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Podcasts Have a Spotlight in Google Search – Here’s How to Make Sure Yours Shines

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Prior to this, SEO hasn’t been a priority for podcasters. In pursuit of searchability, that mindset will likely have to change.

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There’s a great deal to love about podcasting: the depth with which they can report on a topic, the exposure they provide for rising creators and talent, and the communities they can build of loyal listeners and devotees. But they can’t do any of this unless people can find them. And after years of struggling with this problem, podcast discovery is about to get easier…with the help of Google.

The search giant announced last week that individual podcast episodes will now be a part of Google Search results, appearing alongside relevant images, news, and videos on a given topic. This means that a standout episode of a show on, say, avocados, could show up when someone searches for avocados—even if the search query doesn’t include the word “podcasts.” Is your show ready for this kind of spotlight? As your discovery looms, we have a few tips for you to ready your podcast for search:

Maximize Your Metadata

Whereas we’re accustomed to being diligent about metadata on webpages and with blog posts, it’s a bit easier to let it fall to the wayside with podcasts. But now that search can help users surface relevant content, creators and producers simply can’t afford to overlook this crucial information. The Bello Collective’s Wil Williams outlines the points that you should be most concerned about as you prepare your podcast for prime time:

Metadata is one of the least exciting parts of making a podcast, but it’s so important both for new listeners and continuing listeners […] There are three issues I usually see with podcasters’ metadata: their episode titles, their podcast’s official title, and their show notes.

By addressing these three points, you can make your episodes more attractive (literally and figuratively) to a search engine. Number your episodes intuitively, so users who go into an episode as a “one-off” can catch up easily, connect your podcast title to a larger topic, and ensure that show notes feature key words to maximize SEO. That last bit is more important now than ever.

Take Time for Transcription

Not long ago, we cited transcripts as a valuable tool for accessibility, newsworthiness, and search engines. That last point has become more essential than ever with the introduction of searchability of these shows:

As SEO continues to move away from “keyword stuffing” as a viable or acceptable practice, it instead looks for natural, frequent occurrences that can show a page’s relevance to a search term. Incidentally, regular speech does this well.

Having transcripts available for your show makes it easier for listeners to understand and truly digest the material, but they’re also essential for spelling out just how relevant an episode or series is to the query at hand. It may add time, effort, and additional cost to the production schedule, but the increased eyes (well, ears) on your work will be worth it.

Delicate Connection to Brand

At times, branded podcasts can be structured in a way that assumes that listeners are familiar with the associated product, service, or company. But now that discovery can come from other places, it’s likely that you’ll attract an audience who isn’t automatically familiar. In these instances, it will be key to lean on the expertise and utility of your brand…but not so much that a lack of knowledge would confuse a listener.

How can you convey your desired message without jargon or “insider knowledge”? How can you demonstrate value without too strong of a branded message? Again, the need to provide valuable content before making a sell was once the goal of our written content; the same also needs to be true of audio content. Doing so thoughtfully can earn you listeners who may have stumbled into the proverbial booth, but like what they hear and choose to stay.

Google is currently in the process of indexing millions of shows and episodes, and the results will determine how shows appear in search. By ensuring that metadata is complete, transcripts highlight your show’s utility, and your brand plays a supporting role in your content, you stand a chance of making it to the top of the heap…and your product or service along with it.

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