One of the top priorities when running your podcast is making it easily discoverable both on Podcast platforms, and on search engines. No one wants to get 0 downloads after all the hard work involved in planning, producing, recording and editing a podcast. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most powerful ways you can make your podcast more sustainable and reach a wider audience. While we often use the term Podcast SEO we will really explore two different topics around it in this article:
- First, your podcast website’s SEO performance on search engines across the Internet.
- And second, optimizing your podcast to properly appear on the popular podcast platforms (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and the likes). This would help ranking your podcast higher on podcast directories and increase your podcast’s discoverability.
Let’s dive right into our first topic – your podcast website SEO.
1. SEO for your podcast website
In a previous article, we 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, increase your podcast’s legitimacy, and help spread the word in a better way. Most importantly, you’ll eventually be able to get direct organic traffic (from SEO) to your website from search engines like Google, Bing and others.
If your podcast is only available 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 top position rather than a result in a platform or website you don’t own. Having your website rank at (or near) the top is important for many reasons, and you don’t want to “give credit” to 3rd party platforms that are distributing your podcast. This all sounds nice and easy, of course, but a few questions may come up –
- What is the best & fastest way to create a podcast website? (regardless of if you have experience with creating websites or not)
- How can users find your website once it’s published? Or in other words – What should I do to have great podcast website SEO?
- What do people see when you share your podcast URL on social media?
Luckily, we’ve created an all-in-one website platform that solves all 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. SEO has both “technical” and content-related aspects. The technical aspect is something we do for you under the hood. It’s how your website’s code is optimized for SEO:
The “Content” side of things is yours to control – once your content is fully imported and available on your website, it can start to get indexed and ranked by search engines. The most important thing to keep in mind here – The better content you have (and more of it), the higher the chances you’ll see traffic from organic sources.
You can’t expect people to land on a website with little or no content. Keep in mind that if all your content is a “duplicate” (like your episode show notes that also appear on platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify), you may not get too much traffic. The key ideas here are:
a) Mark your content as the “source of truth”, so search engines know that the podcast website is the initial authority that publishes and own the content.
b) Publish additional types of content like a blog, custom pages, podcast transcripts or enhanced show notes only available on the website.
Podcast Website SEO Checklist – by Podcastpage.io
We’ve put together a list of the most important podcast website SEO features and tasks you should implement to improve your own website’s SEO score –
1. Register your own domain
Having your own custom domain or URL is the very first step of doing any type of SEO work. When you think of SEO, it’s always about promoting your entire domain’s ranking and not really for just one specific page. Without a custom domain, you’re just contributing to another brand’s domain ranking, and you don’t “own” the traffic so it’s very important set up your own domain if your’e serious about SEO.
2. A full podcast website – with custom pages and episode pages
Having a free/basic dynamically-created website (or mini-site) for your podcast is not a good idea. It’s actually 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). Your SEO reach would be super limited without a proper website, let alone a custom domain.
Each and every page you create can eventually 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 (these are easily available with Podcastpage.io), publishing 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 great resource by Moz.
In the list below, you’ll find a list of technical SEO requirements that your website would typically require to grow its SEO ranking and traffic:
(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) –
When searching further, you’ll find results of singular episodes as well. The episode URLs can display the different episodes in custom pages:
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 all your site’s pages
With multiple custom pages, episodes pages, a blog and whatnot – 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.
On Podcastpage, you can write a “default” site tagline (title) and description so it can always fall back to those. It’s also easy to generate custom SEO titles and descriptions for any entry (like blog posts, pages or episodes). Lastly, you can also add your site icon (Favicon) to make it look more unique and appealing among the search results. (Check out the “General -> Meta & SEO” page in your dashboard)
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 key 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:
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, iMessage or Telegram –
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.
