iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast et al. share very little info — unsurprisingly — about how their algorithms and the back-end systems work with regards to search engine optimisation and keyword functionality so, as a proactive podcaster trying to reach the maximum organic audience, you have to tick all the SEO boxes possible, just to make sure that you give yourself — and your powerful podcast — the best chance of appearing for relevant searches.
Of course, things like your show name will have an impact on what words you rank for, but that’s not the only place that the words you choose matters.
Depending on the distribution software you’re using — whether it be Libsyn, Acast, Anchor, Buzzsprout, Podbean etc. — there will be a section where you can input your overall show info. This is a great place to make sure you include smart SEO terms and keywords that are relevant for your show. Now, you don’t want to use ‘black hat’ marketing tactics of simply spamming the description with keywords (as the show description will be pulled through to the individual platforms, so this is the actual wording that listeners will see on their podcast platform of choice) but you definitely do want to include words and phrases that include as many optimal keywords as possible.
For example, I want to make sure that my show Building The Brand (which you should definitely click on right now and listen to!) ranks for terms related to branding. So here is what my show description says:
“Hosted by multiple iTunes Top 10 podcaster James Burtt, Building The Brand (keyword) is in-depth conversations with the entrepreneurs (keyword), founders (keyword), marketing (keyword) and brand (keyword) experts, PR (keyword) specialists, CEO’s (keyword) and CMO’s (keyword) who have built some of the world’s most successful companies (keyword) and brands (keyword).”
Loads of keywords without being spammy.
You almost have to imagine you are writing this show info section with two target audiences in mind:
1. The listener
2. The algorithm
My show info goes on to say:
“The mission of the show is create a sense of inspiration and aspiration for our community of likeminded go-getters who are the influencers, innovators, creators, makers, builders, crafters and doers who form the next big wave of entrepreneurial success.”
Again, lots of keywords without it being a blatant spam attack on the reader.
Another place that can help with ensuring that you are ranking for relevant terms is your episode show notes. Show notes are an area that a lot of podcasters massively under-utilise… just sticking ‘In this episode I speak to XYZ and we discuss how to succeed in business’ is a wasted opportunity in terms of marketing your show and it is likely to mean you are missing chances to get found organically too.
Again, as the major platforms don’t share exactly where they pull the keywords and SEO from, it stands to reason that show notes will be used for ranking. Therefore, it is advisable to play the ‘pack the description with keywords, without being a spammer’ game.
As with any forward-facing marketing collateral (and be under no illusion, your show notes are a marketing message) you need to remember the basic premise of the famous AIDA marketing model; Attention / Interest / Desire / Action.
Attention — what is in it for the listener?
Interest — what does your show make them want to know or learn?
Desire — what ‘hooks’ can you use to make them click play, now.
Action — what do you want them to do next?
Another things that seems to be becoming increasingly powerful in show notes right now is backlinks. Linking to other web resources has always been a popular tactics for increasing the potency of Search Engine Optimisation and they are being more and more widely used in podcast show notes now too.
Here’s an example of episode show notes from my podcast so you can see how I do it (I’ll also create a separate blog about how to make the most of just the show note element of your show):
Hosted by multiple iTunes Top 10 podcaster James Burtt, Building The Brand is in-depth conversations with the entrepreneurs, founders, marketing and brand experts, PR specialists, CEO’s and CMO’s who have built some of the countries most successful companies and brands.
(NOTE — Very similar to the show description info that we mentioned earlier — packed with SEO phrase and keywords)
This week James gets to chat to inventor, designer, and founder of the world renowned travel brand Trunki, Rob Law MBE. Rob has just launched his first ever book which is part memoir, part business guide and part guidebook to success and during this podcast he openly shared the personal and business journey that he has been on with creating the much-loved Trunki brand.
(NOTE — AIDA-based guest description)
- How a trip to a department store birthed the idea of the Trunki
- Challenges of the first year in business; laughed off Dragons Den, banned product and supplier going bust
- Rob’s proudest Trunki moment
- Why Rob has stepped out of the business 2 days a week
- Being told his product was ‘worthless’ on Dragons Den
(NOTE — Bullet points allow you to share lots of interest-building highlights of the show without having to write a novel about each podcast!)
Rob’s new book 65 Roses and a Trunki is out now and — according to host James — is a genuinely brilliant read. Part motivational, part inspirational, real-world business acumen from a guy that has done well and continues to do so.
(NOTE — Backlinks are important because it helps search engines to determine how authoritative and relevant your content is on the topic for which you rank. Furthermore, backlinks are a signal to search engines that other external websites are endorsing your content.)
So, all the above makes sense right? Fairly standard SEO and keyword info…. but here is where it gets more interesting; Google is now using AI technology to ‘listen’ to your podcast as a way of quickly and efficiently categorise audio content too. Think of this as ASEO - Audio Search Engine Optimisation
Now, I am NO tech wizard (and I am happy for anyone to critique, adjust, laugh at the below info) but it seems that the basic premise is for this technology to use a ‘Natural Language API’ to transcribe the spoken words within the podcast into a written format and then assess that transcript against the show notes that you have created. So, in effect, the AI is listening to the audio and deciding if that lines up with what you are putting in the episode notes i.e. does the audio content match the summary you’re including in your notes. Wow, Big Brother is listening as well as watching now!
So, one very basic top tip to make sure that your audio and written summaries align might be to make sure that you actually say the ‘mission statement’ of your show at the start of each episode.
For example, in the case on my show, it could be beneficial to start each episode with “Hello and welcome to Building The Brand, hosted by me, James Burtt, where each week I have in-depth conversations with the entrepreneurs, founders, marketing and brand experts, PR specialists, CEO’s and CMO’s who have built some of the world’s most successful companies and brands”
That would be a very simple way to ensure audio content and written content are aligned.
Now, don’t get wrong, spending hours on show notes is not going to guarantee you an instant influx of organic audience from all corners of the earth, but I class this sort of thing as a “1% activity” — it might make 1% difference to the reach, impact and audience of your show… but lots of 1% improvements add up when compounded.
Thanks for reading this podcast (keyword) expert (keyword) blog (keyword) about the power and impact of utilising basic marketing (keyword) and SEO (keyword) tactics to improve your powerful podcast!