Podcast SEO: How podcasts help you rank in search

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Podcast SEO is a relatively new thing that content marketers have to think about. And it certainly adds to the list but podcast SEO is something that can help our brands rise to the top in search.

Now Apple has rolled out a search functionality of all audio content within podcasts so we’re certainly moving the way of being able to search podcast audio.

As I was looking at my book – Content Performance Culture – I was doing some searches on Google and interestingly the podcast with the chapter readings shows up. Perhaps as interesting is that it is the Spotify version up high. The Google Podcast version is embedded lower.

Here is what the search results page looked like:

In this example, there are three results related to podcasts on the first page and definitely the most visual result is for the podcast.

On another search the podcast even showed up No. 2.

When I search for my own name a number of episodes that I have appeared on and my own podcast show up:

Having a podcast that answers questions not answered by others certainly can help companies rank for those terms in search.

Podcast SEO expert Mark Asquith of captivate.fm, joined me on a live recording of the podcast as well to dive deeper into podcast SEO and share tips. 

But, false positives can still happen.

False positives in SEO are when you rank for a term but your result is not contextually relevant. Mark gave some examples on the show. For example, my podcast ranks for “background image” and the show is about how to remove background images from a picture. But the searcher’s intent is actually for finding background images for podcasts. I’m ranking high but it’s not what they are looking for.

Should we do keyword research before recording a podcast?

Yes, absolutely. It can help us flush out the topic, the questions and understand what keywords are worth targeting. I also use it to create an outline.

Keyword research for articles is a standard operating procedure for many content teams now. So why hasn’t it been for podcasts? Probably because podcasts are new and up to this point the search engine indexability was low to nonexistent. Some would argue only the headline was indexed and some people did show notes and transcripts for search.

On the flipside, also don’t overthink it with the keywords. As Andy Crestodina said on this podcast episode, come up with a unique story and then optimize the words you use based on what people are searching for.

Bottom line

This is an example from my book with very specific keywords. But the concept of trying to rank for very specific keywords is what content marketing is all about. If you can find a way to be the only one that has a podcast on a specific topic-even if there already are a bunch of articles on it – you might have a chance to get that podcast to rank.

What networks should my podcast be on?

Using Podpage.com makes it easy to check off all networks. Once you add your podcast there it lists all the networks you are not on yet.


Google Podcast Manager and podcast SEO

Content performance matters. Why create content that doesn’t get consumed? Of course, Step 1 is for metrics to be accessible. With that being a requirement it’s nice to see that Google Podcast Manager has now made podcast analytics simpler than ever.

As Barry Schwartz shared, the Podcast Manager now shares podcast SEO metrics for your podcast directly in the dashboard. Here’s how that looks:


Google Podcast Manager somewhat easily lets your claim your existing podcast on the Google Podcast platform and then gives you a dashboard with your metrics. This section discusses how to quickly set that up.

Since I use Anchor for some of my production, hosting and distribution, my podcast was automatically pushed to Google Podcasts from Day 1. On the web, the podcast stream looks clean. There’s also a Google Podcasts app, including for iPhones.

Google Podcasts



How to set up your Google Podcast Manager Metrics

Head on over to Google Podcast Manager to get started. Form there simply click on “Start now.”

Google Podcast Manager Start Now

On the next screen you start claiming your podcast by pasting in your RSS feed:

Google Podcast Manager - enter feed

If you use Anchor, you can find your RSS feed under Distribution and by Scrolling down in the iPad app. It’s a slightly different setup in the web version.

Finding your podcast RSS feed in Anchor

The first time I did this I was not able to get Google’s verification email. It’s going to some obscure email at anchor.fm. The easiest way around that is to add your actual email to the RSS feed. Here’s how you do that. Under advanced settings toggle on the setting that says “Display your personal email in RSS feed.”

Google Podcast Manager email verification

The update took about 10 minutes or less but once it updated I immediately received the verification email from Google with the code to validate my ownership.

Google Podcast Manager – The metrics dashboard

The metrics dashboard is available immediately and looks like this:

The metrics show:

  • Total plays
  • Plays in first 30 days
  • Length of episodes
  • Average percentage of total podcast played
  • Total minutes played

The total minutes played is nice once it moves up there. “Collectively, people have listened to 5 million minutes.” For example.

Podcast metrics moving forward

Podcast listenership by countryThe metrics breakdown alone might entice me to promote my Google Podcast link more in the future. Seeing how much of an episode people listen to is helpful to figure out what is of interest to listeners. Once there are more listeners on this platform there’s value in reviewing my metrics there.

The Google Podcast Manager came on the heels of Spotify (which owns Anchor) adding more metrics to Anchor as well. Inside Anchor, I can see:

  • Device breakdown (see above)
  • Country where listeners are
  • Age demographics (NEW)
  • Gender demographics (NEW)

The metrics are just from Spotify though, so it’s not the full audience.

Spotify Podcast Audience Metrics

Metrics matter and help us create that Content Performance Culture. Metrics can also make things hard when they are siloed and not easily accessible nor rolled up.

I assume the roll up will happen at some point and the most relevant measurements will prevail. For now, seeing steps into more measurements are good to see. The Google Podcast Manager certainly lists metrics that are worth to review and to learn from. And if your podcast can help you rank in search why not do one?

Listen to my podcast