If you’re making an awesome podcast and putting it out into the world, you obviously want people to tune in and join your community of loyal listeners. But in order for that to happen, you need to do all you can to help them find your show.
Enter Search Engine Optimization. (Okay, that’s a mouthful — let’s go with “SEO” for short.)
For marketers and content creators the world over, SEO is an important part of a well-rounded strategy to be found by readers, viewers and listeners. As a podcaster, growing your podcast through SEO means you need to consider and refine certain key elements of your show.
In this post, we’ll cover a quick definition of SEO, as well as the ways you can set up your podcast for success through your episode names, show title, and show notes and transcripts. (You can also head over to our YouTube channel to watch Maribel Quezada Smith’s walkthrough on this topic.)
What is SEO for podcasting?
We’ve already covered what our small-but-significant acronym stands for, but SEO is the process of improving your website for search engines. The steps you take in support of SEO improve the quantity and the quality of visits to your site — which, for podcasters, often turn into new listeners.
Pro tip: If your podcast doesn’t already have a website, be sure to check out our video on why you should seriously consider it.
You might be wondering if there are podcasting-specific SEO strategies, and the answer is kind of.
The fundamentals of good SEO are relatively standard across the board (i.e., using what people are already looking for to help them find you). But a podcast has several core elements that you’ll want to focus on when strengthening your SEO. Let’s dive into each of them now.
Naming your podcast episodes (with SEO in mind)
Are your episode titles keeping listeners from finding you? Let’s take a look.
Before you record: For upcoming and future episodes, we recommend starting with a keyword tool like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest for topic selection.
Prior to pressing the record button, you should conduct research to identify trending topics within your niche and find episode topic ideas. More importantly, people are searching for those topics, which means your episodes about them are more likely to be found.
If you already have a set topic for your season or a mini-series on the show, this tip may not apply right now. But if you have the flexibility to optimize and adjust, do!
After you record: Once your podcast conversation has ended, it’s time to pick the optimal episode name. Use your research from beforehand to pick the keywords related to your topic to include in the title of the episode.
With some quick, creative Google searching of the episode topic, you can track down what people type in to learn more about the topic, and suit the name to what the people want.
Pro tip: Another great tool for keyword research is AnswerThePublic, which can help you identify some of the most popular search terms for your topic.
What’s in a (podcast) name?
One of the major SEO challenges podcasters face is the title of their podcast. Unfortunately, if you’ve already been podcasting for a while, this isn’t an easy fix — short of a total brand refresh — because the name of your show is how listeners know you.
(Psst! If your existing show name is an SEO struggle and you’re not up for a total rebrand, head on down to the Show Notes and Transcripts section for tips to gain traction in other ways!)
For those who are starting out in the podcasting world (or building up to a new show), do yourself and your would-be audience a favor: pick a podcast name that matches your show’s topic(s). Picking a random or catchy name without substance will make it much more difficult for listeners to find your show.
“Ashley’s Thoughts About Life and Love” may, in fact, be a fitting name for such a podcast. But the name doesn’t contain anything specific or searchable enough to help people find the show. Plus, words like “life” and “love” are so common that they lack SEO staying power.
Instead, get specific with your title based on the topics you cover on the show. If you can relate it to your own experiences, even better.
If our previously-mentioned Ashley is recently single, a title like “Living and Loving the Single Life” would match the show and be much more likely to be found by interested listeners.
Can’t-miss components of your podcast and how to optimize them
Now that we’ve covered the naming conventions you need to succeed, let’s talk about some of your most powerful podcasting SEO tools: show notes and transcripts.
Show notes are an important way to summarize your episode, both to entice people to listen and to offer other ways to engage with you and your podcast guest.
While there’s some debate about how long show notes should be (especially for SEO), you should ultimately write show notes that are as long as you need — and no longer. What’s more important than show notes length is including the phrases and keywords you want to rank for.
Show notes for a podcast about marine biology that focuses on dolphins and ocean conservation should be full of similar terms to the target topics, if not those exact keywords. Strive for a balance: Repeat the target keywords without sounding repetitive or forced.
Focus on creating show notes for your audience. Ask yourself what they’ll most enjoy reading: huge blocks of text, or something more thought-out and digestible? Craft three to five bullet points overviewing what they’ll learn from the episode — without giving away everything. (You still want them to listen, after all!)
End with what you want them to do next: a tangible takeaway or call to action. And don’t forget to use your keywords throughout!
Podcast transcripts are an excellent SEO tool because they ensure that, at a minimum, all of the content in your podcast episode is available online in a written form. The presence of your keywords in a transcript format is sure to give you a boost.
You should post the transcripts for each episode of your podcast online, not only because it helps more listeners find you but because it increases the accessibility of your show. Transcripts make your show easier for deaf or hard-of-hearing folks to enjoy.
Ready to further optimize your transcripts? Turn them into blog posts.
The transcript itself should provide the full experience of your podcast for those who can’t listen to it. But a written, polished piece of content is a distinct creative piece, meant to be consumed differently than the podcast.
Blog posts help you further promote your podcast, and sharing them expands your reach on other channels. (Now sure where to start? Services like PodReacher are a great resource to help you repurpose your podcast into incredible content.)
So, what’s next?
If you’ve carefully thought through all of the above, you’re well on your way to a better SEO strategy for your show and ensuring your podcast shows up strong via search.
One last tip, though: If your podcast hosting provider gives you a website for your podcast, great. But don’t stop there. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — create your own website for your podcast.
Your website will most likely offer a better user experience than your podcast provider’s and serves as a great go-to place to send visitors. Plus, you’ll improve SEO for your podcast overall with two websites instead of one and take up more of the search results real estate.
U2 may not have found what they’re looking for, but with these simple SEO steps in place, your future listeners sure will.
Based in Dayton, Ohio, Amanda Jackson is a tech writer who moonlights as a painter, baker, and movie buff. This content was produced collaboratively with PodReacher.