The Importance of SEO for Podcasters: Growing Your Audience Online

SEO is defined as strategies, techniques, and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page or SERP. These same methods can be applied in efforts to increase the rankings of podcasts in platforms such as Spotify and Apple. By doing so, the podcast becomes more visible to users and has a higher chance of obtaining organic traffic.

Podcasting has proved to be an essential content format in 2021 and beyond. It allows everyone from rising influencers to well-established entrepreneurs to tell stories and share knowledge without the need for video, making it convenient for both the creator and the consumer.

Benefits of SEO for Podcasters

Even if your podcast is already successful and has a large audience, you can use SEO service to go after a wider audience. It is highly likely that there is a segment of your target audience that is not yet listening to your show. These people may be searching for information that your podcast provides, but since it does not come up in their search they do not find out about it. SEO can help you to reach these people and grow your audience.

Increased visibility in search engines: Podcasts are only recently beginning to show up in search results, and the field is not very crowded. It is much easier to get on the first page of results with a podcast than with a website. If your podcast shows up on a low-ranked but highly relevant search result, that may be enough to attract a new listener.

SEO can be a very effective tool for increasing the visibility of your podcast and building your audience. There are a number of clear and tangible benefits to podcast SEO.

Increased Visibility in Search Engines

When people start a blog or a website, they are usually driven by an inherent passion for the topic that they are discussing. However, with regards to podcasters, it is often the case that they believe wholeheartedly in the value of their content to potential listeners. A key way to turn this belief into increased traffic to their site is to increase its visibility in search engines. When people search for a specific topic, you want your podcast to be one of the top results, so they click on your site as opposed to another, knowing that the topic and discussion is directly related to what they were searching for. This is actually an aspect that many podcasters may not have considered, and it is highly relevant for those who are very entrepreneurial and really want to market their content to a wider audience.

The primary and most basic aspect of SEO is to make your website search engine friendly. By that, I mean how can you be found by people who are searching for your content via search engines like Google or Yahoo? At the end of the day, you want to have your site listed as close to the top of the search results as possible when people search for the relevant keywords.

Targeted Audience Reach

Podcasts cater to a variety of audiences with a plethora of interests and concerns. By targeting the audience, podcasters build a regular audience. This builds a loyal following, making the podcaster’s job more rewarding. Traditional forms of advertising and public relations are less effective when not targeted at the right demographic. Podcasters have a target audience and SEO can help them reach them. Traditional forms of Internet marketing can be quite costly and are often not an option for a podcaster. Podcasting rates of return are much lower than the costs of many marketing campaigns. With SEO, podcasters can reach a highly targeted audience for a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. SEO can be a doubly effective form of marketing since the user is already online. Podcasts with a website can convert a visitor into a listener instantaneously.

Higher Ranking in Podcast Directories

By making your podcast site as readable and indexable as possible by the search engine spiders, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of achieving a high search engine ranking. An important, but often overlooked aspect of SEO is ensuring that your site is easy to index. If your site has Flash media, JavaScript, or other forms of dynamic content, you need to make sure that all these can be fully and accurately indexed by the search engine spiders. If this is not possible, the SEO implications need to be carefully weighed up against the aesthetic and functional aspects of your site. Though it is widely acknowledged that most search engine use consists of people searching for information or products, it’s also a fact that a large percentage of searches are specifically aimed at finding websites to help pass the time. This can often include finding directories for the specific item of interest, which in our case is always likely to be related to your podcast. It has been said that all forms of traditional advertising are essentially an attempt to influence a consumer’s search for a particular product. It can be said that attaining a high ranking in podcast directories through SEO would have a similar effect. Finally, and most importantly, the whole concept of search engine optimization is to increase the volume of free traffic to your site. By ensuring that your podcast site is highly ranked in the search engines for topics relating to your podcast, you will no doubt find a significantly increased amount of visitors finding their way to your site through search engines.

Key SEO Strategies for Podcasters

Keyword research and optimization are highly important to making your podcast more searchable and increasing exposure to a wider audience. Castaneda suggests that dedicated keywords with higher search volume and lower competition is a good SEO tactic. Tools such as the Google Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Explorer are popular for digging up new keywords to target. Once you’ve decided on a keyword to target, help optimize your podcast by including the keyword in the episode title, description, and tags. Everything being equal, a keyword-optimized podcast will generally outrank a non-optimized podcast. A common beginner’s mistake is to use an excessive amount of keywords in hopes of increasing searchability. It’s important to write for humans first and search engines second. Keyword stuffing can lead to penalization from search engines and encourage users to avoid the podcast due to bad content.

