Discoverability

This results in greater traffic and discoverability. When your episodes go live, you probably already share your show notes post on Facebook, and perhaps on Twitter. But have you thought about publishing your episode show notes as articles on Medium? (I get a lot of traffic from doing this) Or on Blogger?

The idea we are about to explore involves distribution of your show notes to as many platforms as possible.

And the benefits of this extend far beyond traffic alone.

SEO Backlinks

My backlinks from high domain authority sites have increased by 231% in 2 months of launching my podcast. This is largely resulting from the podcast distribution and syndication method we are covering here. (There are some graphics and figures at the end of these show notes)

For those of you unfamiliar with SEO, increased backlinks mean increased rank in the Google search engines, and this means better placement in the search results. I have some concrete examples of this later on, but some of my podcast episodes and blog posts are ranking on page 1 or 2 of the Google search results within 2-3 weeks after publishing. And my site does not have a particularly high ranking Domain Authority.

How Does This Work, And How Can I Automate It?

Automating Podcast Content Syndication
Podcast Content Syndication Automation

You could of course distribute your show notes to a bunch of different platforms manually. Generally this involves re-posting your episode article via copy paste, or sharing your own episode show notes URL on social media. And that's perfectly fine, but it is a lot of work, and there are pitfalls:

  • The manual approach is super time consuming
  • Each platform has slightly different rules, layouts and features
  • The more platforms you want to distribute to, the more manual work it becomes
  • If you are not careful or SEO savvy, then your podcast episodes will rank on 3rd party sites instead of on your own. We've written extensively about how to prevent this, and talked about Digital Sharecropping in Episode 7 "5 Reasons NOT to Promote a Podcast on Facebook [S1E07]"

So doing this manually is a bit foolish. And there are some great content syndication platforms out there. But there is one particular platform that is great for podcast distribution of show notes. And it addresses all the above concerns.

The platform is by a Belgian company called StoryChief, and I'd like to tell you about how we use it, and how it has revolutionized our podcast content syndication process.

Why StoryChief?

We use StoryChief for Podcast Show Notes Content Syndication
  • Podcasting Ready
  • Blogging Optimized
  • Content Calendar
  • SEO Ready With Canonical Tags
  • Lead capture integration
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Suitable for advanced marketers
  • Provides ready-made blog
  • Built-In Coaching for SEO and Readability
  • Flexible open platform with lots of embeds, integrations
  • Collaboration & Approval Workflows
  • Outsourcing Ready

StoryChief Podcast Distribution & Syndication (7:45)

podcast distribution and syndication
StoryChief podcast distribution and syndication map

Here is a quick summary of where StoryChief can distribute your podcast show notes.

Publish to multiple websites you own (7:55)

With StoryChief you create a layer above all your web sites, which simplifies the show notes production processes. After your show notes are finished in StoryChief, just publish it to your podcast's websites with one click. The layout will automatically be adjusted to defined branding of your website.

I especially like that on WordPress, any images you include are automatically imported into your social media library. And if you use Yoast SEO plugin, as most of us do, the SEO settings you define in your article will transfer over to your WordPress site, such as your SEO keywords or meta description.

Publish to your personal blog you get with StoryChief (9:30)

Don't have a blog website yet? You can use the free blog you get with StoryChief. It's auto generated when you start an account. Personally I don't use it or drive traffic to it, but I still publish each show note article there because I get a back link.

Create Social Media posts which link to the article (9:55)

Create Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin post to promote your story. The links will go to your primary website.

Publish to the new AMP channels (10:25)

Improve click through rate by 70% by boosting loading times on mobile devices. Publish your stories to Facebook and Google as AMP version.

Promote stories through your ambassadors and influencers (10:40)

Increase reach by 1000% by sharing your brand stories through the personal social channels of your colleagues, friends and influencers. My invitation to join our own Ambassador network is below and also at the bottom of this post.

Embed stories in automated newsletters (12:00)

Easily setup news digests by integrating your favorite mailing tools with StoryChief.

Publish to communities (12:10)

Increase reach and brand awareness by publishing to Medium.com, blogger.com communities.

Content Syndication Demo (12:25)

Content Syndication Demo

As you know, this is a both a podcast audio as well as video series, and in this next segment I will doing a video demo. So for those of you listening to this, I'll do my best to describe what's going on:

Podcast Distribution and Syndication Destinations (12:45)

Let's take a look at the integrations that are possible when using StoryChief. Let's go and start with the available channels that are possible to be configured. As I mentioned, StoryChief comes with its built in blog, and we can have a quick look at that so that you can see what that looks like. Here is my Polymash Podcast Growth System blog that I've set up as part of the StoryChief. As I said, I don't really use it, but I do get backlinks from it, and so that's useful.

