Creating a podcast SEO checklist is mandatory if you want to drive traffic to your podcast via organic search.
You may ask: Why podcast SEO is so important?
Well, podcast popularity is growing at a staggering rate. Around 32 percent of the Americans listened to podcasts monthly in 2019, a growth of 26 percent since 2018.
If we talk about SEO, 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine – Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Further, SEO can drive an impressive 14.6 percent average conversion rate, whereas print ads and direct mail generate a meager 1.7 percent average conversion rate.
Now imagine the impact on your business when you combine both of them – podcasting and SEO.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any previous experience with podcast SEO. Here I have compiled a checklist of podcast SEO strategies that you can implement right away.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
- Point #1: Begin with Keyword Research
- Point #2: Work on the Episodes Headlines
- Point #3: Write an SEO-friendly Episode Description
- Point #4: Submit Podcast to Google Podcasts
- Point #5: Optimize for Mobile
- Point #6: Create a Landing Page for Podcast
- Point #7: Optimize Podcast Page for On-Page SEO
- Point #8: Follow Off-Page SEO Practices
- Point #9: Prepare Social Media Marketing Plan
- Point #10: Start Building Email List
- Point #11: Collaborate with Influencers
- Point #12: Build Backlinks to your Podcast Page
- Point #13: Focus on User-Generated Content
- Point #14: Repurpose Podcast Content
- Point #15: Perform an Outreach Campaign
- Point #16: Grow your Presence on Podcasting Apps
- Point #17: Analyze and Optimize
- To Conclude: Your Podcast SEO Checklist is Ready
Point #1: Begin with Keyword Research
Keyword research is the fundamental aspect of SEO, and it applies to podcast SEO as well. If you want to crack first page rankings, it’s important to find out keywords to target and use them intelligently.
While performing keyword research for the podcast, emphasize the following factors:
Find long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases with low to medium search volume and low ranking competition. Targeting these ensure your podcast episodes rank quickly on search engines.
For example, instead of using “six-pack abs” as the focus keyword, opt for “intense lower abs workout.” It’s too hard to rank for the former, but relatively easy to rank for the latter. Therefore, opt for the second one.
Focus on search intent
Search intent is the reason why a user is typing a query in the search engine; it influences keyword selection.
According to the buyer’s journey, a customer goes through the awareness stage, consideration stage, and finally into the decision stage.
While creating an episode, you must identify which stage you are aiming at, whether you want to educate your listeners, or do you want to help them buy the best product.
For example, “how to get six-pack abs” is an informational keyword, and “best abs workout machine” is a commercial/buyer keyword. You have to decide what your content is all about.
Pro tip: To simplify your job of finding potential keywords, I recommend using SEMRush. Its Keyword Magic tool helps you perform extensive keyword research. Moreover, you can also analyze competitors’ websites to discover best-performing keywords.
Point #2: Work on the Episodes Headlines
Do you know 80 percent of the people read the headline, and only 20 percent read the copy? It means headlines play a crucial role in compelling readers to click the link and check out the landing page.
You need to be careful while crafting headlines. Not only optimize them for SEO but also click-through-rate (CTR).
While writing podcast episodes’ headlines, focus on these two aspects:
Using keywords in headlines
If someone searches for a particular keyword, they expect it to appear in the title. So your title should contain the keyword. However, do not stuff the keyword unnecessarily. The headline should sound natural and grammatically correct.
For example, in the screenshot below, the podcaster uses the keyword “Instagram strategy” in the beginning, further explaining why you need a strategy.
Writing persuasive headlines
Headlines are much more than just titles-with-keywords. A headline should stir emotion and evoke curiosity in the reader’s mind. Make it as attractive as you can by using numbers, questions, power words, brackets, etc.
You can also directly address readers so that they can relate to it in a better way. For example, in the screenshot above, it says, “Growing your Business and Followers.”
As a reader, you can decipher that the podcaster will present the Instagram strategy to grow your following and business. Hence, you’ll definitely check it out if you want to expand your business.
