Podcasts and SEO: How to make your podcast visible on search engines

How to properly reference your podcast in SEO
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Podcasts and SEO: How to make your podcast visible on search engines

The podcast market in France is booming. An entire ecosystem dedicated to this audio content format is being built, and audiences are beginning to follow. The SEO agency WAM-Référencement explains how to be visible in search engines and on major listening platforms to increase your audience.

June 9, 2021 • About 12 min. read

How to properly reference your podcast on listening platforms

Of course, the first thing to do in order for your podcast to be well referenced on classic search engines and on Google is to make it visible EVERYWHERE! 😎

Start by listing all the listening platforms offering audio content and make sure to include your podcast.

A list of the top music streaming platforms worldwide, available by number of paying subscribers (Source Statista).

The combined audiences of these platforms offer your audio content plenty of exposure. 🚀 A major absentee, however, in this list is YouTube Music which has more than 49.6 million unique visitors per month in France (Source: YouTube).

Google Podcasts is also still rather small, but it’s a safe bet that its audience is growing rapidly when you consider the engine’s dominant position in France, with over 92% of the search market share. (Source : Gs stat Counter) 🤔

There are two options ✌️ for delivering your audio content: the manual or “Do It Yourself” way or the “turnkey” way, through an automated platform like Ausha. 💜

1. Submitting your podcast to broadcasters manually, e.g., “Do It Yourself” 🤓:

For your podcasts to be eligible for Google Podcasts (and all other platforms), here are the technical prerequisites:

  • Display a valid RSS feed describing the podcast according to RSS 2.0 specifications
  • Make sure the RSS feed contains at least one episode
  • Make sure the podcast has a dedicated home page on your website. The home page must include a <link> to the RSS feed.

Generally speaking, you’ll need to respect classic Google indexing guidelines. The podcast’s pages and URLs must be searchable and able to be indexed by search engines.

2. Automated management by a hosting platform like Ausha 💜 (for example)

“Le WAMCAST”, a podcast from WAM-Référencement, is hosted on Ausha. The goal here is to enjoy the benefits of a comprehensive service, i.e.:

  • Secure hosting
  • The ability to manage your show (including SEO elements, etc.) and broadcast each episode from a central console
  • The option of monetizing content
  • A consistent audience measurement tool

The use of hosting platforms have, among other advantages, the advantage of being easy to deal with. Everything is simplified, so a podcast creator can concentrate on the content of their programs.

WAM-Référencement on Ausha
Adding a new episode is extremely easy. You can add your audio file In just two clicks.

Once your podcast is listed on all these platforms, you’re well on your way. But you can also take your podcast’s SEO a step further. At WAM-Référencement, we’ll explain everything we’ve done to make our WAMCAST podcastvisible. 🤙

What place(s) do podcasts receive in search engine results?

Classic Google results

When you conduct a Google search using the word “podcast”, Google now offers a carousel of audio files available directly for listening. Here, for example, is the podcast carousel that appears for the “podcast referencing” request. 😃

Podcast SEO
Since August 08, 2019, Google SERP has been offering the display of a carousel of audio files that can be listened directly from the Google search results page, via the Google Podcast Player (Source: Searchengineland).

When the user clicks, the audio file opens (still in the Google environment) and displays the following: title, description of the episode and possible links to the podcast’s publisher site. 🤓

Wam Podcast Google Player Podcasts
Google Player is integrated into the results. You don’t leave the Google ecosystem, hence the importance of paying close attention to your description and adding a mention of your brand!


It should be noted that Google promises, in the near future, to display podcasts in the universal search without having to add the term “podcast”. We should begin seeing this when the supply of audio content is sufficiently plentiful. 🤞 For the moment, a podcast’s name doesn’t always ensure that it’ll be displayed it in the dedicated carousel.

Google Podcasts mobile app:

From Android, for example, the “Google Podcasts” application (the counterpart of iTunes Podcasts) allows you to find programs in a precise manner. If we take the example of our “Wamcast” podcast resulting from the query “référencement”, for example, four different podcasts are offered in French.