Publish to Blogs, Website and CMS Destinations (13:10)

My primary place where I publish is WordPress. You can also hook up an API to basically publish to almost any website out there. Some of my marketing buddies out there will be using HubSpot or Magento, that's another famous CMS that's out there. So you can see you there are a whole range of choices. Another good one that's maybe worth pointing out is Shopify. I'm not sure whether that applies to you as a podcaster, but it could.

Content Hubs (13:50)

Content hubs are next, this is where you would configure Medium. Most of the time you have a personal account on Medium, but I also run a publication called Podcasting Strategy Launch and Marketing on Medium. So those are two different places that I typically syndicate this content. Let's go back to content hubs: I've also set that up the Podcast Growth Show on Blogger. As I mentioned, it's owned by Google. And finally I create an RSS feed. There are many purposes for that, that I won't go into any details.

Social Media Destinations (14:30)

On Facebook, both Facebook pages as well as Facebook groups are promoted, Twitter and Linkedin.

Ambassador Networks (14:40)

Here are the referral or the ambassador networks that we talked about a little bit earlier. I have to have them configured at the moment, one for podcasting and one for just general digital strategy. But you can easily see how, if your podcast is about multiple topics, you could easily use it for that. If you have multiple seasons, you could possibly set it up to where your podcast season one has an ambassador list that's different from season two. So this is kind of up to you to decide.

Press Releases (15:05)

Press releases, if you are big enough to warrant occasional press releases, and you have an episode on which you're talking about an event or something that are really not worthy, that would lend itself to a press release, that's a great option to have.

Email Marketing (15:25)

Email marketing, it comes built in with MailChimp. It comes built in with campaign monitor. But we'll go in a minute, we will look at what the integration strategy is. And because you can hook it up to Zapier quite easily, it basically you gain access to almost any marketing automation platform that's out there for capturing leads.

Lead Generation (15:40 & 16:30)

On the Lead Capture site, there are many ways in which you can capture a lead inside your story. So if you're mentioning something in the podcast that's a worthy add on, or you're asking people to sign up for something, or even if you don't have this built into your website. We use Thrive Marketing Automation tools to help with this. But even if you don't have anything like that, StoryChief helps you by providing it.

Mobile Platforms (15:50)

Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles is what's available right now, and that can be quite helpful. I'm still in the process of starting to utilize these.

Other Integrations (16:30)

All right, so here we are in the integration screen, where you set up, and by the way this stuff don't let it overwhelm you. These are one time set up activities. I'm just trying to point out the rich distribution potential that you get on this platform, and most of it is a matter of a one time effort, and then it is as simple as actually just clicking to publish at the end of this.

The web hook is the way that you connect at Zapier, and as I mentioned, that just opens up a whole world of other integration platforms.

Content Calendars (17:00)

StoryChief comes with a built in content calendar. But it also integrates to external content calendars. You can have everything that's gonna go live, including on social media, you can integrate that into your Google Calendar, or into your Upper Calendar or into your Outlook Calendar. So I love that part.

Podcast Syndication Ready Editor Embeds (17:15)

Editor Embeds is where it gets interesting, especially for podcasters. Because what I want to highlight is that StoryChief supports Anchor, Pippa, SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Libsyn as well. StoryChief are working aggressively on adding other audio platforms to be directly supported. I'm sure Blueberry isn't far away.

Story Chief Editor embeds that are podcast syndication ready
Podcast distribution ready

Right now, there isn't a native integration with Blueberry at the moment. But, I think that if that's something that you need, let me know. I would reach out to them. I was the one who initiated getting Libsyn on board. I suggested that on their public roadmap, and they've been very responsive in implementing some of the features that we as podcasters were pitching to them.

A Quick Overview of the StoryChief Editing Environment (18:09)

I thought we'd have a quick look at the actual Editor itself. It's broken down into sort of a number of interesting components.

Editing could not be easier (18:17)

Those of you that have you ever written on Medium, the StoryChief editor works very much like that. You just basically get a screen that is as easy as pie to just start typing something in. As you're typing it, you can turn text into headings, into quotes. You can add links, you can even comment back and forth with your team. And this ability to comment is a wonderful collaboration strategy, where you can manage multiple writers, or you could outsource your Show Notes production.

SEO coaching (19:04)

I've mentioned the SEO coaching components before. Here the show notes that I'm actually preparing for this very episode that you're listening to right now. It's in an earlier stage than what you would see on my site, but I thought I'd share with you what this looks like. StoryChief provides an SEO sidebar that actually tells you what to do, and walks you through a number of steps to optimize your show notes for SEO.

Readability Coaching (19:38)

And it also has a area here a way you can get a score on the readability of your posts. So keeping it simple, adding headings, breaking it up, not having too many long sentences, and a flesh reading score. Which is sort of like how complex is the grammar that you're using, and getting a good score of that is an SEO factor now. Google actually uses this as a rank indication signal. I don't know how much weight it carries, but it carries some. Besides it just makes for a better reading experience to have your show notes be very easy and scannable.

The approach that we take is, is that our headings by themselves allow you to scan through an episode and very quickly see what's going on. People do scan a lot these days. So that's how it's organized.