Point #3: Write an SEO-friendly Episode Description
A well-written description of an episode can help in ranking your podcast on search engines. It increases the chances of podcast discovery because you make it SEO-friendly.
When writing an episode’s description, you can include various things like keywords (a must!), subheadings, show notes, time stamps, transcript, images, videos, internal and external links, and much more.
Basically, you’ll write it as if you are writing a blog post or web copy. Not only will it help in ranking on search engines, but it’ll also render a seamless user experience.
For example, if you’ll check out Indie Travel Podcast, you’ll notice that they have written lengthy, well-defined descriptions that definitely help them in ranking their podcast on search engines.
Point #4: Submit Podcast to Google Podcasts
If you want to ensure your podcast appears in Google Web Search, Mobile Search, and other Google platforms, you must submit it to Google Podcasts Manager.
When your podcast is successfully indexed on Google, it may appear in the top results of the Search for your target keywords. As you can see in the screenshot below, podcast episodes also rank for focus keywords.
To be frank, if you want to rank your podcast in the Google Search Results (SERPs), you’ve to do a lot more than submitting it to Google Podcasts. And that’s the exact purpose of this blog post.
Besides showing your podcast on various Google platforms, Podcasts Manager will also provide detailed insights into your podcast content.
For example, you can analyze when listeners tune in, where they drop off, which devices they use to discover your podcast, what platforms they’re coming from, and much more.
Point #5: Optimize for Mobile
Google announced in March that it’d start mobile-first indexing from September 2020. It means that Google will crawl, index, and rank your podcast website based on the mobile version.
Since most of the listeners use mobile and tablets to access their favorite podcasts, it’s imperative to optimize your podcast website for mobile devices.
Here are the steps you need to implement for optimizing the website for mobiles:
- Use a responsive design: If you are using WordPress or HTML code or whatever framework, ensure the design adapts according to the screen size. Using responsive design is mandatory to ensure effective mobile SEO.
- Google’s Mobile–Friendly Test: Check if your website design is mobile-friendly or not. The tool will also show you suggestions to make it mobile-compatible, if it’s not.
- Optimize for site speed: Website loading speed has a significant effect on mobile SEO. Therefore, pay attention to factors like image compression, minifying website code, using CDN, caching web pages, and more. Again, you can use Google’s Test My Site tool for checking mobile site speed.
Pro Tip: You can create a mobile app for your podcast and upload it on Google Play, App Store, and other app platforms. Besides boosting your authority as a podcaster, it can significantly increase the number of listeners.
Point #6: Create a Landing Page for Podcast
If you cannot or don’t want to make a dedicated website for your podcast, you can create a landing page on an existing website or blog. This will save a lot of your time and effort.
For example, Gary Vaynerchuk, a dynamic entrepreneur and a digital marketer, hosts his podcast, The GaryVee Audio Experience, on his official website. You can do the same.
However, you need to ensure that the podcast landing is well-optimized for search engine rankings. Hop on to the next section to discover on-page SEO strategies for a podcast.
Pro Tip: Most of the podcast hosting platforms also provide an option to create a dedicated website for your podcast. Check out if your hosting service provider offers this option.
Point #7: Optimize Podcast Page for On-Page SEO
Most of the people think on-page SEO is all about the keywords. Yes, the keyword is an important aspect, but there are a lot of other factors that influence on-page SEO.
To optimize the podcast page, ensure:
- The landing page is crawled and indexed by search engines
- Metadata – such as titles, descriptions, keywords, etc. – is complete in all aspects
- Well-optimized content is available on the page
- Call-to-actions guide users to explore available information
- Technical aspects – such as page design, loading speed, etc. – are taken care of
Have a look at The Tim Ferris Show podcast’s landing page. It loads quickly, has a ton of internal links, proper headlines and descriptions, intelligent use of keywords, and much more.
Aim at creating a similar podcast landing page and optimize it properly so that it ranks on the first page of search results.
Point #8: Follow Off-Page SEO Practices
While on-page SEO ensures a seamless user experience, off-page SEO ensures you build enough credibility so that search engines consider your podcast’s landing page as a trusted and popular resource.
