Make it Searchable: 6 ways to SEO optimise your podcast

As podcasts grow in popularity year on year, standing out from the crowd can feel harder than ever. But, if you didn’t know, SEO for podcasting exists and nailing yours will help you become more discoverable. 

For those who don’t know, SEO stands for search engine optimisation. In podcasting, SEO is the process of improving the quantity and quality of traffic to your podcast and, in turn, increasing your listener base. Whether your podcast is already live or you’re interested in starting one, read on to discover six ways you can gain visibility. 

Research and utilise relevant keywords
Podcast searches occur on two key platforms: search engines such as Google and podcast platforms such as Acast, and Spotify. For both, keywords are crucial. 

The name of your podcast is your number one keyword. So, choose wisely. While innovative and funny names are great, you should aim to pick a name based on the keyword opportunity. For example, ‘Girls in Marketing’ or ‘Sustainably Influenced’. 

In addition to the name of your podcast, you should include keywords in your episode titles and descriptions. 

When it comes to researching keywords, several paid and free tools are available, such as Google Trends and Answer the Public. Plus, doing keyword research will likely generate ideas for future topics – it’s a win-win. 

Leverage podcast metadata
If you’re sitting wondering what metadata is, you’re not alone. SEO can often feel like a dark art, so to simplify it for you. Metadata refers to a description of other data, like a book’s blurb. So, when Google is trawling the internet for search results, a keyword optimised meta title and description will help you get seen. 

As a rule of thumb, your title and subtitle should be to the point and include your focus keyword where possible. For the description, you can allow for more creative freedom, treating it as a function to convince people to listen.  

Repurpose your podcast content for social media
Many marketers say social media doesn’t directly impact SEO; however, some argue it does. By repurposing your content and building a presence on social media, you’re connecting with your audience and fostering relationships with listeners. As a result, when your listeners engage with your accounts, share links to your podcast and leave reviews, Google will note this social proof. 

Never underestimate the importance of transcriptions
Although it can be time-consuming, creating transcripts is another opportunity to highlight key topics and keywords for search engines to crawl easily. Your podcast transcriptions should include: 

  • H1-H4 header tags (titles)
  • Keywords
  • Timestamps 

Furthermore, transcriptions ensure your content is more accessible for those unable to listen. 

Work on securing backlinks
A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. By securing high-quality links to your podcast, you’ll improve your SEO ranking. For example, if you have a guest on your podcast who has a high domain authority website, you ask them to link to your podcast. 

Claim your podcast on Google Podcasts Manager
If you want your podcast to show up in Google searches, you need to verify with Google Podcasts Manager. Once you’ve done so, Google will begin to index your feed and ensure your podcast is discoverable across Google Search, Home and Assistant. You can verify your podcast in five simple steps here.

SEO can feel like playing the long game, but it’s a worthwhile use of your time if you’re keen to grow your audience. While there’s a lot more you can do to boost your visibility, we recommend getting started with these six tips as you get your head around the mastery that is SEO. 

Podcasting can be challenging; there’s no need to do it alone. If you could benefit from a supportive podcasting community in your corner, find out about our membership options here

An Accessibility Game-changer

Have Vox Media cracked podcast accessibility once and for all?  

Many of us listen to podcasts regularly. What If we could hear and feel them too? Thanks to Vox Media, we can. If you’re not familiar with their immersive transcript, you’re in for a treat. Simply put, this is a game-changer. 

For their new show, More Than This, Vox Media has transformed the way we consume podcasts. In a bid to recreate the podcast experience to be accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audiences, the immersive transcript was born.


(Screenshot from More Than This transcript)

Giving an option for their audience to “experience the podcast visually”, Vox Media have injected life into transcripts, an element of podcasting that is often an afterthought. Generally speaking, automated transcription often leads to inaccuracies and omissions of the elements that make the audio version so captivating. Putting transcripts at the forefront of this project, Vox Media have created a series of beautifully designed transcripts that emulate the listening experience of podcasting perfectly.

Speaking on the project, Annu Subramanian, supervising producer of audio at Vox Creative, explained: “We know transcripts are a popular product in podcasting, but with the features, we built for More Than This, we wanted to elevate the experience of a transcript, by making it more visual by translating the emotions, pacing, and atmosphere of the podcast into a visual medium“, and they have done precisely that. 

