If you haven’t included podcasting in your content strategy, then it’s time to rethink. Podcast popularity has grown over the past few years and is now considered one of the world’s most sought-after types of content. A recent survey conducted in 2019 found out that 51 percent of people above 12 years of age in the U.S. listen to podcasts.
Meanwhile, over 1.75 million podcast shows are on the internet, with over 43 million episodes as of January 2021. This represents an exponential growth in the podcast industry, which ought to be noted by content producers.
But that is not the most exciting part of it.
Google recently announced that it would include podcasts in search engine results. The podcasts will be displayed as snippets similar to video snippets and can direct users to exact second with the answers to the query.
So it’s not a matter of if you will include podcasts in your content strategy; instead, it is a matter of when. You don’t want to miss out on this great opportunity.
Podcasts are mostly used to engage listeners profoundly and personally in discussions, besides showcasing expertise and marketing products and services. To succeed with podcasting, you need to produce high-quality, engaging and exciting content and implement technical SEO techniques that make your content rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
In this article, we cover the various techniques you can implement to optimize your podcasts and reach the growing number of podcast listeners.
1. Have a Focus Keyword
Focus keywords define the relevance of content. They determine which content matches with which search query. And this extends to podcasts, which is why the most successful podcasts are built around niches with specific keywords. When producing podcasts, start by researching and determining the keyword you will focus on, having users’ search intent in mind. This step is imperative when dealing with very competitive areas. The only sure way to survive as a new broadcaster is by targeting long-form keywords and creating content that satisfies search intent.
Keyword research can be done using free tools such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner. Identify low search volume keywords and creating podcast content that gives the best information on the topic. This increases the chances of being discovered by people searching for your content and those seeking information on related issues. Google is transcribing audio files nowadays, giving the search engine a better view of your content. So, mentioning your focus keyword occasionally throughout your podcast maintains its relevance.
2. Optimize Your Podcast Title and Metadata
One of the most effective ways of increasing the time users spend on our website is by using captivating introductions and titles. However, in podcasts, titles are more applicable because they determine whether a user will decide to listen to or ignore your podcast.
Your podcast title tells Google what your podcast is about. Therefore, it must be brief, clear and descriptive. First, there is a limited number of characters you can include in the title, so it would be best if you made grammatical sense while being as straightforward as possible. Your title must describe what your podcast is about, telling listeners precisely what they will learn from listening.
Meanwhile, meta descriptions and other metadata help Google and other podcast platforms better understand your content. For instance, the meta description must be clear and precise enough to provide additional information after the title, confirming the podcast’s content. To ensure that it remains relevant to your main keyword, use a minimum of one focus keyword in the description. Also, using tags enables people to discover your podcast while looking at specific categories and genres in audio platforms such as Google Podcasts, iTunes and SoundCloud.
3. Use Unique Keywords for Podcast Episodes
While a podcast’s title must use a focus keyword, every episode in a podcast should have a unique keyword related to the main keyword. Like with a blog where you have one main keyword (which the blog is focused on) and other unique keywords representing the primary keyword’s subtopics, a podcast should have unique keywords for each episode.
As discussed earlier, you need to conduct keyword research to identify the best unique keywords that will constitute your entire podcast’s structural foundation.
When starting, it can be beneficial to target long-tail keywords with low search volumes that are very specific within your particular niche. Once you’ve established authority in these micro-niches, you have a better chance of facing stiff competition from authoritative sites when targeting short keywords that have high search volume.
With time, the amount of podcast content will increase, so it’s necessary to have a well-structured system episode that makes the conversation sensible.
4. Podcast Link Building
Link building remains one of the most effective ways of increasing a website’s authority and traffic. A blog with link juice from different blogs appears to be of high quality and is favored by search engines. Incidentally, this also applies to podcasts. When several high-quality sites have links targeted towards a podcast, it signals to search engines that the podcast’s content is useful and of high quality.
To implement link building in podcasting, you can engage guests in conversations or interviews and request them to share the podcast with their audience. The best way to do this is by asking before the interview whether they are willing to direct their audiences through their blogs to the interview podcast. Having blogger and influential personalities in your podcast episodes can give you a significant boost in Google rankings. But to leverage this opportunity, you must build a reputation as a professional in your field of expertise. That’s the only way you can attract influencers in your field or industry.
5. Social Media Marketing
You can never underestimate the power of social media. While these platforms naturally lead to low-quality traffic, especially for bloggers, they can be instrumental when high-quality and viral content is involved. Whether video, blog or audio, such content is widely shared among social media users, contributing to a metric known as “social signal.” Search engines use it to gauge the most successful content.
When discussing highly controversial and emotional topics, take advantage of social media marketing to give you a boost in search engine rankings. All it takes is one episode going viral, and your podcast might receive thousands of new subscribers, launching you to the next level of success.
6. Build a Website and Additional Content
One of the biggest challenges with using large hosting platforms – for example, SoundCloud for podcasts, YouTube for videos and Instagram for photos – is that your content can be pulled down at any given moment if it violates the platform’s rules. But what if you need a way to express yourself without any limitations? Build your own website that can host your podcast and protect you from losing intellectual property.
Build a simple website using an easy platform such as WordPress and install podcast plugins such as Power Press to manage podcasts. You can include additional content that contributes to the best experience. For instance, you can provide a full transcription of the audio to serve your listener at moments when the audio is inaudible. This transcript can also be divided into notes with timestamps as titles for users who want to navigate to the exact point in time with the information they need.
For every episode in your podcast, use a unique image that differentiates the episode from others and enables users to share your content on image-sharing platforms easily. A worksheet or checklist can also suffice as a useful item, especially for users who are in a hurry and want to get the main tips without necessarily listening to the entire audio.
7. High-quality, Exciting and Engaging Content
The ultimate secret of ranking high on Google is producing high-quality content. This is a no-brainer for every content producer because Google is continuously improving its search engine to ensure it gives the best results to internet user search queries.
With the advancement of artificial intelligence technology, it can only mean that higher standards of quality continue to determine which content ranks high. Don’t produce podcasts just for the sake of it. Plan, create and review your podcasts and only post them on audio platforms when you feel they are of the best quality possible. Also, make them exciting and engaging to capture and maintain the attention of your listeners. Speaking in a monotone and using boring language can quickly turn off your listeners, resulting in high bounce rates, which signals to Google that the content is weak.
It is easy to assume podcasts are not as important as text and video in your content strategy. However, times have changed, and search engines are scanning audio files to identify high-quality content. Being ignorant prevents you from accessing a big audience out there waiting to learn through audio. The fact the 3 out of 4 podcast consumers in the U.S. enjoy tuning into podcasts to learn new things should tell you that podcast listeners are probably the most valuable fans you can have, especially when your content is mostly informational.