Podcast SEO – The Ultimate Guide to Grow your Podcast

May 27, 2020

One of the top priorities when running your podcast is making it easily discoverable both on Podcast platforms, and on search engines. While we use the term Podcast SEO (Search Engine Optimization) we will really explore two different topics in this article:

  1. First, your podcast website’s SEO performance on search engines across the Internet.
  2. And second, optimizing your podcast to properly appear on the podcast platforms (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the likes). This would help ranking your podcast on podcast directories and increase your podcast’s discoverability.

Let’s dive right into our first topic – podcast website SEO.

SEO for your podcast website

In a previous article, we already covered the main reasons why you really need to create a website for your podcast. It’s not only important to have a website to offer more types of contents to your audience. It would also allow you to take control of your brand, help spread the word in a better way, and get organic traffic to your site from search engines.

If your podcast “lives” only on the open platforms (podcast apps or directories, social media etc.) – you are not in control of your brand and audience.

When someone Googles the name of your podcast, they would better find your site at the #1 position rather than a result in a platform or website you don’t own. This all sounds nice and easy, of course, but two questions that come up are –

  1. What is the best & fastest way to create a podcast website? (regardless of if you have experience with creating websites or not)
  2. How can users find your website once it’s published? Or in other words – What should I do to have great podcast website SEO?

Luckily, we’ve created an all-in-one platform that solves both of the above questions – Podcastpage.io. Our platform would help you to easily create a podcast website in minutes, but also comes with built-in Podcast SEO tools, so your site and podcast can start growing from day one.

Now that you’ve created your website, you must wonder what it takes to make it optimized for Podcast SEO. You would want to ensure people from around the world can easily find your site through search engines.
Just like any other website, SEO is very important, but podcast websites require a few extra steps you would want to cover.

Podcast meta tags

Podcast Website SEO Checklist

We’ve gathered a list of the most important podcast website SEO features you should consider –

1. Register your own domain

Having your own domain is the very first step of doing any type of SEO work. Without a custom domain, you’re just contributing to another brand’s domain ranking, so it’s important set up your own domain to get started with SEO.

2. A full podcast website – with custom pages and episode pages

Having a free/basic dynamically-created website for your podcast may sound like a good idea at first, but it’s the worst you can do for your podcast website SEO.
Many of these “Mini-Sites” do not include the possibility to create custom pages, or even standalone episode pages. Some of these sites would also force you to use another brand’s domain (Like Anchor or Libsyn).

Each and every page you create would help you rank better on search engines, and if you have many episodes, their SEO “value” can really boost up your position on Google or other search engines. Having separate episode pages with a proper title (in the URL too), and with content / show-notes / transcripts would really mean users could stumble upon some specific episodes directly from search engines.

If your podcast website also includes a blog and custom pages (like we do at Podcastpage.io), writing quality content regularly is something that can help bringing steady organic traffic and improve your site’s ranking on search engines.

3. Fine tune the “Technical SEO” requirements

While “Technical SEO” doesn’t mean much for the average person, it means a lot to Google and you don’t want to mess around with that. If you want to learn in-depth about technical SEO, check out this resource by Moz.
In the list below, you’ll find a list of technical SEO requirements that your website would typically need (needless to say, all are implemented by default when using Podcastpage.io)

  • SSL – Make sure your website is properly using SSL – or in other words – https:// rather than http:// – Nowadays websites without SSL often show security warnings, depending on the browser you are using.
  • Responsive websites – While your website looks great on large desktop screens, it must also be accessible and optimized for mobile browsers. Google and other search engines mentioned they tend to look at websites with a “Mobile First” approach.
  • Page speed – Search engines would always prefer websites that are loading relatively quickly, and hence it’s an important ranking signal.
  • Well formatted HTML – It’s important that your site’s code is clean and well structured. It’s considered a best practice to only have one H1 heading per page. Additionally, it is important to avoid excessive code or duplicate content.
  • Technical Meta Tags – Some meta tags that go into your site’s <head> section are more important than others. For example, the “Viewport” tag can help browsers determine the proper layout of your site. The “Canonical” tag is important to show search engines where the original piece of content is coming from. Lastly, don’t forget to add “alt” tags for your images. Google would not really account for those images otherwise.
  • Structured data (Schema) markup – Structured data markup is important as it determines how your website looks when you search for your podcast on search engines. You can also test how your site appears on Search Engines with this testing tool by Google.
    As you can see in the example below, the podcast’s site/homepage shows the title, description, and the different episodes (more on that later) –
podcast SEO

