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Audio SEO: Optimizing Your Podcasts for Search

Audio SEO for Podcasts

It’s no secret that SEO is essential to successful blog posts and social media content. But what about podcasts? Is there such a thing as audio SEO?

The answer is most definitely yes, thanks to Google. In mid-2019, Google developed the ability to scan audio files to rank them for relevance, and the technology is improving all the time. Now, you can see podcasts in your Google search results alongside videos, images, website content and more. And people who aren’t necessarily searching for a podcast — in other words, not including “podcast” in their search term — can find yours in search results.

When you optimize your podcasts for search, you focus on keyword planning for both audio and written content. Some of the best practices for audio SEO are the same you’re accustomed to using for text, while other SEO strategies are specific to audio. Follow these SEO best practices for getting your podcasts heard — and read — by a larger audience.

Set Up Your Podcasts to be SEO-Friendly 

High-quality content is the most important strategy for optimizing your podcasts for search, just as with any content that finds success on the Internet. No matter what your SEO strategy, podcast listeners will stick around to hear more only if what you’re offering is well put together and meets their needs. While good SEO will draw a crowd, high-quality content will keep them coming back. And the quality of your content is one of Google’s criteria for ranking your podcast content. 

In addition to this, keep in mind the following characteristics of SEO-friendly podcasts as you’re planning and developing your content:

Episodes and Segments

The more episodes your podcast has, the more content will be available to show up in various searches. Similarly, episodes that are divided into segments — like headings in a blog post — are more searchable when you use targeted keyword phrases to introduce each segment.

Shorter Podcast Episodes

People prefer to digest content in bite-size chunks, so a shorter episode may be more likely to attract listeners. Also, producing shorter episodes but more of them means you’ll have more podcasts for Google to consider in its search engine rankings.

Quality Audio

In order for podcasts to be searchable, they must be transcribed. So it’s important to have quality audio that’s easy to transcribe. Google Podcasts, for instance, uses transcription software to automatically transcribe your podcasts. If your audio isn’t clear, there’s a chance the hard work you put into finding the right keywords and creating your quality content won’t pay off.

Keyword-dense Titles and Descriptions

Before your podcast airs and can be transcribed, you still have some text real estate to work with for rankings. This includes your podcast author, guests, show title, episode title, description and alt text for images. Make good use of your keywords in as many of these aspects as make sense. And never keyword stuff. Google frowns on this practice.

Expert Guests

When you invite guests to your podcast who are thought leaders and experts in the industry, the quality of your content escalates. Having a well-known name attached to your podcast will also boost its SEO as people search for information about that person.

Develop a High-Quality Podcast Voice

Using a good podcast voice not only facilitates quality audio for transcription software, but it also helps create engaging audio content that appeals to your audience. Follow these tips to develop a high-quality podcast voice:

  • Slow down while you’re speaking. Try to think of your content as more of a conversation with your audience than an announcement or presentation.
  • Speak at a volume that sounds confident and is pleasant to listen to. Too soft may sound dull, while too loud may be harsh and unappealing.
  • Develop good storytelling skills. Storytelling involves an interest-grabbing hook, vivid details, a definite point and elements like humor, suspense and intrigue.
  • Enunciate. Be sure you pronounce your words well and avoid mumbling or trailing off at the end of sentences.
  • Use pauses to capture the attention of your listeners. This also gives them time to properly digest your message. 
  • Be aware of how to communicate your emotions through your voice. Softer tones indicate empathy, while higher pitches reveal excitement. And smile. People can hear you smiling as you speak.

Transcribe Your Podcast Audio Files

To transcribe your podcast, you can either do it yourself, utilize software or hire a person or service. DIY podcast transcribing can take a great deal of time, but it gives you full control over how you may want to change your content. To make the process go faster, use transcription software or even free tools like Google Docs voice typing or the Google Recorder app. Or save the most time and effort by hiring a freelance transcriber or a transcription service.

Regardless of which option you choose, remember that it’s vital to take this step in order to optimize your podcasts for search. Be sure to insert keyword-dense headings and insert long-tail keywords where they may not have been in your original audio files.

Repurpose as Blog Posts and More

Once your podcast is transcribed, the sky’s the limit on how you can repurpose and promote your content to get the most out of it. Create an SEO-friendly blog post to drive traffic to your website, products and services. Summarize your podcast on your social media accounts, and add a link to your podcast. Post your podcast to YouTube with a related image, or create video or still footage to go along with the narration of your podcast. Add your podcast transcription to the video description.

You can also take audio bites from your podcast, add an image, and post as stories on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Twitter Moments. Add transcribed podcasts to your email marketing newsletters. And you can also leverage live stream and video platforms like Twitch and TikTok by capturing video of your podcast as you’re recording it. The more you repurpose, the more your podcast is optimized for a variety of searches and platforms.

Upload to Google Podcasts and Podcast Apps

Google Podcasts is one of the most searched podcast applications, so it makes sense that your podcast episodes should live there. Your audience can access it from the Web as well as on their Android and iOS devices. And with the popularity of podcasts increasing, many additional podcast apps are in Google Play and the App Store. Optimize the searchability of your podcast by uploading episodes to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Breaker, Castbox, Podbeam and other options.