The project, a “first of many“, was inspired by musician Mandy Harvey, featured in the first episode, who lost her hearing as a music student in college. To bring the project to life, Vox Creative worked with a team of talented engineers, graphic designers and user experience designers before the outcome was tested by a focus group of deaf and hard-of-hearing users led by disability activist and accessibility consultant JamiLee Hoglind. 


(Screenshot from More Than This transcript)

Reiterating the need for such developments, JamiLee explained: “As a Deaf creative who grew up in a Deaf artistic family, in a world designed for hearing people, there’s one thing that I can affirm: the Deaf Community is often an afterthought, either intentionally or unintentionally. Within the podcast industry, it’s sacred to discover an authentically accessible podcast that is engineered, designed, and created with an accessibility lens for approximately over 400 millions of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people globally.” Read JamiLees complete statement on accessibility here.  

Impressive stuff, isn’t it? Naturally, the entire team at Content is Queen was blown away and overjoyed after experiencing the immersive transcripts. Of course, our first question was, “damn, how can we make this available to every podcaster?” 

Enter reality. While it would be incredible to see immersive transcripts widely available, there are two major roadblocks; time and money. Is it likely a one-[wo]man-band could pull off what an entire team at Vox Media did? For many, the answer is no. Unfortunately automated transcripts and close captioning are lacking and often full of inaccuracies. We speak from experience as for Season 4 of our Wanna Be Project,  we introduced transcripts, and even after spending time and money on getting them done correctly, there were still mistakes which took a lot of time to correct meaning they couldn’t be released in real-time. Still, it’s a step in the right direction and Vox Media just took a huge leap forward.

If the accessibility of your podcast is something you’ve overlooked previously, here are three things you can implement: 

  • Add transcripts to your shows
  • Ensure your website is accessible
  • Convert your shows to an MP4 and upload to YouTube with closed captioning enabled

Happy Podcasting! 

 

Do you need to watch your language?

F*ck, sl*t, c*cksucker. Unsurprisingly these were the words deemed as highly offensive in Ofcom’s  38-page report detailing public attitudes towards offensive language on TV and Radio. The lengthy report summarises views towards the acceptability of individual words on TV and radio, which of course, can be used as a guideline for your podcasts too. 

The report has ranked 186 English words into one of three broad groupings: 

  • Mild: Words in this category are unlikely to concern audiences in most circumstances and require limited context. 
  • Moderate: These words have a greater potential for offence than mild words, and a higher level of context should be considered based on what audiences would reasonably expect. 
  • Strong: These words are perceived as highly offensive and need clear and strong contextual justification for broadcast.

Participants were asked to rank swear words, sexual, political and religious references, along with references to body parts, mental health, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, nationality and ethnicity.

While the aforementioned words were perceived as highly offensive, along with the words half-caste, he-she and cripple (for good reason!), on the opposite end of the scale, terms such as cretin, a Karen, Freshy, boomer, pissed off, and bint were perceived as mild.

So what does this mean for podcasting?

There have been many debates around profanities and use of language that may be seen as offensive in podcasting. While the rules when it comes to language on podcasts are more flexible than on live TV or radio, and many argue podcasts are a place to be authentically yourself, the language you’re using should be an essential consideration for podcasters. 

When reviewing the language you use on your podcast, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Am I using profanities in context or to sound cool and edgy? The latter is peak cringe.
  • Are any offensive words and terms I’m using relevant to the topic?
  • Do I know enough about my audience to gauge what they will find offensive?  
  • How do my current/potential sponsors feel about profanities? 
  • Am I tagging my podcasts correctly, ensuring they’re marked as explicit if needed?  
  • Do I have an audience in countries that have banned explicit podcasts? 

In reality, no one is in control of the language you use but yourself. So, take the time to understand your audience, consider the bigger picture and put yourself in the listener’s shoes. Yes shows like Guys We F*cked, My Dad Wrote A Porno and Shagged. Married. Annoyed exist, and yes they are thriving but it’s worth considering that these might be the exception to the rule. While podcast content can be almost anything you want and we personally don’t mind a bit of bad language, to get featured on podcast platform front covers/ discovery pages you might want to be a little more vanilla. You may not be afforded the same grace, luck or success for your unfiltered language.

Tread carefully. 