When searching further, you’ll find results of singular episodes as well, and the episode URLs can display the different episodes in custom pages:

podcast episode search appearance

4. Connect your site to the Google Analytics and Google Search Console platforms

Both of these tools are extremely important free tools that help you understand SEO and see how your site performs on Google search. With the Google Search Console, you can learn which keywords are bringing you the most traffic, fix any validation/crawling errors, and more. Google Analytics helps you understand your site’s traffic, identify which sources are performing the best, or which pages on your site are the most popular.

5. Write custom meta descriptions for your site’s pages

With multiple custom pages, episodes pages, a blog and what not – your podcast site would soon become full of content. It is important to add custom meta descriptions for each of those URLs, so that Google displays better info on the search results, and eventually also rank your website better as search engines tend to take those descriptions into account.
It’s really key that your meta titles/taglines and descriptions are well written and relevant to the content that appears in each of those URLs. You can also add your site icon (Favicon) to make it look more unique and appealing among the search results.

6. Podcast-specific requirements for better SEO

It is crucial for podcast SEO to add one “Alternate” link on the podcast’s homepage that includes your podcast’s RSS feed. This is required for getting your podcast on Google Podcasts.

This link should be added into your websites <head> section as follows –

<link type="application/rss+xml" rel="alternate" title="Podcast_Title_Value" href="RSS_FEED_URL"/>

You can read more about it here. You cannot add more than one “alternate” link to one page, so make sure you only add it once.

Beyond adding your podcast to Google Podcasts, it would also display the enhanced search results with your podcast episodes like we’ve mentioned before:

Podcast SEO - Google Podcasts

7. Optimize appearance when sharing your site on social media

When you (or anyone else) share your podcast website on social media, you will definitely want to display the shared card content properly. This generally applies for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, but can also work on other networks as well or when sharing through apps like WhatsApp or Telegram –

social sharing preview

You can use a tool like Social Share Preview to ensure your titles, descriptions and images all show up properly. This is something you would typically do manually or by installing some extension, but rest assured that we’ve covered it on Podcastpage.io and you can easily share your sites from day one.

8. Backlinks to your site

Google values backlinks from other websites to your own site. You would be ranked higher when you have multiple backlinks from high-ranking websites relevant to your topic. With that said, this is one requirement you cannot really control by yourself. It’s important that the backlinks are genuine and coming from credible sources.

Two strategies you could use to tackle this are either writing guest blog posts on relevant external blogs or sites, or join as a guest on other podcasts and hope they would then link to your podcast website from their own website.

At the end of the day, if your podcast and content is unique, interesting, and well-built, you will get organic backlinks from people sharing your site, so just remember to focus on keeping the quality of your content as high as possible.


Podcast SEO for podcasting platforms

Now that you have optimized your podcast website for SEO, you can also re-think how your podcast appears on all platforms (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher etc.). Needless to say, ranking high on search engines would definitely help you gain traction and listeners, but it doesn’t automatically mean you would rank high on podcast directories like Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes)

With more than 1 million podcasts, you need to make it easy for people to find your podcast on the podcasting platforms/directories. In the next section, we’ll review the different requirements and provide a few recommendations to help you rank better on those podcast platforms.

Properly handling the below recommendations could potentially boost your podcast website’s SEO as well, since the two are deeply interconnected.

Checklist for podcast platforms optimization

We’ve created a short checklist you should use when creating or editing your podcast and submitting it to the popular podcast platforms / directories –

1. Don’t underestimate the name of your podcast

Choosing a name for your podcast is more important than you may think. On one hand, it should be short and catchy. Long names or overly complex titles are not the best when people are trying to search or share your podcast. On the other hand, if the name is too generic or not unique enough, it could also be hard to find.
For example, if your podcast is around coffee, and you name your podcast just “Coffee” it would be a short name, but perhaps hard to remember, since it’s a so generic, and even harder to find (go ahead and search “Coffee” on Google, not sure a podcast would appear on the first few pages).

You should try to find a name that relates to the topic of your podcast, but also make it catchy and unique. You can come up with alternative names like “Cold Brew”, “Specialty Coffee Pod”, “Homemade Espresso”, “The Daily Grind” and many more. (well, if your podcast is about coffee, of course.)

