Why Podcast Hosts Need to Care About Search Engine Optimization

Would you be surprised if, on a podcast about podcasting, we talked about SEO? We are talking about Search Engine Optimization today because yes; it matters even for podcasters. That’s why in this episode we’re doing exactly that. I’m sharing why podcast hosts need to care about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

I started this conversation on The Podcast Newsroom. Before we get into more of this, I want to remind you that occasionally I start conversations there. We dig deeper into this show. 

Oftentimes if you want to be the first to know, if you want to hear what’s happening on my mind right now this month, the podcast newsroom is the way to go. If you’re not yet subscribed, make sure you are uncommonlymore.com/newsroom.

You can correct this misstep and get subscribed and not miss another one. I will have another one coming out next week. Make sure you are on the list. I’m stoked and I don’t want to do a big preamble for this episode and sort of, this is a statement, this intro.

In this episode, we’re going to talk about why podcasters have to care about search engine optimization. 

Why do podcasters need to care about SEO?

 It is no longer optional. It is really easy to give in to the misconception that search engine optimization is a blog problem or something you only need to worry about for your landing pages or your sales pages.

I chose an audio medium that I don’t have to care about that, right? In reality, search engine optimization is about content discoverability, right? It is the thing search engines are using to deliver the correct content to their actual consumer, which is the end-user. 

We don’t tend to think about SEO outside of the context of Google, and that’s a huge mistake. It is a huge mistake. It allows us to perpetuate this misinformation that SEO is a landing page thing. SEO is a copy problem. SEO is something that bloggers need to worry about.

Spoiler alert: Google is not the only web-based search engine for one. Two, search engines sometimes look different from Google. Sometimes they look like YouTube. Sometimes they look like Amazon, Audible, or Apple Podcast. Do you see where I’m going with this? Sometimes they look like Pinterest. Sometimes they look like TikTok. 

That’s right. All of these platforms are using text and keywords in text to get content in front of their end-user. Us, you, and me as content creators. You and I as people who are using words on the internet to get people to do something. We have to care about it in all of its forms.

I think the most interesting reason that podcast hosts need to care about SEO, it’s the cheapest way to extend the life of your episodes. 

It is the best bang for your buck to get new people to your show. I get really frustrated when I see podcast hosts business owners who are using their show to drive traffic to their offer. Spending, spending, spending on Facebook ads with little to show for it.

Because they’re driving traffic to a podcast episode, in hopes that the person they put the ad in front of is going to stop their day and go listen to a 20-minute plus podcast. I don’t even care to try to get them to listen to a five-minute podcast.

The return on that investment is going to be low, like really low. Because you’re asking. No, you’re paying to get someone, to maybe completely stop what they’re doing.

Long enough to not only see the ad but go listen to the 20-minute podcast and then be talked into doing the thing you have now built enough trust to get them to do. It’s usually getting them to the opt-in, best-case scenario. I have seen the scenario where it’s getting them to buy a $500, $1000, $1500, sometimes $2000 program on the back of this 20-minute podcast.

Then they get on my call sheet, and they ask me why it’s not working. In the future, I’ll send them this episode because this is why it’s not working. You are getting in front of people who are in no way open to hearing from you. No way. 

However, if we shift this and say, “Don’t pay month after month after month to get someone to run these ads and just even for DIY and the cost of the ads”. Instead, we invest some time and yes, maybe some money into making sure our content is clear in the question and answers. 

When people go into Google, Bing, or whatever search engine they may use, your content shows up. Also, if they go into podcast players, like Spotify and Apple podcast, Audible, Amazon music, whatever they want to call it today, Google podcast, whatever they’re calling that today, Overcast, whatever their preferred platform is.

They asked that same question. They search for a show like yours. Are they going to find your show? Even better, long after I’ve stopped investing the time. Yes, maybe money into having that done. It’s still working. It’s still driving listenership.

I want you to change the way you’re looking at Search Engine Optimization as a Podcaster. 

