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 distribute your podcast there.
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 247 million user in the US. (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 the US.
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 platforms 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 French 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 distribute each episode from one place
- 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 use. Everything is simplified, so a podcast creator can concentrate on the content of their programs.
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 podcast visible. 🤙
Where do podcasts appear 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 SEO” search. 😃
When the user clicks on it, 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 listening site. 🤓
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 has sufficiently grown. 🤞
For the moment, a podcast’s name doesn’t always ensure that it’ll be displayed in the dedicated carousel.
Google Podcasts mobile app:
From Android, for example, the “Google Podcasts” application (the counterpart of Apple 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.
Keep in mind, however, that at the beginning of 2020, this same search provided no content in return – proof that Google’s capabilities are increasing. 😉
The Bing search engine
Our initial search for “podcast référencement” was unsuccessful. Bing displays no dedicated results. This format isn’t included in this search engine for the time being.
As we’ve already mentioned: beyond search engines, music streaming platforms offer more relevant results, including Spotify, Deezer and Apple Podcasts, etc. 💪
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 (information) for your show and 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, only a bit in 2021, but who knows for 2022? 😉
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 for in the long term 🤞).
And while you’re at it, make sure the name of the visual file stands out in Google Images! 💡
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 podcast referencing. ⚠️
As with a blog post, pay particular attention to your description by including keywords so that search engines and listening platforms will pull up your podcast from your main query.
Like “SEO” for the WAM-Référencement podcast.
Just like for video or audio content published on YouTube, adding classification that’s 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 for each episode, so you can better contextualize the content of each episode and promote yourself in the search engines.
The name of the audio file
Just as we would do for the SEO of a video or an image, properly naming the audio file is an important thing to consider when it comes to 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.
Use the best phrase to describe what the passage in question is about by placing the targeted phrase 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 don’t 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:
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 on the other hand, a text transcription would not be true to what we’re trying to convey when we speak, such as the ambiance, mood, and 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: Summarize the content of the episode with elapsed times to help the listener find an exact moment in the audio file.
- The chapters in italics: containing connectors, indications of places, characters, locations, dates, etc.
- The subtitles in <H2>: 45, 60 characters
- Content in paragraph form
- A bulleted 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, so your listener can explore more concepts further. 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 distributing our episodes via the Ausha platform using the tips seen so far.
- “Best result” for “SEO” and “Référencement”
- 1st result in the “podcast” section
- Bonus: We have a great playlist, so it also shows up ☺
- 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 criteria for visibility in the iTunes ecosystem. 😁
We have seen how to submit and optimize your audio content to appear in Google’s search results thanks to your site in addition to the 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. Because from the same search in 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 Podcasts 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 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 growing audience.
The format seems particularly adapted to new ways 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, 2022 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, France. 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.Independentsprofessionals