There are several SEO strategies that podcasters can use to grow their audience online. Utilizing these strategies will allow podcasters to increase the likelihood of their content being found by search engines and subsequently by more listeners. Here are some key strategies:

Keyword Research and Optimization

Using the correct keywords in your podcast is one of the most important aspects of good search engine optimization. The benefits of having your podcast correctly optimized for search engines can be huge. People will have a better chance of finding your podcast when searching for a specific topic. This could result in your podcast gaining a new loyal listener. Optimizing your podcast with the best keywords will also attract the right kind of audience. For example, if your podcast is about modern rock music and you use “rock music” as a keyword, your podcast may be listed amongst classic rock music podcasts, which is not your target audience. However, if you were to use “modern rock music,” it would be much more specific and you will be likely to attract the right audience. The last benefit of keyword optimization is without a doubt the most important. Good keyword phrases will improve the search engine ranking of your podcast. This is because search engines will determine your podcast is more relevant than others to the specific keyword phrase. There are a few different techniques and tips to consider when researching the best keywords for your podcast. First, you must put yourself in the shoes of your potential audience. Determine what keyword phrases they are likely to use and then try to incorporate those phrases into your own. You must also consider the amount of other content out there that is competing with that keyword. Using a very broad keyword will result in your podcast being near the bottom of the search results, and this is not good. An effective way to determine the strength of a keyword is to use “quotes” in a search engine and see how many results come up. A specific keyword will have fewer results. You must also not forget misspelled words and phrases. Many people will mistype when doing a search, and you want to be as inclusive as possible. Lastly, you might want to consider localized keywords. If you are trying to attract a local audience, incorporating local keywords can be very effective.

Optimizing Podcast Titles and Descriptions

Podcasters should focus the majority of their SEO efforts on optimizing titles, as this is the key to getting your episode to rank highly in the iTunes search results. This is the very first meeting between your content and potential subscribers, so it’s important to be both accurate and persuasive. With the large number of podcast episodes available on a given topic, you want to make sure your episode stands out. Podcast titles and author tags are given more weight in search algorithms than keywords in episode content. Your episode title has a lot of competition, so it’s important to be both accurate and unique. Place yourself in the shoes of your target audience, what are they interested in? What are they searching for? High-ranking search results come from the insight gained by understanding your target audience, and providing content to match their needs. This is where the research done in Step 1 will play a major role. Adapting an effective title will depend on the knowledge gained about popular search terms in your target audience’s vernacular. The second part of the title optimization process is the episode author tag. This step is particularly important for new content. An iTunes search will yield a list of episodes, not podcasts. You want to do everything possible to ensure that people who use your episode as an access point to your podcast will become subscribers. A subscribing listener is a returning listener. By adding the podcast name to the episode author tag, you increase the likelihood that the listener will be able to easily identify where the episode came from. This makes it easier for the listener to locate your podcast the next time they are searching for new content.

Creating Transcripts for SEO

There are several additional benefits to creating a transcript for a podcast. It helps those with hearing difficulties better understand the content of the podcast and can also be used as a learning tool or study notes for educational podcasts. Some people may just prefer to have a transcript to read along in accompaniment to the audio, so they can listen and then read or vice versa.

Transcripts are a way to improve the search engine friendliness of your podcasts. Transcripts are textual versions of the spoken word within a podcast. They use the keywords selected and provide a great source of text for the search engines to crawl. Transcripts can also be syndicated to various document-sharing sites to provide authoritative inbound links to the podcast shown as an audio file. Generally, the more content you have for a search engine to crawl, the better, and transcripts contribute a large amount of content.

Building High-Quality Backlinks

The best way to create backlinks is by creating great content. This may sound patronizing, but it really is the simplest way to encourage people to give you backlinks. Great content gets talked about, and there’s no better way to build backlinks than by having something go viral. Viral content can be a podcast, blog, video or anything where people can easily link to you. Infographics are great for generating easy backlinks as people can simply embed them into their own site with the HTML code that you provide.

Just like everything with SEO, it’s not a quick or easy task. Beware of companies that promise to give you hundreds of backlinks in a few days, quality always wins over quantity. You should instead focus your energy on creating one way backlinks on webpages with similar content to your own. This can be achieved through creating link bait; something so useful, interesting or unique that people will want to link to it from their own website.

Building links is extremely important for SEO, and is an area where a lot of podcasters fall short. An easy way to think of a link is as a ‘vote’ for your website. The more votes or ‘backlinks’ you have, the more authority your site has. Increasing your authority is essential for moving up the search engine rankings.

Best Practices for SEO Success

Utilizing social media platforms has become a prevalent method of increasing SEO. When content is shared on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Digg, it may “go viral” and spread rapidly across many other sites and blogs. If this happens and there are numerous links back to your website from the shared content, it will greatly increase your PageRank and thus increase your search rankings. Social media also helps to bring in a different kind of traffic to your website and can increase brand awareness and loyalty. As a podcaster, social media is also a great way to connect with your fans and take on feedback.