Tabs for staying organized and to simplify the UI (20:30 )

The editing environment is split into wizard-like tabs. This is where you progress from writing, to a summary, to determining your audience, to actually publishing.

And after you write, you basically go to the summary area where you can manage the episode settings and Metadata. This is also where you put a cover image, where you add an excerpt for your WordPress blog, where you apply categories and tags. So this is all baked into StoryChief and it all translates over to any other platform that you publish to. These settings are going to trickle down into WordPress, they are going to trickle down into Drupal and Joomla, and they will be honored on as many platforms as they can be honored in.

Defining your audience (21:15)

The last part of the publishing process is that you select your audience, and this is where you can schedule your shotes notes to go live at some future date.

The best part of that is, at the end of the day when you click that publish button and you see it going live …

The 16 destinations we publish to (21:40)

As you can see here, I'm currently doing my podcast distribution and syndication to 16 destinations. Facebook pages, Facebook channels, my Medium personal profile, my Medium publication, my WordPress Blogs, my Linkedin profiles and so forth. Some people that I've seen have to up to 20 or 30 channels that they've configured. I think it's a great feeling when you then actually click the publish button and you see it go live everywhere.

StoryChief Free Version, Basic and Pro Versions

Try it for free, but the basic version costs only $10

So when I first thought I saw this, I thought it was super-exciting, because it just saves us so much time and it was a no-brainer for me to try to integrate this into our workflow.

Sign Up for Free To Try This For Your Podcast or Blog

I'd encourage you to try this for your own blog or podcast.

If you'd like to sign up for the free version, below is a link. Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link and if you ever upgrade I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. But I hope to have earned your trust with this site, blog and podcast – I have been putting significant work into this in order to provide next level thinking about podcast growth.

StoryChief Free Account Link
Get started for free and set up your account

Get started for free, but the basic plan is only $8 a month (when paid yearly)

It's 5 episodes (or stories) for 10$/month, 10 episodes for 20$/month, 15 for 30, 20 for 40, 25 for 50 up until 30 for 60$; and 20% discount if you pay yearly.

But the paid version is extremely reasonably priced for what it does. Then some of the more sophisticated integrations that we've talked about, are available in the Pro Plan. But I think that podcasters will get a lot of use and time savings, even out of the basic version and I think it's totally affordable to do it.

Feature comparison

As I mentioned, there is a free version that you can get, and then there's a Basic, Pro and Enterprise versions. I'll skip the enterprise one, but here's a feature comparison.

Free version for evaluating the platform

You can see that what you're getting with the free version is quite a lot. You had five stories a month, you could really get a feel for the platform and start utilizing it even with the free version.

Why the Basic version is right for podcasters

With the basic version, you actually get that ambassador network and some of the more, from my perspective, useful features that we've talked a little bit about.

The basic version is actually quite feature rich. For example, you do get the content calendar version history. You get a content approval and rejection, which are the collaboration features, to where you can assign shown notes to someone and communicate back with them.

Here's everything you get with the $8 a month basic plan:

  • 5-30 Stories a month
  • Unlimited Users and Collaborators
  • 50 Ambassadors/Press/Influencers
  • Free Blog
  • Publish to your own Website
  • Collaboration/Reviewer Comments
  • Share Story on Social Media
  • Publish to Medium.com and Blogger
  • SEO Assistant
  • API Access
  • Export to Word/PDF/Zip
  • Content Calendar
  • Version History
  • Content Approval/Rejection
  • Newsletters/Emailing
  • Lead Generation Forms (Teamleader CRM, Hubspot CRM)
  • Custom Domain for your
  • StoryChief Blog
  • Editorial Briefs
  • Access to Talent Pool (only available in Benelux)
  • Feeds and AMPs (Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, RSS, MailChimp)
  • Version History
  • PRO Channels (e.g Hubspot)
  • PRO Integrations (e.g Salesforce, Calendar Sync, …)
  • Zapier Integrations
  • Publish to Messengers (soon)

You get that integration into email letters, lead generation forms. You get that custom domain and editorial briefs and a number of other benefits that is appear integration. All of that is included in the baseline version for only $10 a month, or $8 when paid yearly. So I just think this is a smashingly good deal.

Results We Are Seeing

podcast syndication and distribution results
Backlinks to my podcast and site have increased by 229% (Source: KWFinder)

Even though we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of what we can do with this tool, I hope you do see the value of distributing your show notes as widely, and to as many different networks as you can, just like you're doing with your podcast audio.

We've certainly had great results from it. Several of my episodes actually resulting in a good amount of traffic. I mean, I'm ranking for keywords that have sort of like 500 visits a month. Click here for the examples from RANK Tracker.

But if I can be on page one for that, I'm happy. I don't expect to be ranking for something that has 25,000 searches a month. That's a bit too competitive for me. I talked about that a lot in our SEO courses, how to basically match your podcasts website with the kind of keyboards and that you can actually rank for. Something that's commensurate with your site. As I mentioned, we'll be going into that in a future episode.

