First, we will cover the basics of podcast keywords and how they relate to search engines.
Then we show you, step by step, how to identify the best podcast keywords for your show. 🗝️
Ready? 3… 2… 1… blastoff! 🚀
Podcast Keywords: The Basics
(Feel free to skip this section if you already have a pretty solid understanding of keywords and SEO)
Here’s the situation: There are billions of internet users. There are trillions of websites, posts, photos, videos, memes, stores, chat rooms, blogs, podcasts, and every thing else imaginable on the internet. How does a person find what they specifically want to access on the internet? The answer: Search engines. 🤖
Search Engines: Google, Podcast Directories, Social Media
There are different kinds of search engines for the internet, but we are just going to focus on two kinds for this blog post. First is Google. Google is by far the biggest and most used search engine. Basically any kind of search engine optimization (SEO) that you do for your podcast, including podcast keywords research, needs to be based around Google. We’ll get into what exactly that means in the second half of this blog post.
The other search engines you need to consider are the ones on podcast listening platform. Think: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc. Podcast listeners will often use these search engines to find what show they want to listen to next. 👈
The last search engines that we will mention here are the search engines on social media networks. Since social media marketing is a big part of growing your podcast audience, you want to keep social media search engines (and their algorithm siblings) in mind during your podcast keywords research.
Definition of Keyword
What is a keyword? Well, search engines send little ro(bots) out across the vast internet universe, indexing what they find. In particular, they are looking for keywords. A keyword can be a single word or even a short phrase (called a “long-tail keyword”). A keyword indicates what the content around it is about. Then, when a person types a keyword in their search for something on the internet, the search engine finds that keyword in the indexes that the bot made and shows the person a list of the sites where the keyword is used. 🦾
Podcast Keywords Placement
How does a search engine bot tell the difference between a keyword and just a… word? There are a few ways, but one major way is: You tell the bot it is a keyword. How do you tell the bot it is a keyword? You put it in important places.
For podcasts this means you put it in the text of things like the show title, episode title, show description, episode description, episode notes, chapter titles, etc. You add it to any other relevant metadata fields, like for example, if there is a “keywords” field. Also be sure to put it in the audio content of the podcast itself since Google bots can search audio files. Don’t forget to also make sure the keyword is on your podcast website, online marketing, and social media accounts. 🌎
Now, as you can imagine, the list a search engine produces for a keyword is a super, super long one. So it really matters that your podcast is at the top of it. If it is below like the tenth search result, it basically doesn’t exist to most people. Your position on the search results list is called your ‘ranking.’ You want your podcast to not only pop-up when potential listeners search using a certain keyword, but to rank high on that list.
How to you achieve a high search results ranking? You optimize your content for search engines. In other words, you have boost your SEO. We have already talked about keyword placement, which is an important part of growing your SEO. But for the rest of this blog post we are going to focus on researching and choosing the right keywords to optimize your content to achieve a high search engine result ranking. 🏆
Researching and Choosing the Best Podcast Keywords
The goal of researching podcast keywords is to identify keywords that:
- Accurately describe your content
- Are words that listeners who want your kind of content would type in a search bar
- Are keywords that you could realistically compete to rank high on
Don’t worry, we will explain each one of these more as we walk through the research step that corresponds with each one. 🧑🏫
Step One: Analyze Your Content
To start your podcast keywords research, dig into your own work. For this step, we are going to assume you have already had your podcast up and going for a while. If you are starting out fresh, still follow along with us. Just apply what we say to your planning and brainstorming documents.
Go through your podcast transcripts and metadata. Create a list of the top ten to twenty words that you have used. Let’s say you have a podcast about training dogs. You see that you have used these words a lot: Dog, other dogs, puppy, training, train, trainer, owner, frustration, aggressive, anxiety, fear, leash, kids, treats, energy, walk, relax, mess, and symptoms. Hang on to this list for the next step. 📋
There are two benefits to analyzing your podcast content for keywords. First, obviously if you have used the words, they are relevant to your content. Second, if you have already been using certain words, you already have been developing your SEO without even realizing it!
