Back in 2019, when Google announced adding ‘playable’ podcasts in the search results, it changed the world of audio content forever!
Users could now simply search and play a podcast with a Google search alongside the usual sites, images, and videos you see on the SERP. This means Google was now showing results based on the content within a podcast episode instead of reading the title or metadata.
Now, in 2022, global podcast listeners have exponentially increased—and creators have the means to get their audio content to reach a new audience using audio SEO. Today, users can search for podcast recommendations by typing in a keyword instead of browsing the top-rated podcasts.
As for business owners and creators, this presents an excellent opportunity to level up their audio SEO and be the early movers in the game. They can significantly increase their reach and generate new revenue streams by tapping into these practices.
This article covers the basics of audio SEO, how it’s different from traditional SEO and why you need it as part of your SEO strategy.
What Is Audio SEO?
While traditional SEO aims to improve the visibility of web pages and websites with text-based content, audio SEO is for audio-based content.
It refers to the optimization best practices you can employ to improve your podcast ranking organically on search engines and podcast platforms. It ensures that your podcast is available for these platforms to crawl and index your audio content.
When you enter a search query on Google, it shows you a list of relevant podcasts in the form of a carousel. Depending on your query, these carousels could appear at various places in the SERP.
For example, when we looked up the term “future of SEO podcast,” Google fetched a few podcasts that talk about the given topic or have the keyword in the title or content.
On the other hand, when we entered the keywords “best crime podcasts” to look for recommendations in the crime category, we got a good number of recommendations popping on the featured snippet or position zero of the SERP.
Meanwhile, this is what the bottommost section of “related searches” looked like for this crime podcasts query we entered. Looks like Google left no stone unturned to introduce us to our next favorite crime podcast!
Audio SEO vs. Traditional SEO
When you think about it, there’s a lot of common ground between traditional SEO practices and Audio SEO.
- Both require a serious optimization in title and meta description to improve visibility
- Both highly depend on link-building and PR
- The foundation of both lay upon keywords research and competitor research
Sounds like the process is pretty much the same for audio content as what we’ve been doing for web pages, right?
No, the process varies in both cases. Let’s look at these differences.
An RSS feed is a document that has every information about the podcast episode—the title, description, link to audio files, and more. It has a public URL so anyone on the Internet can access it.
This RSS feed is what allows users to find your podcast and stream it on their favorite podcast apps. These apps and directories use the RSS feed to display the new episodes on their page automatically. You can get your RSS feed from your podcast host provider or create the code on your own.
Whenever you search for a podcast on Google, you either enter a search query that contains branded keywords for a podcast or type in the topic followed by the keyword ‘podcast.’
For example, while searching for “marketing school,” we got the podcast carousel for Marketing School Podcast in the SERP.
Similarly, when we entered “self-help podcast” in the search bar, we got a list of recommendations.
Audio Transcription Is The Real Deal
Audio SEO uses transcription to improve a podcast’s visibility on various podcast directories. Basically, the audio is converted into text, making it ideal for crawlers to read online. The more accurate the transcription is, the better the chances of your podcast ranking high!
Why Should You Care About Audio SEO?
As more and more of their customers listen to podcasts today, brands, creators, and marketers recognize the potential of audio content.
However, with rapid growth comes the great challenge of retaining, engaging, and attracting new audio listeners.
As of June 2022, the directory of Apple Podcasts added over 19,000 new podcasts over a month. This means it’s becoming significantly more challenging for a podcast to stand out in the sea of audio content. That’s where audio SEO acts as a game-changer for creators to make their podcasts reachable and visible in front of their audience.
Imagine what would happen if you crack audio SEO and implement its tactics with the right approach when it’s still in its infancy! No one can stop you from outranking your competitors and being the connoisseur of audio content in your industry. Reaching those many millions of active podcasts will just be a matter of time.
Moreover, investing in audio SEO as part of their marketing strategy will give marketers an edge to improve their clients’ ROI. The key is to begin surfacing answers to common questions through audio content and let Google quickly crawl rich audio results in the SERP as answers to these questions.
How Google Ranks Audio Content?
Google’s algorithm mainly functions by aligning the contents of a podcast with the users’ search intent. If a user looks up crime podcast recommendations, Google not only scans the title and description but also goes through the transcription to understand what the content is really about.
Let’s help you understand how Google Algorithm typically works once you enter a search query.
- Google associates your search intent with three categories of podcasts—popular shows, search category, and a feed of shows.
- Based on relevance, Google picks up episodes from each category and identifies episodes from each list.
- Google then ranks each of these episodes and presents it to the user.
- When creating audio content, try to pick evergreen topics, ones that your target audience is likely to search again and again.
- Split a longer episode into multiple smaller ones—because Google also selects episodes based on length. So, it’s more likely to recommend a shorter episode when the user searches for podcasts while commuting.
- Always organize topics by categories to make your episodes searchable and rankable.
Should You Transcribe MP3 To Text For Your Podcast Content?
Yes, we recommend that you transcribe your audio content instead of relying on Google. Of course, Google can also do that for you—but bots won’t do it with good accuracy, impacting your SEO reach and content accessibility. More importantly, you want to be in control of what’s going up on your site.
Luckily, there are tools available in the market that can transcribe mp3 to text for you in multiple languages and within a few minutes! The accuracy level of these tools is pretty high, improving your chances of ranking high.
This simplifies the transcription process and saves you hours of manually converting audio to text word-to-word.
Here’s how you can transcribe and optimize your podcasts.
- Download the audio file into your system.
- Run it through a transcription tool to get the textual version of it.
- Do competitive research for keywords and know what you’re going to target.
- Add the content to your site—by creating brand new content or embedding it into existing content.
- Optimize for SEO in metadata, H1 tags, alt tags, or any relevant schema.
- Make sure it’s indexed in the search console.
Best Practices For Audio SEO Optimization
SEO is a long-term game, and it could be a while before you actually start seeing some results. While you follow the technical nitty gritty’s of audio SEO, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Produce high-quality audio content: This involves using the right equipment and setting to ensure a world-class audio experience for your listeners.
- Leverage all streaming platforms: Users have different platform preferences when consuming audio content—and you want to be present everywhere your target audience is likely to look.
- One topic and keyword at a time: This makes it easier for the Google crawler to respond with your podcast episode whenever someone searches for the information online.
- Use searchable keywords in the title and description: They should clearly indicate what you’re going to discuss in the episode.
- Have a dedicated page for each episode: It should include links to your RSS feed, full episode transcription with timestamps, and schema markups to increase the chances of ranking.
Summing It Up
Currently, audio SEO may be uncharted territory, but due to the ever-growing demand for audio content, it presents immense growth opportunities for businesses.
So, if you’re looking to add audio content to your marketing, you may as well make it unmatchable to cut through the noise of the ever-growing audio content. Putting in efforts for audio SEO today will guarantee great returns in the not-so-distant future!