Keyword rank index increase from content syndication
Rank index increases (source: SERPWatcher)

In terms of business benefit, I've landed several clients as a direct result of Google search from the above process. Results that featured my syndicated content. Plus, several people have contacted me to collaborate and to help them with their own podcast content strategy and show launches, something I love doing…

So I hope that you found this inspiring. Please visit PodcastGrowShow.com, get your free sign up link for StoryChief.

Can you see yourself doing this and getting similar results?

Try this out yourself and see what you think, and let me know in the comments what you're thinking, and what your process is and how you could integrate that. I'm hoping that you could see yourself doing this. Scroll up for the link to the free StoryChief sign up.

Invitation To Join Our Ambassador Network

One last thing I almost forgot is the ambassador network. If you'd like to join my ambassador network, I would hugely appreciate it. If we have complimentary topics and our content is in sync from an SEO, or Inbound Marketing or podcasting perspective, maybe there's a way that we could work together and support each other.

So here is a signup form where you could join my ambassador networks. I would love to have you be part of that, and I would love to be able to support you in any way that I can.

How does Google determine content quality?
How does Google determine content quality? Guest Post by Alijaz Fajmut

Time and time again you'll have heard that, if you want to rank higher on Google, you need to produce quality content. But what exactly is content quality?

And why does it matter? Because that's what Google wants. And because Google is the world’s biggest search engine that's probably responsible for most of your traffic, you kinda have to give it what it wants.

Indeed, when Google goes down, overall worldwide web traffic plunges dramatically by around 40%. And when Google updates their algorithm, everyone pays attention. And Google recently updated their algorithm to focus on content quality. Check out the below graphic to see what I mean:

Content Quality trend as indicated by search volume on Google
Content Quality trend as indicated by search volume on Google. Source: KWFinder

This means that marketers need to do as Google says and produce more high-quality content. But what does that mean and how can you create top-notch content? This article will show you how Google measures content quality, and what you can do about it.

Content Quality Means Google Values Expertise

Imagine if you were running an affiliate website on the camera niche.

You've got your affiliate products all sorted and you've written a few blog posts at 500 words each. So far, so good.

The thing is that you're not an expert at cameras — in fact, you know nothing about them. The only reason you're driving any traffic in the first place is that of your decent marketing skills (and perhaps a PPC campaign). Because you have no real knowledge of cameras, your blog articles suck and your conversions are down.

Not just this, but your bounce rate is through the roof. And a high bounce rate is an indicator of poor content quality. People have found you out and know that you're not an expert on cameras.

Bounce Rate is an indicator of content quality

The real problem is that Google has also found you out, and as a consequence, your ranking has dropped. Not cool.

What Google wants is experts producing content they know inside out. This improves the user experience, ensuring that the right content is matching up with the right search queries. The site visitor is able to resolve their problems satisfactorily and everyone is happy. Including Google, who's algorithm measures engagement with content as a content quality factor.

Link to Other Websites

If you've used data or any kind of facts and figures in your articles, great. This gives you more credibility in the eyes of your readers.

To establish more credibility with Google — which is of equal importance — you need to reference any source where you got your data from. This is in keeping with co-citation best practices, and it shows that you're keen to be a part of the Google family.

Get other, authoritative websites to link back to you, too. This is called a backlink and it gives your website and articles a seal of approval because it shows that what you're offering is of a high content quality.

Quality content and link strategy
Internal and External Link Strategy influence the way Google ranks the quality of your content

To secure more backlinks you can launch a guest blogging campaign. This is when you pitch a blog idea to a related website in your niche, write a solid blog post and publish it with a link back to your site.

As well as that, just focus on content that you know is offering lots of value. The more value you offer, the more share-worthy and link-worthy your content will be. And, don't forget an internal linking strategy to other articles on your own site, something we refer to as cornerstone content.

Produce Long Form Content

Research has been done into whether short-form content performs better than long-form content.

And the answer is that long-form content is considered by Google to be of higher quality, and therefore ranks better.

Long form content is considered to be of a higher quality because a 2,000-word blog post naturally has more opportunities to offer more value to the reader than a much shorter 500-word blog post. A longer blog post also has more opportunities for backlinks, useful data and it can go deeper into the problems experienced by your audience.

Why Content Length Matters to Google
Why Content Length Matters to Google

Long form content is also considered to be more share-worthy and this further increases its quality status with Google.

Creating long-form content can take time, of course, but don't forget that you can repurpose it so that you get as much juice as possible out of it. If a lengthy blog post performs well, repurpose it for a video that a different audience gets the same value out of it.

And if you're stuck for ideas on what to write about in the first place, use the skyscraper technique. This is when you take an existing piece of content on a particular niche and improve it with more value, data, actionable advice and so on.