Podcasting gets personal – On Spotify’s polls and Q&A rollout

Earlier this year, Spotify began beta testing several new features to make podcasts on the platform more interactive. Last month, the streaming giants announced that podcasters can now build interactive polls and Q&As into their podcasts. There’s just one catch; the features are exclusively available to podcasters who create their shows in Anchor, Spotify’s creation software. At current, the new features are available to Anchor creators in Spotify users in 160 markets across the globe, from 178 markets. 

Similarly to Instagram polls, listeners will be able to vote on polls before seeing how others have voted. The Q&A function also mirrors Instagram as answers will be privately sent to podcasters. Podcasters will then have an option to pin the response while publicly displaying the Spotify username of the listener who responded. 


Credit: Spotify 

Spotify says that podcasters have used the features to hear feedback, receive guest suggestions, and gamify their shows during beta. By offering increased interaction, Spotify is likely to keep podcasters on the app as they aim to eliminate the need for creators to switch to Instagram or other platforms to use similar features to engage with their audience. 

While benefiting Spotify, they’re good news for podcasters and listeners alike. The new features offer an excellent chance to engage your listeners in new ways and gain insightful feedback with minimal effort on both sides. We’re all for it!

Is Anchor the right podcasting platform for you? 

In addition to boosting interactivity for both listeners and podcasts, the new features may also attract creators searching for a hosting provider. If you’re thinking about making the switch to Anchor, here are some of the features on offer:  

  • Unlimited hosting
  • Streamlined distribution
  • Insightful and straightforward analytics 
  • Convenient creation tools
  • Monetisation 

Hold tight if you’re not an Anchor user, as we suspect the features will be rolled out to creators using Megaphone (Spotify’s podcast hosting platform) soon as they continue to battle it out with Apple podcast on user numbers. 

The launch of these two new features comes as the platform strives to rework the traditional podcasting experience. In addition to polls and Q&As, Spotify has also launched paid podcast subscriptions, their “Music + Talk” show format and Greenroom, an app for hosting “live shows.” With growing competition between Apple and Spotify, we expect many more features to come on both platforms as the giants transform the podcasting space, one feature at a time. 

Things we’ve learned about Gen Z listening habits

According to reports in 2020, Gen Z wasn’t listening to podcasts as frequently as millennials. Fast forward to 2021, and a survey from YPulse found that Gen Z is now just as likely to listen to your podcast as millennials. As Gen Z makes up a large market segment, understanding their listening habits is essential for podcasting success. In this article, we’re sharing some of the things we’ve learned about Gen Z listening habits in 2021 so far. 

 Gen Z digital habits in 2021: 

  • More than 74% of Gen Z say they spend their free time online 
  • 66% of Gen Z reports using more than one internet-connected device at a time
  • In the UK, Gen Z spends an average of 10.6 hours online each day
  • 60% of Gen Z visit YouTube daily 
  • On average, Gen Z will pay attention to content for eight seconds – four less than millennials

(Source: Hubspot – Gen Z Stats )

We know that Gen Z are big fans of social media, particularly TikTok and Instagram. But where do we find them when it comes to streaming platforms? 

Gen Z Music Streamers Preferred Platform:

  1. Spotify – 68.4%
  2. Apple Music – 32.9%
  3. YouTube Music – 30.4%
  4. SoundCloud – 26.6%
  5. Amazon Music – 7.6%
  6. Google Play Music – 7.6%
  7. Don’t Stream – 3.6%
  8. Other – 1.3%

(Source: Digital Music News)

As we delve a little deeper into the listening habits of Gen Z, the third volume of Culture Next, the Annual Culture and Trends Report, is our first port of call. As 71% of Spotify Free listeners are under the age of 35, it’s safe to say the streaming giants know a thing or two about Gen Z. 

The full report is assembled through countless interviews with creators, advertising executives and listeners in 18 countries, along with quantitative, qualitative, and first-party data analysis. To help you understand Gen Z listeners better, we’ve pulled together some of the key takeaways from the report, which surveyed 9,000 Gen Z and millennial respondents. 

Escapism and healing 

Gen Z listener Joe told us he likes to listen to podcasts for “distraction” and he’s not the only one. With unhealthy tech habits and excessive screen time, the younger generation’s norm, the Gen Z audience turns to audio for an escape. With 67% of Gen Z respondents saying that they use audio to reduce their stress levels, audio is far more than entertainment for this audience. 

As they turn to technology for wellness, Gen Z listeners worldwide are using audio to help themselves self-regulate, meditate, manifest, and heal. From Q1 until the report’s publishing, podcasts in the Mental Health category saw a 179% increase of Gen Z listeners while the Self-Help category saw a 108% increase.  