It’s key to support these “Open Graph” tags and other social sharing metadata tags to make sure your website looks beautiful everywhere. When you share your website URL, a “preview” of your website could instantly appear. It’s key to make this preview attractive and well-structured so people would be informed on what they’re about to see and encouraged to click your links. At Podcastpage, we support this on all pages. We even support two different structures whenever you share an episode (specifically on Twitter):
First, there’s the “Audio Player Card” that’ll display a built-in play button directly on Twitter when you share your episode links:
Then, there’s the “Large Image Card” you can use to display a larger image preview for your podcast when sharing on Twitter:
8. Backlinks to your site
Even if you have the most wonderful and well structured content in the world, your website still needs to build “authority”. One of the best ways to achieve that is by building backlinks (inbound links) from other websites to your owns.
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.
For podcasters, one easy way is to include your website URL in the RSS feed and (as the <link> tag for the show and episodes) and also via your episode show notes or social profiles.
This sums up everything you need to get your podcast website SEO game started. Once you build a podcast website, publish content regularly, structure the technical SEO side of things (done automatically if you use Podcastpage), and built domain authority – you should most definitely start seeing organic SEO traffic on your website. Next, we’ll cover the on-platform SEO you can do to improve your podcast ranking on popular directories.
2. Podcast SEO for podcasting platforms
Now that you have optimized your podcast website for SEO, you’ve made the most important step. That said, it comes hand-in-hand with the on-platform optimization efforts you can do. By “on-platform”, we mean how your podcast appears on all distribution 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 also rank high on podcast directories like Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes) or Spotify.
Here, more than anywhere else, first impression is super important. People often browse through hundreds of shows/episodes, so making yours appeal and pop-out the most is key.
With millions of published 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 can help boost your podcast website’s SEO as well, since the two are deeply interconnected. (Note – While the term “SEO” may be a little inappropriate here, since platforms are not search engines, we use the same term as it’s highly relevant for the search part of things).
Checklist for podcast platform optimization
We’ve created a thorough checklist you should consider when creating or editing your podcast, releasing episodes and submitting those on 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. Perfect your podcast description / summary
When you create your podcast, you’re prompted to fill in a description with general information about the show. This podcast description is used to index your podcast on the platform search results, but also available to the end-user when checking your podcast page on any of these platforms. Usually a short summary can go a long way, but you can always perfect it and add more info, links etc.
3. 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. 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). Then we added a few keywords regarding the content that we share within the episode itself (“Brewing Espresso at home”). And lastly, the name of the guest(s) plus their background or company information.
4. Meta info is important
Some podcast hosting platforms would let you add tags or categories to your show, and also to the episodes. These tags available inside your feed may seem not too important, but it can really affect your rankings. Adding the right tags, keywords or categories could help your podcast become more accessible on podcast directories. Especially when people filter by category or use one of your tags in their search.
5. Add a separate artwork image to each episode, and a main one for the podcast
Adding a beautiful podcast 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. The key here 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. 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.
6. 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. These can also help boost your placement in search results for a certain topic. They 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 no or minimal show notes would hurt your podcast. That said, long descriptions are harder to write 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 great. (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. Doing this manually can require a lot of work. Luckily, there are a few services that could write transcripts for you for a small fee. Some platforms do it by hand while others are using automated (“AI”) based solutions.
A combination of show-notes + transcripts is perfect, if you’re up for the challenge!
7. 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. 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. Many listeners won’t tolerate it. You can simply mention this on your show, website, or social media. Hopefully over time you’ll get more reviews for your show.
If you get reviews on Apple Podcasts or Podchaser, Podcastpage can automatically import it for you. We also support custom review submissions that would be available directly on your website.
In this article, we’ve reviewed two types of Podcast SEO. You should always keep these two in mind to improve to grow your podcast:
- Podcast website SEO – The first topic covers the nuts and bolts of your podcast website’s SEO plan.
If you have a podcast website, consider 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. It’ll also display more 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 your best to rank higher on Apple Podcasts or Spotify? 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. Don’t create thousands of poorly edited or structured episode. It’s much better to put all 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. Once your content is available on your podcast website, it’s time to start optimizing it. Take advantage of the power of SEO and start growing your show.
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!