Make Old Content Relevant

Google wants to see fresh content from you, which means you should strive to publish new content as much as you can.

Of course, freshness itself doesn't indicate content quality. Moreover, you shouldn't post new content just for the sake of newness. What you can instead do is go back to your old content and make it more relevant.

content relevance and quality
Making Old Content Relevant In A New Context

For example, let's say I wrote an article in 2016 on car tax. It was a really good article that people enjoyed. It was informative and educational.

However, since we're now in 2019 and the rules on car tax have changed, it's also now old and irrelevant — and that means it's lost the quality piece of content it was.

Instead of rewriting the article from scratch, I can make the necessary tweaks that make it relevant again. It will be fresh, and it will have the quality that Google is looking for.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing and Duplicate Content

As you can see, content quality is all about improving the user experience so that they get the best answers possible. Google wants to offer people more bang for the buck, so to speak.

To this end, Google uses a search filter called Panda to look for, and then penalize, poor quality content that's obviously just trying to drive as much traffic as possible without actually offering any value.

To make sure that you don't fall fool of Panda, avoid Keyword stuffing and duplicate content. Avoid doorway pages too, and don't take part in link schemes. All of these things will result in penalties and your ranking will plummet.

Conclusion

As long as you focus on creating in-depth, long-form content rich in links and data, and which offers lots of value to the reader, you'll be well on your way to success on Google.

Guest Post by Alijaz Fajmut

Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of Nightwatch— a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out the Nightwatch blog and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut

Most podcasters find that after the initial success of launching their show, podcast growth becomes harder. Meaning, it becomes harder and harder to gain new listeners and subscribers.

Growing a podcast audience by relying on iTunes New and Noteworthy, or promotions via social media, or submitting to all sorts of podcast directories is a finite thing. Yes, these are all good and necessary steps in promoting a podcast, but eventually, the growth slows down or stops altogether.

The Podcast Growth System

This is why I’ve been working to compile insights we have gained over the years in launching different shows for a variety of clients. For most, podcasting has become a great content strategy for growth. So I am very excited to announce the launch of a podcast marketing system, as well as a book that teaches these techniques.

The approach we have taken incorporate Podcast SEO. And I don’t just mean “Search Engine Optimization” on iTunes, Stitcher or other podcasting platforms, I mean optimizing podcast episode planning and websites for discovery on Google and Bing.

For podcasters, applying simple to follow SEO techniques represents a massive traffic advantage in optimizing the time they likely already spend creating show notes and episode posts. And, these techniques are much more sustainable and evergreen when compared to short-term promotional or paid campaigns (which of course also have a place in the system).

Keep It Simple, Stupid

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” –Albert Einstein

Podcast SEO Marketing Course

Learn more about how to grow your podcast with the “Podcast SEO Marketing Course”

SEO can seem intimidating, so we’ve tried to keep it simple, with video tutorials and easy to follow downloadable templates. In other words, an expert guide on how to grow a podcast audience, email list and web presence with podcast SEO marketing through step by step guides and practical SEO exercises for your show’s pages.

Any podcaster can learn to build a listener base and gain traffic for their podcast organically and without having to spend money on ads.

The ROI of Podcast SEO

Podcast SEO ROIYou question the ROI of spending time on SEO? I beg to differ, have a look at this graphic from the Positivity Strategist Podcast, it illustrates that the podcast is receiving $2,000 worth of clicks a month (This analysis provided by SpyFu analytics, who measure what we would have to pay in Google Adwords for the exact keywords driving traffic to the podcast website and show pages) This comes from the exact techniques we are teaching in this course.

Podcast Home Page Design

We also have some free video resources on our site pointing our conversion optimized design patterns that help grow your email list. Optimizing your podcast homepage for conversion and email sign up will help you grow your podcast subscriber base.

How To Promote Your Podcast And Increase Your Listener Base

We also have a comprehensive guide on traditional non-SEO methods of growing your podcast audience, and it outlines multiple strategies, most of which happen outside the iTunes ecosystem. A good read for anyone whose eyes glaze over at the thought of SEO based marketing strategies.


The Podcast Growth System

The Podcast Growth System 8 Tips


What Other Podcasters Are Saying

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Larry Hagner Author, Speaker, and Founder of The Good Dad Project

The Real Deal

“Polymash is the real deal! I originally started working with Juergen to simply assist me with podcast production. What I received from him in service, dependability, turn around time, guidance, and coaching far exceeded my expectations. Without his help, I would not have successfully launched my podcast and re-branded my website. I cannot recommend him highly enough.”

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Robyn Stratton Speaker, Author & Founder, Positivity Strategist Podcast

Getting on page one of Google Search Results

“Polymash helped me get on page one of Google for my main business keyword, even though it is competitive! Now 65% of my site traffic comes from organic search.”

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Jeanne Bliss World renowned CX Author, Speaker, Founder at CustomerBliss

Rank as #1

"My goal was to rank as #1 on Google for the keyword ‘Customer Experience Podcast’. Polymash helped me get there, just Google it!"