A demand for diverse voices

In the year that Spotify calls a “cultural rebirth”, Gen Z audiences have indicated that they trust audio platforms to expose them to diverse voices. 52% of Gen Zers believe that audio amplifies more diverse perspectives, with 62% agreeing that streaming platforms, including audio, have significantly impacted how they discover and connect with broader culture. 

48% of Gen Zs have sought content from more diverse creators in the past year, with 61% sharing that they have used music to learn about cultures and experiences that differ from their own. 

Gen Z listener Natalia echoed this point when she told us: “I listen to them [podcasts] to get different perspectives on things and listen/talk about ongoing trending topics. Some podcasts that I listen to give me a sense of relatability, whether it’s the things they talk about (like public enquiries or dilemmas that they send in) or because of the podcasters themselves – it’s like a sense of belonging outside of your friendship group.”

Trusted voices 

Thanks to diverse voices found on streaming platforms, younger generations trust the medium of audio more than others. According to the report, 40% of Gen Z listeners trust podcasts over traditional media sources, including newspapers, radio and national TV news, with 52% of Gen Zers using podcasts to learn about social issues. 

As podcasts are fast becoming a favoured news source, 17% of the Gen Z audience identify as “cord never” who have never used traditional cable TV. 

As audio creators can go off script and show their authentic selves, listeners are more likely to feel connected to hosts. 41% of global listeners say they trust ads more if they hear them during a podcast, with 81% reporting they’ve taken action after hearing a podcast ad. 

Story Telling 

While podcasting was once viewed as niche, voices across every cultural area from politics and news to humour and gaming, creatives are using the medium to forge deeper connections. 

When asked what he likes about podcasts, Joe told us that listeners often feel as if “you’re part of the conversation”, showcasing how connection is valued by Gen Z. 

61% of the Gen Z audience surveyed shared that they believe audio formats like podcasts are one of the greatest ways to tell stories. So, if you’ve got a story to tell, Gen Z is eager to hear it. 

Applying what we learned about Gen Z listening habits to your podcast 

Although many takeaways will be specific to your podcast, we wanted to round off this article with some standout learnings.  

We know that Gen Z listeners have a short attention span, so you need to hook them in with a strong title and an intro to match. Attention span should also be taken into consideration when it comes to promoting your podcast, those first eight seconds need to be gold. 

The platform you choose for your podcast is an essential consideration for your entire audience, not just Gen Z. For example, if you were to host your podcast on Apple Music, you’re excluding a whole audience who don’t use Apple products. Therefore, if you choose to host exclusively on one platform, it should be accessible to everyone. 

We also learned that trust and authenticity are important to Gen Z. So, providing factually correct information and being unapologetically yourself should be high on your list of priorities. As they say, if it means something to you, chances are, it will mean something to someone else. Happy podcasting! 

Download the full Spotify Culture Next report, which was compiled in April 2021 here. 

 

10 Black-led podcasts you should listen to

While Content is Queen champions black creatives every day of the year, as October marks Black History Month in the UK, we wanted to spotlight some of our favourite Black podcasters right now. So, if these podcasts aren’t already in your library, now is the perfect time to discover these talented creators. 

Black Gals Livin’

Black Gals Livin’ sees hosts Vic, and Jas get together every week to discuss all things mental health, pop culture and random shenanigans. Listen here. One of my favourite episodes was a recent instalment featuring Toni Tone, as the trio discussed getting the ick, Channel 4’s Highlife and Toni’s new book: I Wish I Knew This Earlier: Lessons on Love.” 

 

Pints of Malt 

Brought to by four Nigerian-Irish lads Femi, Kenny, Charlie and Jibbz, Pints of Malt is a laugh out loud worthy podcast sharing insight into growing up and living in Ireland. Check it out here. If you’re not sure where to start, The Sticky Situation episodes are sure to brighten your day. 

 

Unpretty Podcast

Hosts of Unpretty Podcast, Chinazo Ufodiama and Basma Khalifa, are on a mission to unpack the perceptions of beauty through the lens of Black and non-Black people of colour. For me, a stand-out episode saw Chi and Basma joined by Evelyn Mok and Vick Hope as they discussed racial dating preferences. Join the conversation here

 

Pennies to Pounds 

The Pennies to Pounds podcast is the brainchild of Pennies to Pounds founder Kia Commodore. With an ethos of empowering the youth to enable their future with complete knowledge, this podcast is arming listeners with the financial literacy we aren’t taught in schools. If Cryptocurrency feels like the dark arts to you, you’ll appreciate episode 47 featuring Alex Entrepreneur. Get your finance fix here.