I’ve mentioned the search engines. I mentioned the podcast players earlier. I talked a little about Pinterest and TikTok and YouTube, which are social media platforms.

That’s right because when you go and you put your audiogram on Pinterest, you’re going to title it with the title of your show. You’re going to add a caption, giving them a description of what the show is going to be like. I would use the show description that you put in your podcast player, so you’re reusing this SEO content. Now you’ve got search results coming there. 

You could also put that up on TikTok. Make sure you’re optimizing that caption with a shorter version of that same description. You’re using those keywords that people are looking for in your content with a search engine.

That’s what the algorithm is. It’s built to deliver the content that the end consumer wants and it’s our job as the people putting the content in the machine to make sure that the algorithm can do that job with our content effectively. That means putting the right keywords. 

Right now, hear me talking about the waves in front of me on the screen as I record. They are not crawlable. The algorithm does not care about them. Guess why? The algorithm is not crawling them; the algorithm is unaware of them. As far as the algorithm is concerned, it does not exist.

I have to be doing more than putting a player and three sentences on my show notes page. I have to be doing more than uploading into my host and saying on this week’s show I interviewed Billy Bob. Because unless somebody searching for Billy Bob, I am out, oh look, right?

It’s critical that would we be more mindful. We are more present to the text or putting you on this because this part is valuable to the end listener, only if the end listener can find it.

There’s got to be some time, and some thought process put into these tools. 

Now that I have thoroughly, hopefully, convince you of the power of this. We’re going to be having more of these conversations as we move through the rest of this year and into next year because this is so important. It’s a big part of what we do. It is a big reason why we do the kind of show notes and the kind of production process we do for the shows that work with us that we do for this show because this stuff matters

Start improving your show notes, and start improving your podcast descriptions, by using SEO.

It’s time to start being mindful of the balance between getting them to click once they find it and getting them to find it at all. Often we think of these really cute, really clever episode titles that are so whimsical and so fun. We just know that our listeners and our community will immediately click on it because they get the inside joke that’s there.

That’s great. If the show is only exclusively for those people who are already indoctrinated enough that they get the inside joke. That’s when we sacrifice the discoverability of our show for cleverness to our already bought-in audience,

As you are preparing your episode titles for your episodes next month, for your episodes next quarter, whatever it may be. I want you to be looking at them through the filter of does this title make this episode easier to find and easier to identify as the answer to a question my audience might have?

There are a ton of tools that you can use for these. CoSchedule has a great headline tool that I adore. It will give you a headline score and an SEO score. Neither of these is like scientific numbers to the best of my knowledge, but it will give you a general idea of where you’re getting to. It’s a great place to start. It is a low-hanging fruit way to be paying attention to this. 

If you want to take it a step further. I want you to start thinking about the overall SEO quality of your show notes. 

Are you putting together something that is going to make it easier for your podcast to be discovered via Google? Via the Bang? Does anybody use Yahoo search anymore? I don’t know. DuckDuckGo? Whatever it may be.

Is this going to help that search engine? Put this episode in front of people. If all of these sound wildly overwhelming and something you have no interest in doing, make sure you’re talking to your podcast production team about it because they should be helping you with this.

For example, this is something we do with our clients. This is something we pay attention to with our clients. This is something that I have been and will continue to, for maybe ever get more and more training on because things change, things evolve. I want to encourage you to make sure if you have support with your show or you were getting support with your show. This is something they’re talking to you about. 

If it’s not something talking to you about or if it’s something that they’re saying doesn’t matter for podcasts, I would like you to run away. It doesn’t mean you have to run to me, although you’re welcome here. It does mean to run away because this has to be something that’s at least a part of the conversation as they are preparing your show notes and distribution pieces for your podcast. 

If you’d like our team to help you with this, we do have one more spot to start working with us in July. Head on over to uncommonlymore.com/podcastproduction. Make sure that spot belongs to you. I’ll talk to you very soon about what it looks like working with us, all right? Of course, I’ll see you next week.

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