Coming Soon:

The Podcast Growth Show Podcast

Contact me here to be notified when it launches, and let me know your questions and what content topics you’d like us to most talk about on the podcast.

 

 


FREE 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

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Podcasting Resources Guide

Where can we send your guide?

Introduction

Getting traffic to your website can be a brutal process, especially if you don’t know where to turn.  And paid traffic from Facebook or Google Ads stops as soon as you finish paying. So in addition to a paid strategy, it’s essential to make your site and your content search engine friendly so that you can gradually increase your rank and discoverability.

Cornerstone content is a crucial element to help make this happen.

If you are familiar with basic SEO concepts:

Then read on, because one of the most effective ways to boost your site rank and traffic is to use cornerstone content.

Once you understand how cornerstone content can be applied to your website, you will notice improvements and clarity in the way Google algorithms index and rank your content, and the chance of your articles appearing on page one of search results increases. It takes a bit of time to kick in, but SEO activities are seldom a “quick fix”, and more often an investment in a long-term and ever-green approach.

This article will explore what to include with your cornerstone content, and how you can use it to boost traffic and link your existing content to it strategically.

If you are pretty new to SEO:

Some people think of SEO as a confusing and complex set of technical tricks for people to discover your content on search engines. The reality for many businesses and blogs is that there is a lot of competition out there for popular search keywords and that their site does not have the overall search engine authority to help them rank their articles anywhere near the top page of search results.

However, with a little work and patience, an investment in understanding how search engines work is well worth it. If you are new to the topic, please check out our completely free course on SEO, a resource designed to provide easy to follow steps and recipes to increase your site’s visibility and rank.

The course is geared towards podcasters, but everything in it also applies to blogs or business sites following a content strategy.

What is Cornerstone Content?

Cornerstone content is made up of your hero content, such as pages and blog articles on your website.  These should be your most compelling and essential pieces.

They should answer your site visitors most significant questions, explain your business approach and topic of interest in great details, and in general be content you are most proud of.

The articles should reflect your business, communicate the mission, and provide well-written explanations.

How does Cornerstone Content Work?

Cornerstone ContentCornerstone content relies on an internal link building approach. Most other articles on your site should repeatedly link to your cornerstone content by way of explaining important and repeating concepts on your site.

These multiple links then create a roadmap for search engines to recognize that these cornerstone articles are the most important pages your site has to offer, and this will increase the rank of these pages on Google and other search engines.

Cornerstone Content

click to see full size

Google loves well-organized content, and this overall linking strategy creates a spider web of internal links Google loves.

We’ve illustrated this spider web of links to your cornerstone content in the main graphic for this post, click on this small thumbnail to see the full-size version.

Using Categories to Select Your Cornerstone Topics

If you are already running a site with well-organized content, the likelihood is that categories help organize it.

One approach to cornerstone content is to create a hero “cornerstone content” post for each category. All the other articles in the category should then refer to and link to this post.

Of course, some people have way too many categories on their site, and from my perspective, this is a mistake. In my opinion, a handful of categories are more effective than dozens. Perhaps focusing on launching your cornerstone content is a good opportunity to clean up your categories and tag structure. There are easy methods for category cleanup out there to help do this.

Importance of Keywords

When you’re deciding on your cornerstone content, you need to consider the keywords you want to rank for carefully.

In our aforementioned SEO course, we provide many tools, tips, and tricks on how to conduct keyword research that is effective for your site.

Do not fall into the trap of trying to rank for keywords your site has no chance of ever achieving a page 1 result for – your keywords need to be commensurate with your current site rank, and this can be different from site to site. (We have a formula for that in the course)

For this reason, I like using the term “key phrase” better than “keyword”, which implies a single word. Often the key phrase will be a combination of two or more words that people are actually searching for on Google.

So you are looking for key phrases that are low in competition (The concept of keyword difficulty), but relatively high in search traffic.

In any case, you should make these keywords unique, and use them only once on your site – for your cornerstone article. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that repeatedly optimizing pages for the same keyword is helpful: it will only dilute the importance the Google algorithm assigns to the page.

Blog articles or pages?

There is often some amount of debate among SEO experts if cornerstone content should consist of blog articles or of pages on your site. Many marketers recommend setting up cornerstone content as pages. I agree, but there is no technical SEO advantage to creating pages over posts, they are ranked the same.

The benefit is that pages have over posts are

  • In most themes, pages do not display dates, and it is good for your cornerstone content to appear timeless
  • Pages can be organized in menu structures, making them easy to find

But there are ways to get around this, on some WordPress themes you can suppress the display of dates on blog posts.

SEO Trick

This brings me to another SEO trick: from time to time it is good to update your cornerstone content to keep it fresh. Personally what I do is to put a “Last updated XX/XX/XXX” at the very beginning of the post, and I have seen Google increase the post rank after doing this. So this is a “trick” to get a small additional boost for cornerstone content created some time ago.

