It seems like podcasts are moving into the mainstream media category, considering that at least 90 million people (that is 30% of the population) of the United States listen to or watch a podcast once a month. And more non-podcast listeners are becoming aware, and most of them use Google to discover podcasts they might be interested in. Thus, having your own website and podcast SEO strategy should be to pof-mind when thinking about starting your own podcast.
Read on to see some initial SEO strategies that you should think about before getting started.
SEO Strategy for Podcasts Isn't That Much Different From Regular Blogging
Recently, Google announced that they would be ranking and showing up podcasts on Google searches. That was great news for all podcast creators, owners, and listeners. No one wants to have trouble finding their favorite podcasts.
And for several years, Google Search has been how the general population discovers new shows to listen to. So this assumes your own podcast should have a website.
1. Keyword Ready Your Title and Description
As with regular blogging, anything to do with SEO for podcasts has to include a keyword strategy. Ensure that your episode titles and your episode description are rich with relevant keywords. Don't stuff it with keywords, as Google despises that.
The best idea is to do some keyword research before you even record a podcast. Don't even start with the recording, until you know exactly what Google and your audience will love to hear about.
- There are many free and paid SEO research tools online
- Examples are Google Keyword Planner or Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool
2. Transcriptions of Your Podcasts
Transcripts make your podcast more visible to Google search. This is a difficult one because it can be so time-consuming to create transcriptions of all your episodes. Transcript quality varies greatly, and the AI based transcripts are still often not good enough to use in practice.
We use Rev.com for all our transcripts, and even though this is more expensive than automated transcripts, in the end it saves us hours of editing work as they are 99% accurate in spelling and punctuation.
But if you have the capacity or capability to clean up your AI transcripts, or have a virtual assistant, having transcriptions of your podcast episodes on your website is a great start to a podcast SEO strategy.
This way you can constantly convert your “show notes” into more authoritative articles for your podcast blog, which will ensure you stay in Google's good books.
Here are some tips when using transcripts on your blog:
- Don’t just “copy paste”.
- Make it readable by adding subheadings, quotes, and images. No one wants to read a wall of text.
- Add images, and consider that image optimization can help SEO.
- Ensure that transcriptions for your podcast you avoid the 'umms', 'ahs', and other pauses. Also, avoid any grammatical errors. No one wants to read a text filled with that.
- Save time: Use a transcript cleaning utility like “Text Soap”, which you can find in our podcasting resources guide, as it saves hours of formatting work. Automatically remove unwanted characters, fix messed up carriage returns, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
This is also a great way of getting at the auditory-impaired audience, who will be able to engage with your podcast even if they can't listen to it.
Feeling like you need more guidance with your podcast SEO strategy? Check out Polymash's SEO Saturdays, where you can apply to get your podcast episode titles or website SEO optimized.
3. Create Your Show Notes on Your Own Dedicated Podcast Website
Even though your podcasting platform probably provides you with an ad-hoc website, SEO for podcasts works best when you host your episodes and show notes on your own dedicated website.
Why would you do all this work, only to drive traffic to your podcast host’s site? That is considered “Digital Sharecropping”, a phrase coined by Nicholas Carr around Web 2.0…
“One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.”
Why Digital Sharecropping Is Bad For Your Content
Yes, your own website requires more work, but it means that you can style your website as you wish, putting your own branding, and personal touch into it. If you are considering building your own podcast website, the best platform for this is WordPress.
Over the period from 2011 to present date, WordPress has been the number 1 content management system used worldwide, and has grown at an astonishing rate. According to w3techs.com which uses the top 10 million most popular websites tracked by Alexa, WordPress is now the choice for 41.1% of website owners compared to 13.1% back in 2011.
WordPress Hosting Stats
The truth is that focusing on social media is a losing battle because it disappears so quickly. The better idea is to focus on constantly creating new content (Google loves that) by repurposing your podcast SEO strategy content to build your website.
4. Use Show Notes to Increase Backlinks
Backlinks are the backbone of Google SEO strategy. In fact, most websites don't end up getting any organic traffic because they lack backlinks. There are several ways to get backlinks. One way is to ask your guests to link to your show notes from their own blog, website or media pages.
Another passive way for you to get backlinks for your podcast is to create compelling episode mini descriptions that feature links to the full episode show notes article.
You can build backlinks to your podcast episode posts because many podcast listening apps support hyperlinks in the episode mini description.
Tips for getting the most backlinks:
- Think of the episode description as the short teaser, which then entices your audience to go to your show notes for the full article, list of resources, links mentioned in the episode.
- So keep it short, but include a single link to your website’s episode URL
- Don’t put all the links mentioned on your show into your short teaser. This makes it more likely that people will visit your website show notes article.
- Use PrettyLinks or other link shorteners to track visits. For example, use mypodcast.com/e21 as the short URL you mention on air. In addition to getting stats about how many people visit your site as a result of listening to your show, this also has the benefit of you being able to change the website URL later.
- Cross post your show notes Post on sites like Blogger and Medium.
5. Use Permalinks From Your Episode Hosts
When uploading your episode to your podcasting platform, you might have seen the option to add a custom permalink URL.
If you have a website for your podcast, then it's a great idea to use these custom permalink URLs.
- Many hosts support this, like Libsyn and Podbean. This can result in better backlinks to your own website, and social media shares of your episode will point to your own website.
- If using a custom permalink URL, just keep in mind a permalink should be unique for each individual episode, and should be a URL that will never change on your site.
Permalinks also ensure that when people share your episodes the shared content links to your episode, and not to a hosting platform like Anchor (who don’t support permalinks). This way you can direct people from content shared via the podcast RSS feed directly to your podcast website and get even more of your audience visiting and interacting with your website.
6. Use Content Briefs for Interview Shows
If you haven't heard of content briefs yet, then you are missing out on an podcast SEO strategy tool that can help you create quality content that your audience is looking for.
Content briefs allow you to create content systematically by going deeper. It uses AI to examine the top listing for the subject you are writing or podcasting about, and then produces content suggestions for you to consider.
You can even prepare for guest interviews by doing comprehensive coverage of the episode subject you are planning, based on the most relevant questions being asked online.
You will never run out of things to chat about, and you will actually talk about things that your audience is genuinely concerned about. A win-win situation!
Want to learn more about how to design interview episodes with SEO in mind? Check out this article by Polymash.
Podcast SEO Strategy Is Easy if You Go Slow and Steady
Remember that a podcast SEO strategy is built up over time. You don't need to do it all today.
You can take some of the pressure off of your podcasting shoulders, and focus on building great audio content for your audiences.
If you are interested in enhancing your podcast SEO skills, consider attending our Polymash SEO Marketing course. It's filled with all the learning you might need to build a successful podcast SEO strategy.
Feel like you could do with a few more SEO tools? Have no fear. Polymash has you covered with Polymash's Tools Stack – tools we promote, endorse, and use!