As market competitiveness increases and businesses are constantly aiming for new ways to optimise their content for SEO, there has been a shift from traditional content types such as text, into more engaging mediums such as video and more recently long form content such as podcasts. Text content, despite the changing landscape of digital marketing, still remains an important tool in optimising your website. However, due to its popularity and its convenience, websites are constantly trying to compete through longer worded posts with high keyword density to optimise their websites and frankly, there is little room to differentiate from competitors. Therein lies your opportunity. In this article, we will break down the trends and changes that digital marketing faces and show you how to maintain relevance in a changing online landscape through the latest new phenomenon: SEO podcasts.

SEO podcast
Image from iStock Photos.

The evolution of SEO content

SEO was essentially built on the idea of text based content. High quality writing that is executed to strategically include keywords that elevate ranking within SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is the shallow fundamental basis of search engine optimisation. Through usage of strategic keywords, titles and quality backlinks, text content has allowed businesses globally to successfully elevate their rankings on Google. Its slow decline in popularity and prominence is primarily due to the competitiveness websites face in higher keyword density, lengthiness of posts and constantly trying to one-up each other to rank higher.

Don’t get us wrong, text content still has an important role to play in SEO for your business, but keeping up with new market trends is essential in this day and age. As text content becomes increasingly used, businesses are searching for alternate ways to boost their rankings. In a recent blog post, we highlighted the significance of integrating video content to spark audience engagement.

As an effective method in enriching user experience and engagement, video content is becoming more and more integrated by businesses and companies to increase traction. The power of video content lies in its ability to not only evoke a different kind of emotional reaction compared to text, but also engages the audience for longer; increasing dwell time and ranking the page higher. As more and more businesses understand the appeal that video content has for their audience in adding both value and another level of audience engagement, the pressure and competition to produce videos intensifies. And as all new developments on the internet tend to follow; as video for SEO is booming and more websites opt for this type of content, the more competitive it becomes. 82% of global consumer traffic will be video by 2020 according to a report by CISCO, and is therefore predicted to take the same path as text content.  

By exploring these recent trends and the transformation from text to video, this begs the question; what is next for SEO?

The new era of SEO podcasts

SEO podcast

Podcasts, although not new in popular culture, are recently gaining recognition in the SEO world. As text and soon video continue to become fiercely competitive, only a small amount of companies are diving into the podcast market as an alternate option for consumption. A podcast is a series of audio recorded episodes centred around a theme or topic, and are an innovation in the SEO landscape.

According to the Edison Research into ‘The Podcast Consumer’, 90 million people listen to podcasts monthly in the US alone. At face value, podcasts are seen as a niche aspect of marketing and merely a recorded conversation. However, the recent rise in their quality and content, highlights that they should not be underestimated as an incredibly important marketing strategy that when used effectively, will optimise SEO for your business. Slowly but surely, SEO podcasts are beginning to boom.

How is Google changing the game?

SEO podcast
Image from Search Engine Roundtable

Looking more specifically at how podcasts can build SEO for you website, a key advancement that has ignited the use of podcasts and highlighting their value is thanks to Google and the SERPs.

Google recently announced that it would begin to include podcasts within their search results. This new innovation within the SEO landscape will undoubtedly encourage companies to integrate podcasts within their marketing strategy in order to simultaneously differentiate between their competitors and boost rankings. As the SERPs will begin to display podcast episodes relating to words that people search for, this gives companies that integrate podcasts on their websites a great opportunity to utilise keywords and title tags to elevate their ranking on Google.

This is clearly an indication that Google understands just how significantly the demand for podcasts is increasing. As the biggest search engine in the world, Google wouldn’t take this big step if there was no potential, so it’s time to jump on that podcast bandwagon.

Google is taking away the time consuming action of physically searching for podcasts on different platforms, and allowing companies to implement SEO podcasting into their strategies. With the help of Google, podcasts cannot be undervalued as a content source that can build audience and engagement. SEO podcasts present a unique opportunity to give your website and company a voice which cannot often be communicated through text alone.

Google Podcasts

SEO podcast
Google Podcasts logo.

They have even launched their own podcast application as a means to streamline the search for specific podcasts. Although there are other podcast directories to use such as Spotify, Apple and Pandora; Google Podcasts is the way to go.

As the most popular search engine in the world, opting for a Google app, along with these other platforms, will maximise your audience and engagement. Adding your podcast to Google Podcasts is a simple way to monitor your ranking whilst simultaneously boosting SEO.

Another recent advancement which is an extremely valuable tool for SEO podcasts are transcriptions. Google are now transcribing podcast episodes as a means of metadata.  Using transcriptions as content metadata will not only make your podcast more searchable, but from an SEO standpoint; provides for more opportunities to include keywords which will appear in relevant search results and further elevate ranking within the SERPs. This will essentially heighten the level of discoverability and build on your audience through search traffic.