As far as making cornerstone content easy to find, for me, most traffic is coming from search and social media.

This means people are likely to land on my blog, and not focusing on navigating my menu structures. So what I have done is to position cornerstone articles prominently and permanently on the top of my blog page, in a “sticky” manner. Besides, you can easily include blog articles in your menu structure if that helps.

So in my case cornerstone content is easily left as blog entries instead of converting these articles to pages.

Article Quality as Well as Length Matters

The goal of cornerstone content is to serve your site visitor, not just to increase your rank.

It goes without saying that your cornerstone articles should be of great quality, communicate your value proposition, are easy to read, have lots of images, and be SEO optimized with all the tips and techniques we teach in our free SEO course for podcasters and bloggers.

But how do you define quality? Spare a thought as to what would make a really useful resource for your audience and topic, one that people would love to share on social media, are likely to bookmark or revisit as a reference from time to time. If you can manage to make your page or post so compelling that people bookmark and share, then you will have won half the battle.

So a 300-word quickie article will not cut it, and the likelihood is that your site visitors would be more impressed and bookmark a 5000-word manifesto. Which brings us to length.

You SEO veterans out there will be aware that article length matters to Google. Google attributes more importance to articles over 300 words in length. Another inflection point occurs at 700 words, and then again at 2000 words.

So when it comes to cornerstone content, longer articles still are even better, but they should definitely be over 2000 words.

cornerstone content rankingWe’ve seen cases where we ranked a client’s page to be #1 on Google within a week, using a specifically designed and optimized long-form article for the search term desired.

Google “customer experience podcast” for example, and you should see our client’s article in position #1: What we did is to create an article to summarize the experience and insights for the first 50 episodes of her podcast. We SEO optimized the article, and her fans and listeners loved it and shared the article widely, and within a few weeks, her post ranked on the top for the desired search term.

Writing Clearly: A Confession And Three Tips

Cornerstone content should be written clearly. I have a confession to make, I seem to have a hard time doing this. There are tools out there to provide a “readability score”, and I tend to get a failing grade quite often. English is not my first language, but that’s just an excuse. So if you are like me and tend to express yourself with complexity, here are some tips  and tools to help:

  1. Keep your paragraphs super short
  2. Break up content with frequent headings
  3. The Hemingway App is a wonderful online tool that evaluates your writing in real time and then starts marking your content progressive shades of red as it gets too complex. It will keep you writing with Hemingway-esque brevity. And punish you for using too many adverbs:)
  4. Grammarly is another writing tool that is useful for both advanced spell chack and grammar suggestions, however it does little in terms of simplification.

Some Cornerstone Content Ideas For Inspiration

I am sure you can come up with a ton of ideas for your blog, site or topic, but here are some cornerstone content ideas for you to consider and to help get you started.

A Definitive Resource Guide

A collection of curated external and internal links, resources, sites, video, podcasts, books etc. Describe each resource and do not just provide a list of links, but go into detail about why they are useful and in what scenario they lend value.

A Manifesto Post

A detailed explanation of your worldview, philosophy, approach to your topics, summarizing your truths and then going into detail explaining your position. These can be controversial in nature, which adds to the shareability.

A Research Results Post

Conducting your own primary research around a topic in your niche is one of the best ways to build blog content that gets attention. Go into details, include graphics and references.

Tutorial Post

Create a multi-part tutorial on a topic you know your audience would love, but which also represents your site’s topic well.

Crowd Sourced Influencer Post

Bring multiple influencers together to answer a single question in short form. When you get 10 influencers to give you 300 words each on a single topic – you’ve got a powerful blog post.

Podcast Episodes Roundup

If you have a podcast summarize the insights and best resources gathered in your last 50 episodes.

Internal Site Linking To Cornerstone Content

cornerstone-content-incoming-linksOnce you have created a piece of cornerstone content, it is time to identify all the other articles on your site that should link to it. One approach would be to go into a list of every article within your chosen category or to use a list of related tags.

However, there is a more effective method to identify content that Google already thinks is related: Using Google Internal Site Search.

Go to Google and search for your keyword or key phrase in the following format: (for multiple words making up a key phrase, place these in quotes as in my own example below)

site:mysite.com keyword

So on my site, for example, this is what it would look like for a piece of cornerstone content about podcast production

site:polymash.com "podcast production"

This will result in a list of articles Google already thinks are relevant to the topic. The last step is to modify each of these articles to link to your cornerstone content article from within the text.

It is important to note that links in the sidebar of through a footer widget do not carry as much weight as links from within these posts themselves, so find a paragraph with some text from where it makes sense to link to your cornerstone content article.

External Links to Related Content

Don’t think that cornerstone content should link only to your internal articles. Providing links to other authority sites is helpful to the reader, and establishes other resources to consider on your general topic.

