Podcasting and Apple Podcast Rankings: Tips for Making it to the Top


Podcasting and Apple Podcast Rankings: Tips for Making it to the Top

To appear in the top of Apple Podcasts rankings, it is the goal of all podcasters who seek visibility (and who does not?). We give you our tips to achieve this!

January 4, 2022 • About 7 min. read

If you know anything about the podcast world, you know that Apple Podcasts (formerly Itunes) is one of the most important players in the podcasting game.

You should know that for podcasts hosted at Ausha, Apple Podcasts accounts for 4 out of 10 listens. And in February 2021, the American website Chartable revealed that Apple Podcasts had just passed the mark of 2 million shows on its platform. That’s huge! 🚀

And it’s so huge that, to stand out from other podcasts, well, it’s not that easy… To promote your place in the Apple Podcasts rankings and therefore gain even more visibility, there are a few things to know about the platform’s algorithm. 🤓

And as usual, I’m giving you my little hacks and tips to boost your podcast even more.

In this article, we will talk about :

– So what does Apple Podcasts care about:

The number of subscribers: the holy grail of podcasters

Obviously, the algorithm of Apple Podcasts is a bit like the algorithm of Facebook or Instagram, it’s top secret. 🤫 But after several years of working on it, testing and retesting things, there are some good practices to implement to be sure to catch its eye.

The first is the number of subscribers. Apple Podcasts allows your listeners to subscribe to your content and receive a notification as soon as a new episode is published on the platform. So not only is this super cool for you because you’re ensuring a certain amount of listens. But it’s also a very strong signal you’re sending to the Apple Podcasts algorithm. 📢

Choose your podcast category wisely

What is the purpose of a podcast category? 🤔

Another very important thing is the choice of your category. Categories and subcategories are used by Apple Podcasts to organize and categorize its shows by topic. And it’s like socks 🧦 when they’re arranged neatly, you can find them faster.

Also, keep in mind that some podcast categories are more competitive than others. Winning subscribers is more complicated when you are in a very large category that already has several thousand podcasts than if you are in a category that is, admittedly, more niche but within which you will be able to stand out more easily.

Choosing your Apple Podcasts category is really one of the keys to gaining subscribers and listeners. 🗝️ It is a real strategic choice, so think carefully before making your decision but know that you can always change it even after the launch of your podcast.

How to choose the right category for your podcast?

Apple offers 19 major categories that are themselves divided into subcategories. My advice is to reference your podcast directly in a sub-category because by doing so, you will be automatically referenced in the main category.

🧐 Let me explain: let’s assume you have a podcast about, let’s say, … sports nutrition. By choosing the sub-category “nutrition”, you will not only stand out in this category but you will also stand out in the overall category (or the parent category) which is “Health”. And as a result, you will boost the discoverability of your podcast twice. 🔥

You can’t find your category? Don’t panic!

Little tip: Ask yourself in which category your typical listener would spontaneously go looking for you, because many listeners get lost on listening platforms and scroll through a category looking for new podcasts. With a little luck, they’ll bump into yours. 

Post your episodes regularly and frequently to get the attention of Apple Podcasts

The third thing to master Apple Podcasts is the frequency with which you publish your episodes. The most important thing for you is to have a podcast that comes out regularly, so choose your monthly, weekly or daily rhythm and try to respect it as much as possible. Apple will reward you! 🍏

Also note that a weekly or daily podcast will have more chances to be spotted by the platform because a higher frequency stimulates the algorithm more. So the thing to avoid is to release your episodes with a slow and random rhythm. 🙅‍♀️

Apple hates it when you put the word “Episode” or the word “Podcast” in your titles.

Take care of your titles and descriptions to appeal to Apple Podcasts

Give extra attention to your titles and descriptions.

The titles and descriptions of your podcast and episodes can play a role in the SEO and visibility of your show. First of all, you should know that Apple hates it when you put the word “Episode” or the word “Podcast” in your titles. 😡 Your audience knows they are listening to a podcast episode. No need writing it and reminding them every time.

Secondly, while titles and descriptions don’t have any real impact on a show’s Apple Podcasts ranking, they do play a big part in its discoverability. I’m talking about the good ol’ keyword technique. 🗝️ The more keywords you use in your metadata, the more easily you will be found by your future listeners.

Speak to humans, not robots

You should know that real humans put the podcasts on the platform’s homepage. Not robots. 🤖 Every day, dozens of podcasts are submitted to an editorial team that takes the time to listen to them and to choose the ones they consider to have a real added value for their audience.

And because these are real people with real emotions, you need to convince them that your podcast is worth promoting. To do that, make a great pitch when you submit your podcast.

  • Introduce yourself and your episodes in a few sentences,
  • Say why you created your show and for what purpose.
  • Give as much detail as possible about your podcast and structure your description well.
Avis Apple Podcasts

In short, put your ❤️ into the pitch and you may be one of the lucky ones whose podcast is featured on Apple.

To increase your chances, your content should obviously be good quality, but that’s not enough! The cover of your show or episodes must perfectly match the standards of the platform. You certainly know Apple’s love for design: well, when it comes to podcast covers, it’s the same thing. 

Generally speaking, shows that have a thumbnail made by a professional graphic designer, that is relatively simple, with just the right amount of text and with a nice photo or illustration, will have a better chance of being on the front page of Apple Podcasts.

In this regard, I advise you to take a look at our article on how to make a great podcast image.

And finally, just in case…

Apple Podcasts publicly communicates on some factors that can positively influence the ranking of your podcast, but it remains very vague on others.

This is the case of reviews and ratings on their platform. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to talk about it! 

Most people don’t bother leaving reviews, especially when the experience they’re having is positive. So if you have feedback on your podcast – and I mean positive feedback – well, that’s cool for you because it shows engagement from your audience so hopefully, Apple Podcasts will consider it. And that is cool too! 🥳

Listeners on Apple Podcasts

And actually, collecting reviews like this will help you convince other potential listeners who don’t know you yet to listen to your podcast

Finally, the award for the most unclear and questionable thing goes to…. the completion rate! You know, the completion rate, it’s that thing that allows you to know if your listeners listened to your episodes until the end.

For now, we don’t know if this stat really has an impact on your Apple Podcasts ranking but, just in case, make sure you refine your content as much as possible to keep your listeners’ attention until the end. 👀

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by Emma
January 4, 2022

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