2. Put some thought on your episode titles

Your episodes should each have a unique title that tells something about the content of episode itself. A good title would include some of the keywords you would discuss in the episode. Don’t simply use the episode number and throw an additional word or two, but make sure the episode names are well thought and structured.

If you are interviewing a guest or a few guests on the episode, you can include their names and their company (“Mr. Beans from Coffee Corp.”) and when we couple this with the actual episode name, it can result in a great title, for example –
Episode 211: Brewing Espresso at home with Mr. Beans from The Coffee Corp.

Let’s break down the above example – we included the episode number (which can also be appended automatically on some platforms), a few keywords regarding the content that we would share within the episode itself (“Brewing Espresso at home”), and the name of the guest(s) plus their background or company information.

3. Meta info is important

Some podcasting platforms would let you add tags or categories to your show, and also to the episodes. Adding the right tags or categories could help your podcast become more accessible on podcast directories when people filter by category or use one of your tags in their search.

4. Add a separate artwork image to each episode, and a main one for the podcast

podcast artwork

Adding a beautiful artwork to your show is important. It’s the first thing people usually see, even before reading the actual title of your podcast.
Some podcasters prefer to include text within the artwork and some don’t, but the key is to have great podcast artwork images. It helps separating your podcast from the pack, and really make a statement on the podcast’s content and quality – you will probably scroll away if you see a very poorly designed artwork.

Beyond the main podcast artwork, you may want to add a separate image to each one of your episodes. This can be a lot of work, of course, but instead of having all episodes with the same image you use for the show itself, different images that are carefully designed could attract listeners as well and look better when you display a list of all your episodes on every podcast app or on your podcast website.

5. Add transcripts and/or show notes to all episodes

Adding proper show notes to your podcast episodes should be one of your top priorities. The show notes are not only read by your audience, but can help boost your placement in search results for a certain topic, and can have a massive impact on your podcast website’s SEO too.

There are several great techniques for writing show notes. We really like the ones Colin Gray writes in his blog. Providing minimal show notes would hurt your podcast, but long ones are hard to sustain so you really need to find your own balance. If you release your episodes very frequently or if they are very long, you may have much work ahead.

Write well structured show notes, with an overview of the topics discussed in the episode. You can also add links to any external resources mentioned during the show. Adding some extra general information as you find relevant is also recommended. (like elaborating on a specific subject or writing a short bio on one of your guests)

Providing full episode transcripts can be very helpful, both for SEO purposes and for your audience, but can require a lot of work. Luckily, there are a few services that could manually write the transcripts for you for a small fee, and some services that use “Artificial Intelligence” (or simply “speech-to-text“) instead.

A combination of show-notes + transcripts could be perfect, if you’re up for the challenge!

6. Encourage listeners to submit reviews

Many podcast platforms have a built-in review system in place. Some also use aggregators for displaying the reviews, like reviews from Podchaser. These reviews can also boost your ranking on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or the other platforms, so try to encourage your audience to write a review if possible.

Don’t beg for reviews or talk about it for too long during your episodes, as users won’t tolerate it, in most cases. You can simply mention this on your show, website, or social media from time to time and ensure your podcast is well reviewed.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve reviewed two types of Podcast SEO you should keep track of:

  • Podcast website SEO – The first topic covers the nuts and bolts of your podcast website’s SEO plan.
    If you have a podcast website, you should really take SEO seriously and work to implement some of the above suggestions. It’s important that your podcast website uses SEO to leverage the podcast’s content and appear beautifully on searches, social shares, and more.
    If you need a solution for your own podcast website, check Podcastpage.io. All of the recommendations written above are already built-in directly into our platform.
  • Podcast platform/directory ranking optimization – Do you think your podcast is in the hands of the platform/directory gods to rank high on Apple Podcasts or Spotify? Think again. With the right planning, research & content, your podcast could get to new heights and succeed in each and every platform.

Regardless of how successful your podcast is, there is no replacement for having quality content. You can create thousands of poorly edited or structured episode, but it’s much better to put your efforts on quality first. This should be your top priority before diving into SEO or any other technical aspect of podcasting. Quality content always comes first.

If you put the work and create great content, you would eventually get noticed. The tips in the above article could help you grow and promote your podcast even further!