Consistent content creation can mean anything from making sure new content is being put on your website to podcasting regularly. This is important because the more content you release, the more likely your website is going to be found on search engines. This is due to the keywords used in your content being indexed to your website, and the more keywords you use in your content, the more keywords you’ll have in the search index from your site, which makes it more likely that your site will get found.

Now that we have discussed the basics of SEO and its significance to podcasters, we shall move on to the more complex techniques used in optimizing your podcast. From here on out, we shall assume that you are knowledgeable in the operation of search engines and general SEO concepts.

Consistent Content Creation

Another good opportunity for consistent content creation is creating relevant articles or blog posts for your intended audience. Post these on the site and also shop them around to other similar sites, asking to leave a link at the bottom of the post. This does well using the strategy of backlinking and can bring new traffic if the content is posted on a more popular site. This also gets into our next topic of social media, as often times these articles can be posted through different social media channels to help promote your site.

Realistically, it is best to update your site as much as possible. However, even the most dedicated webmasters may find this difficult. Instead, a more achievable goal is to set a target on the amount of new content to add to the site over a given period of time. Whether this is daily, weekly, or monthly, just make sure it is possible to achieve and stick to it.

The key to SEO is consistency. It is easier to show constant growth in the number of referrals to a website that has a stream of fresh content than one that has remained static. A website that adds new content on a regular basis will find Google and other search engines will visit and re-index the site more often. This can mean that any new pages can be added to the search engines’ indices quicker than sites that are updated less frequently. The bottom line is that the more content you have, the more traffic you will bring to your site, and deploying new content will give your site another opportunity to target a new set of keywords.

Utilizing Social Media Platforms

Podcasters should also make use of social media platforms in order to effectively market their podcasts, utilizing tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to cultivate a community of listeners around their podcast. Podcast owners should also take advantage of podcast/blog directories and socialize with other podcasters in their genre. This practice is especially effective for creating inbound links to your podcast web page or iTunes download location. It’s really a simple process of searching and socializing with other podcasters in your genre and kindly asking for a link swap or putting their link on your web page in return for putting your link on their website. Be careful not to engage in link spamming techniques as getting your link on unrelated sites can be detrimental to your search ranking. A good way to increase awareness and interest in your podcast is to participate in forums and online communities relating to your podcast’s subject matter. In essence, podcast SEO strategy is no different than SEO strategies for text-based websites. It is important to keep in mind that search engine optimization does not deliver instant gratification; rather it is a gradual process of implementing best practices and continually monitoring and analyzing your performance to make informed adjustments. Just as creating a quality podcast takes time and effort, increasing search engine visibility and attracting new listeners takes patience and persistence.

Monitoring and Analyzing SEO Performance

When it comes to creating and maintaining a successful podcast, the work does not end after pressing ‘stop’. Once a podcast has been uploaded, it is important to consider the ways that your audience will find your content. The process of search engine optimization, or SEO, is crucial to making sure that your podcasts are not only discovered by new audience members, but easy to stumble upon again. SEO is all about trial and error. Different things work for different people. The key is to see what is working and what is not. Steps were taken in the previous section to ensure that our podcasts were search engine friendly by creating a feed and submitting it to iTunes. What is important now is to see if these steps actually led to more traffic on our site. This leads to the importance of monitoring one’s SEO performance. Monitoring SEO performance is a matter of seeing if changes have led to improvement. Are more people visiting the website now than two months ago? How did they arrive at the site? What did they search to get there? These are all important questions to consider in determining the success of SEO. Thankfully there are many web analytic tools at a podcaster’s disposal that can help to answer these questions. One of the most popular and efficient is Google Analytics, which can give you a thorough insight on the visitors to your website. Google Analytics is a free tool that shows you the activity happening on your website in real time. The overview tab shows how many visitors you are getting, where they are coming from, and what they are looking at. More specific info can be found in the other tabs, such as demographics, interests, and what device the user is accessing the website from. All of this information can be useful in anything from tweaking a keyword to creating a whole new podcast. Google Analytics also has a tab strictly for organic search activity. This can show you the exact search terms that people are entering to get to your website, and which of those terms led to the most traffic. This is crucial information, as it lets you see if the keywords you are aiming for are of any benefit. If the search terms that are leading to your website do not match up with the content on your page, it may suggest that you need to alter the content or the keywords. The most important part of Google Analytics for SEO monitoring is setting up goals. This can be anything from a visitor viewing a certain page, to downloading a podcast, to filling out a contact form. Once a goal is set, analytics can show how often the goal is being met and what the user did before meeting this goal. If a goal is not being often met, this can raise a red flag, signifying that changes might need to be made to your content or SEO strategy.

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