Google has been indexing and trying to understand audio content since mid-2019, which has marked a new territory for podcasts. In this guide we outline the best practice for Organic Search and podcast content.
Choosing A Platform
One of the biggest and hardest decisions will be which podcast hosting platform to use.
The top four that Algorithm has encountered are as follows:
Q. Why do you need to use a platform? Why not just host the files on your own server?
Two key reasons:
1. Server load and responsive user experience
2. Integration into the various podcast platforms **
** The major podcast platforms ( Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, & Spotify) typically collect podcast material from podcast hosting platforms via RSS feeds, which requires you to submit or provide the podcast files to those platforms. A good podcast hosting platform will make syndication of content to these services as seamless as possible.
In our experience, Castos has the best and most documented platform connections.
Castos – Podcast Directory Information
Castos – Pricing
The Growth package is priced at USD49 per month up to 20,000 downloads a month. The Pro package is USD99 per month up to 200,00 downloads per month.
Note: There are plenty of other platforms and opinions as to which platform is the best. We do not have a strong preference towards Castos, we just have more experience and the platform has better documentation (online) on how to use and leverage the platform’s features.
Content Best Practice
It is essential to host a dedicated page on your own website for every podcast episode for SEO purposes.
The podcast must not just sit in the platforms themselves.
Basic SEO Principles
– Firstly identify the target keywords, for your audience for the chosen podcast topic
– Create a unique page title
– Create SEO-friendly URL
– Include a relevant meta description
– Include heading tags (H1, H2, H3)
– Ensure the page has social sharing features
– Ensure the page is mobile-friendly and quick to load
Specific SEO Considerations for Podcasts
In addition to the usual SEO best practices there are a few specific considerations to follow:
Include Show Notes
Show notes are a short summary of the podcast episode (250 – 300 words). These should be a brief summary in short form (snackable scanning style content), so the use of quick intros and bullet-point style content is recommended. Avoid giving too much specific content away, rather focus on highlights and key takeouts giving people the headlines of what the episode is about and why they should listen/care.
This is the word-by-word transcript of the full episode. Make sure this is also viewable and readable on your podcast episode website page. Note: some of the podcast hosting platforms have an auto-generated option for producing transcripts of your uploaded podcasts.
When it comes to planning transcripts and topics remember to use some of the following tactics to help entice users’ interest:
“Have you ever tried/done/experienced (X)”
“What other advice/insight would you give on (topic)?”
“Check out the (XYZ resource) that we talked about in the show”
“If you want to learn more about (topic), check out (link to service page).”
Point Out Relevant Content With Clickable Timestamps
Timestamps connect your audience with the content they will find most valuable, saving them the hassle of searching through your episode themselves.
You can optimise timestamps with keywords, link out to other content, including guest names, where relevant and appropriate.
Sample of a podcast page timestamp
Rich Mark Up – Schema
Apply PodcastSeries and PodcastEpisode schema to your pages:
Links to Major Platforms / Publishers
On the podcast episode pages on your website, also remember to link out to the common platforms that people use to listen to podcasts. i.e. link directly to the platform and the episode itself, so that users can quickly link to their preferred platform (or player) to listen or save your podcast episode. Definitely make sure you link to the episode on the big three (Google, Apple, Spotify) as a minimum.
Claim Your Podcast : Google Podcasts Manager
Make sure you have verified yourself with Google Podcasts Manager.
Verifying involves the following steps:
– Log in with your Google Account (or create one)
– Enter your podcast RSS feed URL
– Preview your feed to make sure the episodes and artwork are pulling through correctly.
– Google will then send you a code to the email address associated with your RSS feed
– Enter the code and verify ownership
Once you have verified yourself, Google will index your feed and make it discoverable.
Social Media Sharing & Support
Social media has an ‘indirect effect’ on your podcast SEO because it generates social proof or word-of-mouth recommendations. If people are engaging with your social media accounts, sharing your content, leaving reviews and linking out to your episodes, Google will take notice of this popularity.
Make sure that you are linking to the podcast “directory” page from your homepage or site footer or header navigation. This will help search engines understand that they are important pages within your website.
Apple can often block or delist your podcast content from its “directory” if episode titles and description contain extraneous content. Unfortunately, Apple can be a bit vague on what information they consider to be extraneous. Most people posting about the issue, say to void separator characters like “|” and “–,” keep anything descriptive in the description, rather than in the episode title.
If you need help or advice on any aspects of your SEO strategy or execution, contact a member of the Algorithm team.
Author : Simon Lloyd