Some of the best off-page SEO practices worth your attention are:
- Link building: Acquire links from high authority websites in your niche to gain the trust of search engines.
- Social media marketing: Be regular on social media platforms, post engaging content, interact with users, foster partnerships, and more.
- Guest posting: Publish guest posts on same-niche websites and appear on other podcasts to gain exposure to a new audience.
- Content repurposing: Convert podcasts into various forms of content, such as videos, blog posts, infographics, etc. Distribute these via different channels to attract new visitors.
To discover link-building opportunities, you can consider the Mangools Link Building tool. You can search prospects for outreach campaigns, integrate Google Search Console account, monitor campaign progress, and much more.
Point #9: Prepare Social Media Marketing Plan
Social media can be a game-changer for your podcast venture. You’ve have got so many ways to promote your podcast on social media platforms.
It also plays a major role in SEO because a lot of social media buzz signals search engines that people love your podcast content.
You can harness the potential of social media in the following ways:
- Select social media platforms where your audience is – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or others
- Create a profile complete in all aspects – display photo, cover photo, description, links (podcast links), etc.
- Share valuable content – popular topics, informational content, trending content, discussions, contests and giveaways, etc.
- Stick to the content calendar – what to post, when to post, roles and responsibilities, performance analytics, etc.
- Collaborate with influencers, industry experts, audience, and others
- Promote your podcast extensively, but don’t overdo it
If you promote your podcast strategically on social media, you can become popular in no time. For example, consider The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
It’s one of the most popular podcasts with more than 25 million fan following across multiple social media platforms. Joe Rogan’s popularity led him to sign a multi-year deal with Spotify, wherein his podcast will be exclusively available for Spotify listeners.
Point #10: Start Building Email List
A question may pop-up in your mind: How does an email list help in SEO?
When you share your podcast episodes with your email subscribers, they arrive at your podcast’s landing page and listens to your content.
It means your website gets visitors who interact with the content. This has a direct impact on SEO because of user engagement on your website.
Therefore, you should start building an email list immediately. Here are few effective tips to grow your list of email subscribers:
- Insert call-to-action on the landing page, urging visitors to subscribe
- Ask listeners to subscribe at the end of podcast episodes
- Offer content upgrades in exchange of email addresses
- Run contests where you ask visitors to share your podcast links in their circle
Check out Experts On The Wire podcast page and explore innovative ways to urge visitors to join your podcast email list. You’d find email opt-ins in the sidebar, in-content, and at various other places.
Point #11: Collaborate with Influencers
Partnering with influential personalities is a great way to enhance your reach and boost your credibility. It helps in podcast SEO because more people listen to your podcast, and you also earn backlinks.
There are various ways to collaborate with influencers to produce podcast content. You can conduct guest interviews, become a co-host, coordinate a group discussion, and more.
Let’s take the example of The Joe Rogan Experience. The host records conversational episodes wherein he calls guests who are actors, musicians, MMA fighters, travelers, and artists.
Both the participants, Joe Rogan and the guest, benefit from each others’ audiences. On the other hand, listeners receive valuable insights into the life of these influencers.
Another example is of the Marketing School podcast, hosted jointly by Neil Patel and Eric Siu. Since two digital marketing experts are facilitating the podcast, you can imagine the impact it creates.
Ultimately, it’s about taking your podcast to a newer audience by digging into the network of influencers. And if your podcast is worth the time of listeners, you’ll definitely build authority that’ll help in boosting search engine rankings of your podcast.
Off-page ranking factors – that include backlinks – carry almost 50 percent of the ranking factor weight. You can expect a significant boost in search engine rankings of your podcast if you can generate backlinks.
Some of the best link-building practices are:
- Creating original, informational content that provides immense value and unique perspective
- Looking out for guest blogging opportunities on high-authority websites
- Performing outreach campaigns to distribute content across various online communication channels
- Analyzing competitors’ link-building strategies and replicate those to earn backlinks
- Making social media an important part of your content marketing strategy
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. While building backlinks, pay attention to the following factors:
- Don’t indulge in the black hat or grey hat techniques that’ll harm podcast SEO
- Keep a check on spam links and remove them as soon as you discover them
- Ensure the majority of the links are from sources related to your niche
- Always prefer credible websites that have high domain and page ratings
Point #13: Focus on User-Generated Content
A simple hack to boost your podcast’s authority is prompting listeners and followers to engage with your content.
