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You are probably already aware that podcasts are increasingly popular. What you may not know is that this type of content has started to impact Google searches as thousands and thousands of users search for their favorite programs on the search engine.
This raises the question: Is it possible to optimize your podcasts so that they are ranked at the top of search results?
The answer is yes! There is even a technique for it: audio SEO.
If you create podcasts and want to know how to optimize your audio content for search engines and place them on the first search page, keep reading this article.
Before you can understand what audio SEO is, first you need to understand the concept of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
This digital marketing technique consists of a series of practices that make specific sites appear on Google’s results page when a user searches for specific terms.
These optimizations show search engine algorithms that your content is relevant, is of high quality, and can answer the searcher’s questions.
The more quality a certain piece of content has, the better positioned it will be in the SERP (Search Engine Page Result).
What is audio SEO?
Audio SEO is an array of optimization tactics and podcast SEO best practices used to boost audio podcast rankings and file rankings within top search engine results. If you want to get a podcast rank higher, you can boost podcast ratings and make your podcast searchable with proper audio SEO.
This might sound confusing; after all, Google doesn’t “listen” to the audio. So, how does the company’s algorithm index podcasts? That’s what we’ll find out below.
During the Google I/O 2019, an annual event for developers, the company announced that it would start displaying podcasts in search results soon.
Shortly after that April event, it began to be possible to see this type of results for searches made in English.
At first, this innovation might seem quite trivial. After all, now the platform would start to suggest podcasts among the results, as it already does with other types of content.
But the innovation turned out to be more revolutionary than it seemed. The announcement indicated that Google will not start to index podcast content in search results, similar to what it does with videos.
For example, when you search “how to swim,’ the first suggested result is a video with a timestamp that answers the question:
In video suggestions in the results, Google points out the excerpt in which the search question is answered. In the example above, the exact answer to the question, “how to swim” is stated at the 82-second mark of the clip.
Logically, in order to be able to suggest the moment when a question is answered in a video, this means that the content’s audio must be transcribed by Google automatically. In other words, it’s natural to believe that this technology will do the same with podcasts.
And this is exactly what Google says it will start doing very soon.
However, in practice this raises a number of questions, especially for those who work with the production of content.
The main question is how these results will be displayed. We still don’t know if users will see the indication of audio files in which the searched term is located or the transcribed text of the content.
This represents a change in the SEO routine of many businesses. From now on, professionals need to worry about indexing their own podcasts in addition to voice searches.
Finally, we can arrive at the initial question: how to create an audio SEO and place your podcasts on Google’s first search page.
If you already have a content production strategy in place, you won’t have any problems expanding it into podcasts. The golden rule of SEO is still in effect: offer relevant content and a good user experience.
Although audio SEO deals with a different content format, the SEO work is the same.
Overall, audio files cannot be indexed by search engines. As we said earlier, Google does not actually “listen” to the content.
This occurs because the language ‘spoken’ by search algorithms is written text.
Basically, audio SEO consists of associating text to your podcasts. Thus, these services will be able to identify your content’s theme and classify it correctly.
This process can be divided into two sections:
- Description: Describe your audio’s content in detail
- Transcription: Convert the podcast audio into text.
You have probably already put the first method into practice, since not all podcast platforms allow the publishing of content without a title or summary.
On the other hand, the audio transcript takes more time, and therefore, this strategy is rarely used by content producers. It’s one of the most efficient.
You’ll see in detail below how to apply each of the two audio SEO techniques to your podcasts:
Before you listen to any podcast, you likely glance at the title and the description, right?
Just like a video, this gives you a sense of the theme being covered, and if the podcast is relevant to your personal or professional interests.
With this concept in mind, the first audio SEO task is to use the title and description strategically.
The title is the first thing that your audience will see, even before they listen to your podcast. Therefore, it needs to summarize the content’s subject efficiently.
Generally speaking, the title must be:
- Relevant to your audience. Your audience is looking for information on a certain subject or wants to learn something new. Try to recognize your audience’s interests and needs and use this knowledge to write a title that attracts their attention.
- Summarize the audio’s theme. Nobody wants to spend an hour listening to a podcast just to find out if the content is what they’re looking for or not. So use the title to tell potential listeners, in a few characters, what your content is about.
The description serves as a short summary of your podcast, telling your audience a little about what will be covered in the audio, as well as presenting additional information.