Keep in mind, however, that at the beginning of 2020, this same search provided no content in return – proof that capabilities are increasing. 😉

The Bing search engine

Our initial search for “podcast référencement” was unsuccessful. Bing displays no dedicated results. This is a format not included in this search engine for the time being.

The Qwant search engine

Again, we were disappointed with this French search engine. There was no display of podcasts dedicated to this file format. A “Music” tab comes up, but our search for “podcast référencement” didn’t yield any results. It’s unfortunate that a place remains to be occupied on this still underdeveloped vertical.

Streaming platforms

As we’ve already mentioned, beyond search engines, music streaming platforms offer more relevant results, including Spotify, Deezer and Apple Podcasts, etc. 💪

Spotify podcast results
Searching for “SEO” or “référencement” in Spotify turned up the WAMCAST podcast.

Which metadata should I provide to properly reference my podcast with respect to SEO?

In order to optimize your podcast so that it’s well positioned on search engines and listening platforms, be sure to provide the metadata (fields) for your show and your episodes. 🚀

The title and the permalink

You can use the same methodology you used for your classic text content to optimize your podcasts’ titles. As with text, adding a keyword to the URL makes it easier for the user and the engine to understand the content, to a lesser extent in 2021, but who knows for 2022? 😉

Podcast title

The cover

To make your Podcast stand out from the crowd, pay special attention to the thumbnail for each episode in order to draw attention to yourself. For our Wamcast podcast, we chose a graphic design that we use each time we publish a new episode, so we can be recognized (at least that’s what we’re hoping in the long term 🤞).

And while you’re at it, make sure the name of the visual file stands out in Google Images! 💡

Wamcast podcast thumbnail
Our graphic designer makes sure to personalize the thumbnail of each WAMCAST episode.
Wamcast Google Image result
When searching “Podcast SEO”, Google Images very quickly identifies “WAMCAST”.

The episode description

The description field allows you to summarize or transcribe the audio content into text for each episode. The limit is 4,000 characters (nearly three pages), which leaves plenty of room to express yourself. It’s essential for proper referencing of a podcast! ⚠️

As with a blog post, pay particular attention your description by including keywords so that search engines and listening platforms will pull up your podcast on your main query. Like “SEO” for the WAM-Référencement podcast.

Description of your podcast
Ausha offers a classic WYSIWYG editor with text formatting (bolding, bullet lists, icons) as well as the addition of links which are essential for transcribing the content of your episode.

Tags

Just like for video or audio content published on YouTube, adding a taxonomy specific to each episode allows your content to be better referenced on all platforms that take these tags into account. 😁

Ausha, for example, allows you to add up to 20 tags to each episode, which allows you to better contextualize the content of each episode and to promote hits in search engines.

ausha-podcast-tags

The name of the audio file

Just as we would do for the SEO of a video or an image, proper naming of the audio file is an important consideration for your podcast’s SEO.

Dividing your podcast into chapters

Some tools (like Ausha) allow you to organize your episode into successive chapters. You can use time codes to indicate when you address a specific subject in order to facilitate listening. This feature is perfectly SEO-friendly since you’re enhancing your transcript with headings that correspond to the various sections of your content. 👌

The segmentation of your audio file into chapters is up to you to do. Then name the different parts. Here too, it works a bit like an H2 intertitle for classic content. Use the best expression to describe what the passage in question will discuss by placing the expression targeted by the positioning as far left as possible (at the beginning). This will be information that’s entirely readable by Google. 👌

Should the audio content of each episode be transcribed into text on your web page?

Although Google is making great strides in natural language processing (NLP), thanks to its speech-to-text technology, a text transcription of your audio content is still necessary in order to maximize your chances of appearing in Google results. Indeed, speech-to-text technology still too often obscures acronyms and industry lingo. However, we do not find it necessary to transcribe your entire content word for word.

Think about the user first. If you find it necessary to include the entire content in text format (as MOZ does with Whiteboard Friday, for example), feel free to do so.

If I transcribe my audio content into text, could this generate duplication between the two?

