I recently attended a Content Marketing Summit, and one of the speakers talked about how you can make your brand- voice search ready by optimizing your podcasts.
That was quite interesting to hear – podcasting being discussed on mainstream platforms. The trend of podcasts really kicked off around in 2004. But you may be wondering why are we talking so much about it after 16 years? Well, because Google has slowly started to display certain podcasts at the top of search results!
In case you already haven’t figured out why that is directly or indirectly related to the advancements in AI and natural language processing. Statistics show that the number of voice searches has gone up in recent years, with 41% of adults using voice search at least once per day. Let me put it this way, how many times have you tried using voice search while driving or just for fun recently? If you are like most people (including me), then probably multiple times.
The estimates are that nearly 8.4 billion devices will be using voice assistants by 2024, compared to 4.2 billion devices this year.
Well, what I mean to say is, the era of voice search SEO is here, or it’s at least is right around the corner! And if you play your cards right, you and your brand could rule the search engines with a smart Voice Search SEO strategy. The podcast is one of the many ways to do just that!
In recent years, Google seems to have been gaining a strong ability to pinpoint verbalized keywords within videos and podcasts to rank it accordingly. Also, google has offered a speech-to-text feature as part of the Google Cloud Platform for a couple of years now – which has since undergone a fair share of upgrades. As the service continues to evolve, it makes sense that we will see more podcasts infiltrate the SERPs – in a good way!
But, how exactly will podcasts be displayed in search?
Just like how videos have their own section on the search result page, podcasts will get a similar treatment.
Additionally, just like the video, users will be able to listen to the podcast without navigating to a new page.
Thanks to the advancing NLP, we can also expect that Google will skip to certain timestamps within a podcast to satisfy voice queries. As most users listen to a podcast when they are on the go – running, driving, or doing some tasks, the timestamps could help them skip to the most relevant part of the podcast. A significant boost to the user experience, like we have for the videos.
So how can you make your podcast SEO-friendly?
Whether you are planning to start a podcast or already have one, knowing how to make your episodes SEO-friendly is going to be a factor in how you gain visibility. Here are a few tips-
1. Know the trends
Just like you research for all the other forms of content – video, blogs, social media, you will need a decent knowledge of the trending topics and trending keywords for podcasts to build your channel around. But before that, select your niche that you want to talk about and play around with your strength.
2. Develop your podcast voice
This is the time to be the RJ you always wanted to be! Just be clear about what you say so that Google can interpret as many of the keywords and phrases within the conversation as possible. As I already mentioned earlier, Google’s NLP capabilities are getting better at picking out verbalized keywords.
I know, if you are an introvert like me, it will probably take a few more takes to get the hang of the process. Just the key is not to speak from your throat, but the gut.
Just sit up straight while talking and maintain the energy and confidence in your voice throughout the session. Every nervous pause, the shaking voices, the excitement about the news, or the laughs, your audience are going to hear it all! That being said, do talk in a normal, friendly tone and speed, and pause in between after making an important point.
Ultimately, the combination of interesting topics and a killer podcast voice is crucial to rank your podcast higher and keep people coming back for more!
3. Transcripts are important
I know! It sounds boring and tedious, but there are plenty of tools out there to make the job far more easier. However, you will need to edit out the “uhs” and the “ums” to make the text more readable.
Additionally, this content is where you can add keywords to rank your podcasts in search results!
Post these transcripts in the description of your podcast with relevant keywords to rank it better. Not only does this provide a great deal of readable text on your podcast’s page, but it will also give your listeners a fair idea of what to expect in that particular episode before they hit play!
4. Write a blog
The best part of transcribing your podcast is to post them as a blog on your site. SEO to the fullest!
You can also do a short write up or blog to summarize your podcast – with a few actionable points. You can club this with your transcript to help Google understand where your main points are within the audio file.
Since this is an evolving area, no one could be sure about the exact extent to how well Google deciphers audio. The more well-explained text you can supplement, the better!
5. Video record the session too!
If you have an interactive session with a guest, you can record the video too!
As the video contents are so much in trend, this is the perfect way to utilize your time and repurpose the content for other platforms as well. You can post this around on YouTube and other social channels. One podcast, multiple ways to use and rank it!
Just remember to have fun while filming, and people will love to see how the behind the scenes work for your podcast. Be sure to post a good description with relevant keywords to rank your video on YouTube as well.
You can also add the link to your podcast in your YouTube channel’s descriptions to gain more podcast listeners.
6. Create chapters
Divide your podcast episode into chapters. The microcontent could make it easier for your listener to skip to the area that is most pertinent to what they’re looking for – without having to listen to the whole audio file, especially if it’s long.
This might sound like a bit of more work, listening to the recording and marking down the exact time (hour: minute: second) that a new or subtopic comes up. If your podcasts follow an interview format, you can create each chapter at the exact time you start asking a question.
You might even want to add a table of contents in the writeup where you can add more keywords to the page.
You can even split each chapter into different podcast episodes to keep it short and crisp.
Oh, and did we talk about the timing? Well, that usually depends on your targeted audience. If you know your listeners are listening to you while they are doing their housework or while exercising, a podcast can be between 15 min to an hour-long is fine. At the same time, if they tune into your channel during their daily commute, keep your podcast to between 20 and 30 minutes to keep them entertained.
Podcasting has always been a fantastic way to humanize your brand, showcase expertise, and build relationships.
It appears as though podcast SEO will have a considerable impact in the coming decade, and I hope this blog will give you some idea of how to start an SEO-friendly podcast or tweak your existing one.
About the Author
Yamini is an online marketing expert specializing in Social media and content marketing. She has more than six years of experience working with clients in various markets and industries, including telecom, healthcare, eCommerce, and decor.
She provides social media consultations, content and branding strategy assistance to clients across the globe.