Podcasts rise in popularity. 44% of Americans have listened to podcasts at least once in their life, while 73 million Americans listen to them monthly, according to Edison Research. In fact, there are more podcast listeners than Catholics.
The main reason for such popularity is that podcasts are convenient. 77% of Americans have a smartphone. We are used to consuming information all the time, however, sometimes we don't have enough time to read. Podcasts are a great solution because people can listen to them while driving to work, running or having lunch.
Available on iTunes at first, now podcasts are now also available on Player.fm, Stitcher and many other platforms. Given the growing popularity of the audio format, there's no surprise that online marketers explore the advantages of podcasting for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is aimed to make your website more visible and accessible on Google and other search engines. Not only does podcasting allow you to add new relevant content that will be appreciated by people who don't have much time to read articles, but it also gives you an opportunity to use more links, driving traffic to your website. Total podcast advertising expenses are expected to grow from $316m to $500m by 2020, according to Web FX, with CPM varying from $15 to $30 for typical podcasts and reaching $100 in the case of top podcasts.
Podcasting and SEO
Benefits of podcasts for producers and consumers are rather obvious, however, they also offer great opportunities for advertisers and SEO experts. You can include your advertisements in somebody else's podcasts or create your own podcast from scratch and watch how your textual and audio content work hand in hand, increasing traffic and bringing more profit.
First, you can use podcasts to share your expertise with the targeted audience. In addition, it's an opportunity to create new pages on the website where you'll discuss the podcast. Different types of content allow you to reach out to more people, using various marketing techniques. For example, you can promote your podcast using emails while also encouraging your listeners to subscribe to your newsletters. You can tweet the best quotes from your podcast or create a unique cover for each episode and post it on Instagram. Even if the audience of your podcast is rather small, it still gives you a chance to establish positive relationships with the audience and to increase brand awareness.
Podcasts also offer an opportunity to partner with distribution and hosting networks. More people will be able to find your content even if they don't know your brand at all. Once they've found it, it's up to you how you're going to use it for your advantage. Of course, some people choose to host podcasts on their websites, but we suggest that you choose reliable podcast hosts instead. The main reason is that you will have to transfer a lot of data. Even if your web host offers unlimited bandwidth, it may have problems with delivering files at a fast speed, as more and more people start downloading your episodes. Podcasting has an ability to grow exponentially, and slow speed will kill your podcast in no time. Unlike regular web hosts, podcast hosts are specialized in this particular type of content, ensuring the fast speed of downloads and also providing you with some analytical tools so that you can check the dynamics of downloads and subscriptions.
Main SEO benefits of podcasting
- If you're a guest on somebody else's podcast, the host will likely include 'show notes' for this episode, where people will be able to read a quick summary on who you are with a transcript of the episode. Almost always, hosts also include links to your website, social media profiles or special offers. These are very effective and the most natural backlinks you can get.
- Podcasts can be easily optimized like any blog because they are basically audio blogs. Use target keywords when creating meta titles and meta descriptions. Add text that will encourage your audience to click and listen to a new episode and optimize images as well. This way, you can use podcasts along with traditional blogs or focus on podcasts only.
- Podcasts are affordable, in fact, it's one of the cheapest marketing methods you can imagine. If you have at least a 1% customer conversion rate, your podcast will surely cover the production costs. The good news is that podcasting demonstrates much higher conversion rates – 61% of podcast listeners in a Midroll advertising reported that they've bought products they've heard about in a podcast. Thus, the effectiveness of podcasting is certainly worth your effort.
- Podcasts have no expiration date. Although you post new episodes on a regular basis, the old ones continue to attract attention and their notes continue to work as effectively as they used to.
How to improve your SEO with podcasts
Use keywords in podcast titles: Google Play and iTunes algorithms pay particular attention to the titles. It's not enough to just write a catchy and interesting title, you should also include the necessary keywords. Otherwise, people who use these keywords when searching for podcasts won't be able to see yours. We suggest that you include keywords in titles, as well as in subtitles. Use 1–2 long tail keywords, with a few short tail ones to aim both at people who are interested in your specific niche and those who might be interested in it.
Use supporting content:As we've already mentioned above, show notes are a great place to include links to your website or blog. In addition, show notes and transcripts increase search engine rankings of your podcast itself. Don't forget about keyword density — it's still important for SEO. For example, Google recommends keeping keyword density at a level of 1 –2% while Yahoo suggests that you increase this parameter up to 3%. However, there is no universal solution, so you may try different approaches and see what the best option for your podcast is.
Use authoritative websites: Search engines love content with many inbound links. This especially applies to links that come from high-ranking websites. List reputable websites that featured your episode on your website and add a podcast description. This way, you'll be able to drive more traffic to your podcast, while, in its turn, the podcast drives traffic back to your website. The main thing is to avoid unnatural links: If you buy as many links as you can, it will only lead to penalties.
Optimize your RSS feed: Although RSS feeds are not so popular as they used to be, they have a lot of important information for iTunes, Play Music and Google Play. If you're using Wordpress, you can easily optimize your feed for search engines with the PowerPress plugin.
Creating a podcast takes some time and effort, however, the effectiveness of podcasting for your SEO may surprise you. Using podcasts, you can boost the visibility of your brand and also increase sales. Podcasting helps establish a good reputation for your company. In addition, podcasts are just another way to share important information on your special offers and new arrivals.