At this point, no, says John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google (Source: SearchengineJournal) but it’s something to keep an eye on over time as Google progresses in Natural Language Processing.

For example, with videos, we know that Google already uses NLP to suggest to users the chapters covered in a video:

Google uses Natural Language Processing to analyze the audio content of a video and to then segment it into chapters to make it easier for the user to find the answer they’re looking for.

Example:

In the case of WAMCast, on the one hand, we’ve chosen to offer a text summary of each episode for the reasons mentioned above, but also becausea text transcription would not be faithful to what one tries to convey orally, such as the ambiance, mood, feeling…in short, the context of the discussion. This is all the more true since we use several “speakers” in order to avoid monotony.

In the form, you’ll find, as for a classic text, the following tags to optimize:

  • The H1< title>: 45, 60 characters, the target expression as far to the left as possible,
  • In Summary: We indicate the summary of the paragraphs in the episode with elapsed times to help the user find the exact moment in the audio file.
  • The chapter in italics: containing connectors, indications of places, characters, locations, dates, etc.
  • The inter titles in <H2>: 45, 60 characters,
  • Content in paragraph form,
  • a bullet list of links to key external resources discussed in the episode (studies, articles, references),
  • and finally, related links to other complementary episodes or other resources, such as blog content, to further explore certain concepts. Play with network semantics to the fullest.

Here’s a concrete example produced by WAM-Référencement for episode 22 of its WAMCAST.


A few positioning results

Here are some concrete positioning results obtained by broadcasting our episodes via the Ausha platform using the tips seen thus far.

Spotify

  • “Best result” for “SEO” and “Référencement”
  • 1st result in the “podcast” section
  • Bonus: We have a great playlist, so it also shows up ☺
Wamcast results
We can play around with ubiquity between all areas of visibility offered by Spotify. Here, WAMCAST shows up twice, and our official playlist even comes up (to work to music).

Apple Podcasts

  • 1st position in the podcast carousel
  • 5 out of 9 positions for overall results.

We haven’t openly solicited our listeners to leave any reviews yet, but keep in mind that it’s a great visibility lever for differentiating yourself from other content. Platforms, including Apple Podcasts, place a lot of importance on this criterion for visibility in the iTunes ecosystem. 😁

Wamcast results
Certain WAMCAST episodes seem to be very popular, other topics a bit less so, we regularly examine these indicators to try to improve each month without sacrificing the quality of the content.

To summarize:

We have seen how to submit and optimize your audio content to appear in Google search results via your site in addition to listening platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Deezer, both manually and automatically. 🚀

The combination of the two, in terms of visibility results, allows you to play around with ubiquity 🕴️ as you produce your content, since for the same search from Google, you’ll find:

  • The summary of each episode via the appropriate page on your site
  • The page corresponding to each episode from each audio platform (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, etc.)
  • The cover (or “Thumbnail”) for each episode via the image carousel
  • The episode in Google Podcast format from the dedicated carousel
  • And if you played the game well, the episode from the YouTube video carousel.

Pretty convincing, isn’t it? 😉

Conclusion for boosting your podcast with SEO

To stand out from the crowd in a saturated environment, Podcast content seems to be the breath of fresh air that brands need in order to fuel their content marketing strategies. 🥰

The French podcast ecosystem is becoming more and more structured. Search engines are gradually including podcasts in their search results, and audio and video streaming platforms are enjoying a captive and growing audience.

The format seems particularly adapted to new modes of content consumption, i.e., on the move and in a multitasking environment. But be aware, under the guise of “easy” to implement, this format requires an even higher level of attention in terms of quality, first with respect to content and, of course, form, since it falls in the same category as radio podcasts.

No doubt, 2021 is the ideal year to begin your podcast adventure! 🚀

Founded in 2008 by David Eichholtzer, the WAM Agency is an SEO, content and PR agency based in Lyon. Its main goal is to assist companies of all sizes in developing their online visibility. In this context, the agency is constantly evolving to anticipate and meet the challenges brought about by changes with respect to search engines, thus guaranteeing optimal exposure of businesses to their audiences.

June 9, 2021

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