However, I have one caveat: I usually provide external links near the bottom of my articles, because I want to encourage people to read my article first before jumping off somewhere else. This also helps reduce my bounce rate in the process, another SEO ranking factor.

Case in point: Here are some great external articles on Cornerstone Content:

  • Copyblogger: Cornerstone Content Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]
  • Yoast: Using cornerstone content to make your site rank
  • Rank Tree: What is Cornerstone Content?

The Landing Page Approach

Another useful way of thinking about structuring cornerstone content posts is to take a landing page approach.

This means removing menus, distracting sidebars, and adding a table of contents near the top. Of course, you still want to enable your visitor to find menus and navigation for the rest of your site, but this menu can occur on the bottom of your page (Also sometimes referred to “Upside Down Home Page”, one of the inbound design patterns we often talk about.)

Summary

Cornerstone content should attract visitors to easily find core information about you, your topic, service or industry. When done right, it will serve your visitors and help put your other content into context, while at the same time helping you rank for more difficult and competitive keywords.

Using these simple tips and tricks will ensure your cornerstone content is ready to go.

In the previous 4 posts of this series, we’ve talked about on-page SEO optimization. Today I’d like to focus on an often overlooked aspect of SEO.

If you’ve applied all the previous lessons of this series, then you will already have great content and a great headline for your post. And if you are promoting your content on social media, chances are that your post will organically appear in search result soon.

So what is the only remaining hurdle for people to actually click and visit your website to read your post?

The answer lies in your search result snippet, the way your content appears on Google. In other words, how click-worthy is your search result snippet? And there is more to this than meets the eye…

Search Results Visualization

What is a search result snippet?

Search Result Snippet Explanation GraphicThe answer is closely tied to search engine results pages (SERP):

  • A search engine results page (SERP) is the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query.
  • It consists of a list of items with titles, a reference to the full version, and a short description.
  • A “search result snippet” is how your post or podcast show notes page shows up as a single item on this list.

How do you ensure a great search result snippet?

Once again, Yoast to the rescue. The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is useful because it displays a “Search Result Snippet Preview”.

  • This allows you to change and edit the way the title and description of the post is displayed in the SERP snippet.
  • It also lets you change the title and description you would like to display in the search results.
  • In short, it lets you design what people will experience as they find your content in search results.

Why should you optimize the Search Result Snippet?

It is important to optimize the way your post shows up in search results. Google rewards well-designed search result snippets with increased ranking. Perhaps not by much, but it makes a slight difference. More important is this:

If your search result snippet looks unattractive, makes no sense, or the post title is too long, then users are much less likely to click. So a well designed search engine result snippet can increase clicks a lot.

Here is an example of a post before optimization, and the reasons it would be bad to leave it this way:

Search Result Snippet - A Bad Example

  • The post title is too long, and thus gets “cut off”, and Google had to add an ellipsis a the end.
  • The sentence below the title makes no sense and does not help the searcher identify what this post is about. This is because the meta description was not entered on Yoast, and so Google just displays the first words appearing in this post.
  • Some premium themes have shortcodes that appear in the SERP snippet, and this can be confusing.

Here is an optimized example

Search Result Snippet - A Good Example

Google rewards you for optimizing the appearance of search results snippets. Here is the same example as above, but this time with the post title length fixed, and with the correct meta description added.

  • As you can see, the content makes sense and will result in a higher percentage of clicks.

Additional tips to design a successful SERP snippet

You might think of ways to tease people with a hint of what they will learn reading your post.

  • To my eye, keeping it super short with a teaser is most effective.
  • One line is better than two.
  • Asking a question can be inviting readers to click.
  • Of course, your target keyword should still be present in the meta description.

What if you’re not using WordPress or Yoast SEO?

No problems, here are some great resources for you. They work with any blog platform.

Conclusion

Even if you are already writing great post and episode headlines, do not overlook the importance of designing your SERP snippets.

Given the time you spend writing content, especially if you follow our philosophy of podcasting as a content strategy, then it makes perfect sense to dedicate a few extra minutes to this. And while WordPress plugins (like Yoast) make it easy, there are alternative snippet visualizers.


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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.


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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. But still, good podcast episode titles are a major part of promoting any podcast.

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


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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 AdWords 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 of 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 for you.


FREE 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

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    Software & Tools
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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.

“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 2018 Podcasting Resources Guide: Launch and market your podcast

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

Where can we send your guide?


 

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).


I’d like to share the following FREE materials with you:

  • WebSite Re-design Checklist

    Optimized for inbound marketing, here is a check-list that you can use when first starting to plan a site-redesign

  • Marketing Automation Platform Price Comparison

    Each web re-design is an opportunity to consider how marketing automation can boost your site conversions and list generation. This price and platform comparison shows how affordable it is becoming.

  • Your Site Re-design Email Course

    Our completely free, completely non-technical site re-design email course. You will learn how to transform your site into a highly converting inbound content marketing hub.

design problems and solutions with our 3 part offer

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