With approximately 48 million people listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, and 16 million people in the US who consider themselves to be “avid podcast fans,” finding your audience should be easy, right? Not quite. Considering that there are over 525,000 active shows, your audience might need some help finding you.
Because there’s so much competition, no matter how engaging, relevant, high-quality, or entertaining your show is, it might get overlooked. If your competitors have a higher search ranking your potential listener may subscribe to their podcasts without even knowing that you podcast exist! If you want to draw in listeners to your show, you need to spend some time on search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (or SEO if you’re in a rush) refers to the process of improving online visibility in a search engine (for the most part when people talk about SEO, they’re talking about Google). The higher your show ranks on search engines like Google or on podcast directories like iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, and Player.fm, the more people will notice and check out your podcast. Boosting your SEO is one of the best ways to gain new listeners and make sure your podcast stays competitive.
If you want to reach a wider audience and help more people find your show, here are a few tips that will help build your SEO:
Choose Your Podcast Name Strategically
If you want to optimize your podcast, you need to make sure that your podcasts title is simple and relevant. If your target audience searches for the main topic of your podcast, your podcast should show up. You should definitely also avoid similar names, especially if they’re in the same category as your show.
In addition to referencing the topic of your podcast, optimally, your title should include a keyword or two that appeals to your target audience. In the same way, the title of each of your episodes should include a keyword that will draw listeners who are interested in that episode’s topic.
Adjust the name of your podcast and episode titles accordingly, and you will improve your search results ranking right away. Podcast search engine optimization is similar to website search engine optimization in that both require you to use keywords to attract a wider audience. Of course, sometimes we have to make sacrifices, and if you’re taking literary licenses with your podcast name, you can lean on other ways to optimize.
Ask for Reviews
If your podcast has a lot of positive reviews, it has a greater chance of being promoted or ranking higher on podcast directories. Without being overbearing, ask your listeners to leave a review of your podcast. As long as you are producing engaging content that your listeners enjoy, you should have no problem getting great reviews from your audience that will help with SEO.
Include Transcripts and Show Notes
Google can’t listen to your podcast (yet! Who knows what the future holds?), but it can scan your show notes and transcripts for keywords you’d like the rank for, relevant guest names, and other information. (You’re including transcripts, right? Good.)
If at all possible, you should include tags for each episode of your podcast. This will help your podcast appear when people search for a specific topic, style, or genre. This is especially important if your podcast covers more than one subject or theme. Make sure you include tags that are broad and tags that are specific in order to give your podcast the greatest chance of showing up in your target audience members’ searches.
Create a Website for Your Podcast
Creating a website for your podcast is one of the best steps you can take to increase your SEO. Google ranks pages on a variety of factors, but one of them is backlinks. A backlink is a link on someone else’s page that points to your page. If your podcast is getting lots of flattering press, a website will give you a place to have those backlinks pointed at, and another opportunity for your show to appear in Google rankings.
Link to Your Podcast
Linking to your podcast on your social media posts can help increase your SEO. People who listen to podcasts are 13% more active on every social media channel than individuals who do not listen to podcasts, and 94% of podcast listeners are active on at least one social media platform. If you do not plug your podcast on your social media accounts, chances are you are missing opportunities to advertise your show to podcast listeners that are unaware of your show’s existence.
Create High-Quality Content
Many podcast directories will rank your podcast based on the number of subscribers or plays your show receives. There’s no way to hack this: the best way to gain new subscribers and keep old subscribers is to provide high-quality content. Your audience should feel as though the information or entertainment your podcast provides is valuable and relevant. That’s it!