It can be done in various ways, such as:
- Requesting them to rate and review your podcast on social media, podcasting platforms, and your podcast’s website
- Urging them to leave comments on your podcast about anything related to the content
- Running contests and asking them to comment, tag, and share content to become eligible for prizes and giveaways
- Holding Q/A sessions wherein you answer their queries and ask for their feedback
For example, if you check out Noah Kagan Presents podcast, you’ll see numerous comments left by users. These comments signal search engines that the podcast provides value. Moreover, as a podcaster, you’ll get plenty of content ideas for the next episodes just by reading these comments.
Point #14: Repurpose Podcast Content
Repurposing content into various formats and sharing them across different channels is a proven content marketing strategy to strengthen podcast SEO.
When you record an episode, you share it with listeners via podcasting platforms, website, social media, email, and other channels.
Now you can repurpose the same episode into different formats, such as:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Slide decks
- Guest posts
- And more…
For example, Amy Porterfield of Online Marketing Made Easy podcast repurposes her podcast episodes into videos and publishes them on YouTube and other video platforms. This is an excellent way of sharing content with different sets of audiences.
Point #15: Perform an Outreach Campaign
If you are struggling to draw in listeners for your podcast, you can plan strategic outreach campaigns to attract people who are interested in your content.
When you implement outreach campaigns, you also build backlinks that help in podcast SEO. Further, it also boosts user engagement on your podcast.
For example, if you podcast about “content marketing,” you can find influencers and experts on Twitter, connect with them, nurture a relationship, and request them to share your content.
Outreach campaigns can take various forms. It’s not just limited to contacting influencers and experts and asking them to share your content.
For example, you can also connect with your existing audience via email or social media, and ask them to listen and engage with your podcast content.
Point #16: Grow your Presence on Podcasting Apps
Well, if you are podcasting for a long time, you must have already registered your podcast on major podcasting platforms.
However, it’s not enough to just register and wait for the listeners to discover your podcast. You’ve to put in efforts to attract potential listeners, increase downloads, and grow podcast following.
Some of the strategies that you can implement to grow your presence on podcasting apps are:
- Create epic content that’s unique and valuable
- Upload episodes regularly without fail
- Urge listeners to take actions
- Opt for paid promotion, if budget allows
- Collaborate with other podcasters
- Link to your podcast website, social media profiles, and other important sources
User engagement, ratings, and reviews are the most crucial factors that can significantly improve your podcast’s performance. Request listeners to rate and review podcasts so that you can build credibility.
Growing your presence on podcasting apps, such as Google Podcasts, is vital because it directly impacts podcast visibility on search results for specific queries (target keywords).
Point #17: Analyze and Optimize
You may be working hard to create and upload content but not witnessing any growth in the number of listeners and downloads.
In this situation, you must identify podcast performance metrics and analyze them periodically to assess what’s working and what’s not.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are the major platforms that you must utilize to analyze factors, such as:
- Keywords that your podcast episodes rank for
- Best-performing podcast pages
- Audience demographics
- Devices and browsers driving traffic to the podcast pages
- Traffic sources – direct, social media, search, referral, etc.
You can further go a step ahead to analyze performance metrics, such as episode performance, downloads, and others. For this purpose, you can use a tool like Blubrry that provides detailed podcast insights.
Once you have analyzed available data, you can optimize your podcast by creating better content, developing effective marketing plans, and implementing actionable SEO strategies.
To Conclude: Your Podcast SEO Checklist is Ready
Harness the potential of organic search to find ardent listeners who’ll not only subscribe to your podcast but will also become loyal advocates.
But to achieve this feat, you must implement podcast SEO strategies that’ll boost its search engine rankings.
Do you have any questions regarding any of these podcast SEO tactics? I’m here to resolve your queries. Comment to initiate a discussion.