For years, the prevailing wisdom has been that your podcast name and episode titles are the biggest factors in helping listeners find your podcast. Especially with search in podcast apps. But, a good, detailed but not over-long description can help capture some of those relevant search terms?
Well, maybe, kind-of, not always, but sometimes, but rarely, probably not.
The truth is that’s pretty much never been the case for Apple Podcasts. It only cares about your titles and your author tags.
But what about the increasing number of podcast directories? Where do we need to focus our efforts if we want episodes to surface for relevant search terms? And how can we avoid wasting our time filling out information that is truly optional or has no importance?
Can we rely on search in podcast player apps?
I spoke with Mark Steadman, who is a podcast producer, consultant, and coach. He runs Origin, a podcast studio helping thoughtful, creative people of purpose use their voice to make a positive impact.
He recently teamed up with James Cridland, the editor of Podnews, to perform some experiments on a couple of their podcast feeds they knew wouldn’t cause waves of confusion were they to stuff them full of nonsense words in the name of science.
The idea was to pick a different nonsense word for each relevant podcast-related tag in their RSS feeds, to see which podcast apps picked up which words.
What stirred his interest in doing this podcast app search experiment was after listening to an episode of The Feed, the Libsyn podcast, and he heard them talking about the things that appear in search.
Rob started talking about the various things that Apple Podcasts indexed. I realized I hadn’t really thought about it. There were a couple of things that I sort of vaguely think I knew. With anything that’s self taught, there’s always going to be gaps in your knowledge.
In this search in podcast apps experiment, they use the top 14 podcast apps, including Google Podcast. Being a Google product, one might it would be the wild card on the list, quite frankly. From what he saw, it wasn’t.
Were those podcast apps really developed as discoverable, findable types of play?
They do what they do really well. They play podcasts, but were they really built to do that? Maybe we’re asking a bit too much of them?
I had a lovely chat with J.J. at GoodPods, because I think there is, with GoodPods specifically, a real opportunity there. It is much more a discovery engine than it is a player. I think I would really like to see search play a better role in that.
What we’re addressing is find-ability with search in podcast apps. Let’s just kick that “discoverability” word off of our lexicon.
Overall, here are the key points from this experiment…
- Apple Podcasts only searches your podcast name, episode titles, and author tags (this may not be news to many old-school podcasters, as it’s been the long-prevailing wisdom).
- No-one indexes the
copyrighttag. Probably not a surprise.
- No-one indexes the
podcast:persontag. I found this surprising.
- Apps heavily weight podcast-level data over episode-level data.
- Podcast app SEO is not a viable strategy.
- The in-app podcast search landscape is badly in need of attention.
And lastly, Mark offers 3 bits of advice on how to set yourself up for better find-ability when it comes to SEO and your podcast. (Hint: it’s all about your website!)
Connect with me if you would like to talk more about this.
My calendar is available on my Circle270Media Podcast Consultants business website at circle270media.com.
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Recorded in conjunction with Channel 511, in the Brewery District, downtown Columbus, OH.
Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. With over 35+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording and Broadcasting, the podcast consultants at Circle270Media strategically bring these strengths together for their business Podcast clients.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up time to talk more about your new or established business podcast.