SEO podcast
A study by Moz, shows the accessibility and discoverability of podcasts through Googles’ new app.

Because Google is now able to index podcast content through transcripts, the argument that text has more value due to it being seen as ‘index-able content’ is now deemed irrelevant.

Another reason companies are beginning to take podcast SEO seriously is due to dwell time. Streaming podcast episodes through your website creates a greater opportunity to generate web traffic. Dwell time as a metric that Google uses to monitor the duration that someone spends on your website, basically translates to Google boosting the website ranking. Compared to text based content, podcasts will engage that traffic for longer amounts of time due to their lengthiness, therefore elevating the website on Google.

The Edison study also concluded that 52% of listeners sit through the entire podcast episode, with 41% listening to the majority of it. This highlights the potential dwell time that visitors will spend on your site and the longer that is, the better result for your business.

Key optimisation techniques for podcasts

SEO podcast
A podcast by Neil Patel & Eric Siu who have successfully implemented the following techniques into their SEO podcast strategy.

Now that we understand why podcasts are becoming a valuable tool for SEO for your company here’s where to start for your business.

Choosing a format for the podcast is important as it will set the tone for your audience and what your business is all about. You should also aim to develop a set theme or structure for each episode to state your contention and message, even if it comes across to listeners as an informal conversation.

Developing an individual website for your podcast series is a requirement as part of Googles’ podcast guidelines which will at the same time attract visitors to your page. Adding further context and information surrounding the podcast through the website will make episodes more discoverable on search engines. A separate website also creates an opportunity to gain more traffic, and takes away the hassle of physically finding the podcast through other applications such as Spotify through streaming the episodes directly on your site.

Leading on from this method, creating blog posts dedicated to each episode is an effective way to increase dwell time and implement keywords into both posts and the podcast itself. As mentioned previously, the longer the visitor spends on your site consequently increases this dwell time metric. Therefore, adding this additional element of engagement to outline the given topic and complement the episode will boost the time spent on the page.

YouTube should also be part of your strategy for SEO podcasts. As one of the most frequently trafficked platforms, it should not be ignored. Audio files can easily be converted into a video which can then be posted onto a YouTube channel. This will not only provide an additional platform for listeners to stream episodes, but it will elevate your ranking further as these videos are often located within the first pages of the Google SERPs.

In our very own SEO podcast we even filmed the recording, posting the video with an accompanying transcription which proves that added level of engagement for viewers and listeners.

Despite text losing prominence within SEO, keywords are still a valuable tool to boost your website ranking. Your title is the most important keyword, and will ultimately determine whether somebody decides to listen to your podcast. Developing an appropriate keyword for each episode which will not only provide description but return a higher search volume. This keyword should be embedded within the title, description and tags and will essentially determine where your site should rank in search results. Because Google is beginning to show podcasts in their search results based upon the topic of the episode, its description and title it is vital to use keywords that will increase the discoverability of your podcast.

Case Study: The Marketing School

The Marketing School podcast, pictured above, provides their audience with daily and concise 10 minute episodes offering valuable marketing lessons and advice. This podcast is a prime example of one that has adopted these optimisation practices; Neil Patel and Eric Siu have mastered the art of podcasting and how it can be used to elevate their business. Despite both running separate successful businesses, they have developed a dedicated webpage for their podcast. This webpage allows listeners to easily discover new episodes, and search for previous ones.

The site features a homepage consisting of links to their most recent episodes, listener testimonials, an email list and a brief outline of what the series is all about. Each Marketing School episode features an engaging title with keywords that provide insight for both their prospective audience and Google, so it can easily be found on the SERPs. In addition to this, the post provides time stamped episode notes which essentially highlight the key points made throughout the show. Not only does this provide further information, but the text based aspect allows them to embed keywords into the notes, increasing discoverability and visibility.

Patel and Siu provide an abundance of links to their respective business websites and social platforms along with subscribe buttons to the various other podcast directories including iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Spotify.

SEO podcast
A screenshot of the Marketing School Youtube channel

They also provide a link to their Youtube channel which features these episodes along with a brief transcription and show notes.

Implementing these valuable techniques into your SEO podcast strategy, will allow your website to elevate in the rankings through a digital marketing trend that is on the incline. Additionally, producing constant episodes, publishing daily when possible, will increase that reach even further.

Keeping up with the trends

The digital space is ever changing, and if you do not choose to adapt and update your business model to accommodate these changes, you will get left behind. This harsh reality is relevant within SEO, as new digital avenues for company exposure means new ways to gain traction. Businesses should constantly be testing and tweaking their strategies to stay up to date with consumer trends.

As a business who sees SEO as a valuable tool, your goals should include knowing your audience, educating that audience and increasing your reach. Despite its time consuming nature, podcasting can yield many benefits within SEO and will set your business and website apart in a heavily text and video based market. Maintaining relevance within a changing landscape, is vital in achieving these goals and we strongly encourage you to give podcasts a go!

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