Creating a Podcast RSS Feed: The DIY Method

How to create an RSS feed yourself for your podcast
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Creating a Podcast RSS Feed: The DIY Method

Knowing how to create your own RSS feed can be super helpful... I mean you can't distribute your podcast without it!

August 19, 2021 • About 6 min. read

In order to host and distribute your podcast to all listening platforms, including Spotify, Deezer, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, you need to be aware of some technical requirements before creating your own podcast RSS feed.

That’s what we’re covering in this article. 🤓

How to create a podcast RSS feed that is compatible with Google Podcasts

Google Podcasts is a podcast directory like any other, except that it allows you to list your show in Google’s search engine.

So, if you want to improve your podcast’s SEO, it’s good to be sure that your RSS feed meets the technical requirements for Google Podcasts. 🚀

To be listed in Google Podcasts, you have to provide an RSS feed in XML format describing your podcast.

But be careful, your feed has to comply with the RSS 2.0 specification and include the following tags:

RSS Feed Code
Sample RSS feed in XML format, describing your podcast.

The content that appears in yellow in our screen sample marks what is required in the RSS feed.

This information is used by Google to understand the content that needs your attention. 😊

Here are the required RSS tags for a podcast in general:

Required tags for a podcast

  • One or more individual episodes. The feed must contain at least one tag. For more information on the markup used to describe episodes, see the RSS Tags for the Episodes section below.
  • Full URL of the podcast’s homepage. Verify that Googlebot has access to the homepage.
  • Podcast name.

Image

  • Image to be associated with the podcast. Googlebot must have access to this.

What are the requirements for episodes?

As already mentioned, your podcast must contain at least one episode in order to create an RSS feed. Here’s how it works.

Episode RSS feed code
Sample RSS feed in XML format, describing a podcast episode with usage tags.

The title, description, publication date, file URL, and the length of the audio file must be included as tags in your code when publishing each episode.

Google’s help center for this is particularly well detailed, but here are some rows of required tags to include: 😁

Required tags for the podcast

  • Full URL of the episode’s audio file. Audio files must have one of the following extensions: aac, m4a, mp3, ogg, or wav. Make sure that your audio files are not protected by robots.txt files so that Googlebot can access them.
  • Example: <enclosure url=https://www.example.com/tenmyths.mp3 type=”audio/mpeg” length=”34216300″/>
  • Title of the podcast episode

We won’t go into detail here on the necessary steps for researching keywords, expressions, and questions before writing the tags for your podcast.

But it’s the same selection process you already follow for your text-based content formats. 💡

You will also need a page for hosting the audio file on your site.

This is obviously the purpose of this content, to get people talking about you outside of your website, from “audio” listener hubs, with the goal of getting listeners to come to you! 😉

Requirements for your page on your website

As the podcast’s publisher, you must offer a page on your website talking about the podcast and its associated episodes.

The page must include the following tag so that Google (and other podcast readers) can link them together:


Sample (fictional):

Required HTML attributes in this tag

  • href : URL of the podcast’s RSS feed.

Recommended HRML attributes in this tag

  • title : Short descriptive title of the podcast.

Example of integrating the tag into the site’s page about the podcast:

A page’s traditional SEO tags obviously take care of helping Google and Bing find your content.


The WordPress alternative for creating a podcast RSS feed 💻

WordPress offers an alternative to this manual approach, using the PowerPress plugin.

This plugin is the #1 plugin for managing podcasts in WP with across-the-board positive reviews about its quality.

This plugin:

  • Lets you easily create your audio or video XML feed without mistakes
  • Is compatible with Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, and more
  • Offers integrated HTML5 playback with built-in support for sites like YouTube (with the HTML code needed for your listeners)
  • Allows you to manage the podcast’s SEO elements (title, description, date, length, link, taxonomy, etc.) all in one place

The YouTube alternative for publishing your podcast ⏯️

YouTube is primarily known for hosting and distributing video content, but it’s also possible (and recommended!) that you publish your podcast on the world’s #2 most popular search engine ✌️

You may, however, have to first go through the step of converting your audio file into one of the (many) video formats available on YouTube.

Appearance

There are several options for “staging” your audio file:

  • The tip, commonly used by the media, is to offer a visual that reflects the audio oscillation of the voices of the podcast’s speaker(s).
  • Ausha 💜 offers its podcasters a video clip with audio waves to help podcasters create a video showcasing their podcast.
Ausha Video Clip
  • A still image is more commonly used (and easier to set up), but it’s not the most helpful if you want to keep your audience coming back… 🤓
YouTube Podcast Still Image
HBO’s podcast for the Chernobyl mini-series offers a simple still image with subtitles for the audio content. Simple and effective.
  • Finally, depending on your means, providing a video of the podcast’s recording is becoming increasingly common, and once again, it’s popular among the media. 📽️
Recording a podcast in a studio
Joe Rogan’s podcast is always filmed. Surely, you remember the timeworn Elon Musk interview from early September 2018, which has more than 28 million listeners!

Optimization

As with video optimization, the following (basic) criteria are essential to make your podcast show visible on YouTube:

  • The title: Your show needs a title in order to appear in Google’s video carousel. It should match the user’s search exactly. 50 to 60 characters. ;
  • The description: Keep the description between 150 and 400 words, and pay particular attention to the first 2-3 sentences because those are the ones that will be visible in the search results. Offer a “call to action” on your website. Provide links to the best videos on the same topic (other episodes) to create a list of recommendations. Finally, provide links to everywhere that you are present on social media.
  • Tags: You should ideally have 31 to 40 unique tags (maximum 200-300 characters), with a priority on 2-3 word expressions. Keep the focus on what the video is about.
  • Thumbnail: 90% of the most popular videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. Create visually appealing thumbnails for your videos to help attract more users and increase their viewing time.

Even though the process of submitting your audio feed to the most popular platforms is relatively simple, it may quickly become tedious. Especially if you are used to putting out podcasts on a weekly—or even daily—basis.

In this situation, you can speed up each step by using a third-party platform that automates the process of hosting, managing, and distributing your podcast. Ausha helps you automate the distribution of your episode in just a few clicks! Isn’t life sweet? 💜

August 19, 2021

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