Building your SEO takes time
Search engine bots need time to gobble up your new content and any new keywords. They also need time to observe what people are searching for and if connecting them with your podcast based on certain keywords is resulting in success. ⏱️
Success to a search engine is when a user clicks on one of the search results and then stays on that website for some time— the search engine reasons that it must have made a great match! With that positive feedback, the search engine moves that website up a little higher and higher in its result rankings.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say a person searches “hot apple.” They click on a Apple laptop repair site in the search result rankings. Then they stay on that repair site for five minutes. The search engine reads that interaction as the searcher must have found what they were looking for! The search engine will now rank that Apple laptop repair site a little higher in its results rankings for “hot apple” because the person’s behavior indicated that the Apple laptop repair site is a good result for “hot apple.” 💻
Now let’s say another person searches “hot apple” and then clicks on a different link in the search results, not the repair shop. The person realizes they have clicked on a pie baking website and quickly returns to the search engine to try again, because they are in fact looking for an Apple laptop repair site. The search engine reads that interaction as a fail-– clearly the person did not find that results helpful because they quickly exited from the site. The search engine will now rank that pie baking website lower for “hot apple” because the person’s behavior indicated that a pie baking website is not a good result for “hot apple.” Now with the pie baking website getting demoted, a second, rival Apple laptop repair site gets to move up and take the pie baking website’s place on the top rankings. 🤩
If that second, rival Apple laptop repair site had given up and changed its SEO keyword away from “hot apple” too soon, it would have missed its opportunity to rise up the ranks!
Plus, the reason the initial Apple laptop repair site was ranking so high to begin with was probably because it had been around longer and therefore had banked more positive interactions from the search engine users. 👵
All this to say: At the end of all your research, give preference to keywords you have already been using in your podcast.
Step Two: Look at What Your Potential Audience has been Searching
Remember, the next step is to identify words that listeners who want your kind of content would type in a search bar. You want to cater to these people as much as possible. Meet them where they are at. 🤝
A free and easy way to do this is to go to Google Trends. Type in the topic of your podcast. For this example, “dog training.” You can see the usage of this search term over time and over geographical location (take special note of geographical location if your podcast is a marketing tool for your location-based business). Most importantly, scroll down to “related queries.” Choose “Top” from the drop down menu. Then you will see a list of what people typed into Google Search when they were looking for something related to dog training.
Ignore the queries (aka keywords) that don’t apply to your podcast, like “police dog training.” Create a list of five to ten of the keywords that you see. For our example: Puppy training, obedience training, dog potty training, dog training classes, dog leash training, and separation training. 🐶
You can do this Google Trends search with a few of the keywords from the first step too. Add any good keyword options to your list.
Step Three: Study the Competition
The third step in podcast keywords research is find keywords that are keywords that you could realistically compete to rank high on. To figure that out, you need to study your competition. 🕵️
Go on podcast listening platforms (Spotify, Amazon, etc.) and type in what your show is about. For this example: Dog Training. Let’s say you see that Cesar Millan has a dog training podcast that has been around for ten years and has a million subscribers. And you see that a bunch of major pet brands also have long standing, popular podcasts that pop up under “dog training.”
Take a look at your list of keywords you have already been using in your podcast content. Compare it to your list of keywords that potential listeners are likely to use. Then compare those to the big name podcasts who are your competitors. Are there any keywords that are on the first two lists, but not used by the big competition? If so, those are your best keywords! 🥳
Let’s say you notice that none of the big podcasts use the keywords “separation anxiety.” You know that you have already been using “anxiety” in your podcasts and you know that a lot of people Google “separation training” when they are looking for topics related to dog training. So one of your highly valuable keywords that you should use often is “separation anxiety”!
Stick to the Fundamentals
Focus on the fundamentals for podcast keywords. Look for the overlap of words you use in your podcast, words people use in searches, and words that your competitors aren’t using. You probably won’t find a lot podcast keywords that meet all those standards perfectly, but you will find several really good ones that almost meet those standards perfectly. 👍
Your target keyword terms and phrases should be specific, but not too niche. They should build on what you have already created with your episodes. They should reflect the ideas that people have about your topic and how they themselves would look for your show.
What we have taught you here is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SEO. There are a ton of free and paid tools, layers of nuanced practice, and details are changing all the time. But what we have taught you here will take you far, especially in podcasting world. 🐫
We hope this blog post is a help to you as you boost your SEO and your listener audience. For more ideas and tips, check out our cleverly named podcast: TIPS. 🧑🚀🪐MOFU
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