This space is perfect for exploring the keywords you want to rank.
For example, let’s suppose that you produce a series of podcasts about imported wines. In each episode’s description, you can list topics with the name of the wines mentioned, the history of the wineries, the country where the wine is produced and any other information you consider relevant for your audience.
The important thing is to make it clear to listeners what they can expect when they listen to your podcast. Moreover, by inserting relevant information in the description, you allow search engines to understand the theme covered by your content.
Another way to boost an audio file’s SEO in top search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, and Bing is to provide timestamp details for all of your audio files. Timestamps can be used to identify certain information, content, and words that are spoken at a particular point in an audio file or podcast that you upload and share.
Timestamps are not only useful for pointing users in the right direction when they are searching for specific content, but they can also help with boosting your audio SEO and podcast SEO within search engines and audio libraries or digital directories.
Tags, although shorter than the title and description, offer your users a good overview of the themes that will be covered in the podcast and also your program. In addition, these terms are a great tool to keep your content organized.
Use relevant terms, such as keywords that you wish to rank, preferably by mixing more specific with more generic terms. In addition, don’t overdo the number of tags so as not to suffer any penalty by the search engines.
The audio SEO tips above are a great initial step. However, going beyond and ensuring the much-anticipated first page, you need to transcribe your audio.
It’s easy to understand why this is so efficient. With an online podcast transcript, you ensure that the exact words spoken in the content will be indexed by the search engines.
This simple attitude can work miracles, greatly increasing the chances of your podcasts being discovered by users. After all, you’ll be speaking the same language as the algorithms!
If you’re imagining that it will be a lot of work to transcribe all of your podcasts, don’t despair. Nowadays, artificial intelligence technologies provide automatic transcripts. Although this technology still doesn’t produce perfect results (but is increasingly improving), it’s a big help for those creating audio SEO.
But this isn’t the only advantage of transcribing your audio files. By doing so, you also feed your other brand’s channels. You can post the transcript on your blog, website, or any other exclusive platform. You can even make money with it!
Imagine, for example, that you have a series of free podcasts teaching a foreign language to your audience. At the same time, you can make a file available with the audio transcript only for your website’s registered members.
The possibilities are endless.
Therefore, start putting audio SEO strategies into practice right now. Keep in mind that this is still a relatively new trend and therefore, innovations will appear all the time. Ultimately, the rule is to always stay up to date with your technology and search options.
Another way to hone in on the search engine optimization of your podcast is to repurpose your podcast into blog posts. Along the same lines as transcribing your podcasts, using your website’s official blog or social media pages is a great way to maximize your reach and online visibility. Using additional platforms to share the content that is discussed in your audio podcasts can significantly help improve your podcast SEO while allowing search engines the ability to find your website and podcast links.
If you choose to repurpose your podcast into blog posts, keep the following tips in mind:
- Use translation tools: Use translation and transcribing tools to ensure that your podcasts are transcribed as accurately as possible. You can also use translation tools if you intend to reach an international audience and want to do so with your podcast transcriptions and your official blogs.
- Use proper headers and descriptions: Always implement relevant headers and descriptions that align with your podcast’s content that has been transcribed.
- Internet and external links matter: Help boost your blog’s SEO by ensuring that your blog posts include internal links to other podcast transcriptions you have posted on your website. You can also share external links to statistics, verified studies, or other relevant information to help boost your website and podcast SEO.
In order to scale your podcast as much as possible, you will need to take your platform seriously. To do so, consider using Google Podcasts Manager to claim and manage your own podcast from one location. Google Podcasts Manager provides the following tools and features to help monitor and grow any podcast you host, from a political podcast to a podcast covering true crime. Some notable features of Google Podcasts Manager include:
- Data and analytics: Collect data in real-time to learn more about which of your podcast episodes perform the best and attract the most listeners. Learn how long listeners tune in, along with the total listens your podcast show receives in any set period of time. Use collected data to create better-performing podcasts for searches.
- Reach: Google Podcasts Manager provides insights into your listeners and target audience while assisting with tips and search term guidance to maximize your online reach.
- Cost: Google Podcasts Manager is free and does not require hosting, marketing, or equipment costs to get started.
Speaking of SEO, how about learning how to optimize your podcast content for revenue generation? Learn how to make money podcasting today!