 

The Echo Chamber 

The Echo Chamber sees hosts Ez and Jade discuss issues that resonate among Black British people from their perspective as working-class women. From shadow work to sisterhood, the duo covers an array of topics. I particularly enjoyed episode 70 as Milk Honey Bees founder Ebinehita Iyere joined the duo to talk Back British Girlhood. Listen here

 

Black, Broke and Brilliant  

Black, Broke and Brilliant is a podcast by two twenty-something women, Ivy and Samira, discussing the struggles of adulting one bi-weekly episode at a time. As a freelancer, it’s only right I plug episode 39, Adulting Part 3 – no one teaches you how to freelance – I can most definitely relate. Add it to your library here

 

Who We Be TALKS

 Every Thursday, hosts Harry Pinero and Henrie dive deep into the lives of artists, music, and culture as they celebrate the creatives who shape Hip-Hop, Afrobeats, Dancehall and RnB. Listen exclusively on Spotify here. One of my favourite recent episodes featured Love Island’s Ovie Soko on taking shots, drip and his rules for love. 

 

Halfcast Podcast 

Brought to you by ChuckieOnline and Poet, the Halfcast podcast sees the duo get together each week to discuss everything and anything in a self-dubbed ‘counselling session’. If you’re a Santan Dave fan, you’ll enjoy the guys discussing whether or not he’s reached his potential; listen here

 

Black Women Working 

Black Women Working, hosted by Chantelle, Natalie, Rachel and Tolu, is a safe space for black women to speak openly about their experiences of working life in the UK as they provide support, inspiration and advice to the sisterhood, get involved here. If work-life balance is something you struggle with, S4 EP8 – Compromise or Sacrifice comes highly recommended.

 

Disunomics 

With a straightforward ethos of making economics relevant, relatable, and entertaining to the general public, Disunomics breaks down the latest news in the simplest way possible. If travel is on the agenda anytime soon, episode 219 will tell you everything you need to know. Get your weekly news fix here

Micro-grants for Podcasters Programme

***Applications are now closed***

If you’d like to find out about more grant opportunities then please complete the form below.

We’re super excited to help aspiring and existing podcasters fulfil their goals with our micro-grants programme. The grants’ purpose is to support creators that might otherwise find it difficult to create their podcast. You can use this grant to pay for artwork, editors, equipment, music, pilots, actors, producers, social media support, advertising, etc. as long as you can demonstrate that it helps your podcast you can apply.

Each successful podcaster will be awarded a micro-grant of either £250, £500, or £1000 as a one-off contribution to their proposed podcast project. In addition to the grant, Content is Queen will be offering up to 6 hours of production support to grantees if they need it.

We hope that access to the grants inspires ideas, innovation and creativity.

Who can apply: 

  • UK-based individuals only
  • New or existing podcasters
  • Disabled people
  • Racialised people/persons
  • Anyone that identifies as LGBTQIA
  • Those from low-income backgrounds
  • Must be aged over 18

Who can’t apply for a grant:

  • Registered businesses, organisations, schools or charities –talk to us.

Additional Terms

  1. Successful applicants will need to produce a summary budget of how the grant was spent.
  2. Successful applicants will need to produce evidence of how the grant supported the podcast by 18:00 31st August 2021 (evidence includes, an audio file of the episode, artwork, social media ad reports, a recorded pilot, equipment receipts etc.)
  3. Successful applicants must be able to supply a UK Bank account in the applicants name.

Applications close on Sunday 21st February 2021, 23:59 GMT.

Successful applicants will be notified by Sunday  31st March 2021 

***Applications are now closed***

(Having trouble viewing the form? Click here)

Wanna Be Listener Survey

Wanna Be will be entering its fourth season this March, and we’d like to know what you think of the podcast so far. We’re looking to make a few radical changes to the podcast to serve you better. We’re giving away £5.00 Amazon vouchers* to 50 randomly selected participants. There are 16 questions on the survey in total it takes on average two and a half minutes to complete.

Please be honest and open with your feedback.

START THE SURVEY

Here’s a list of things you can buy on Amazon right now for that coveted £5!

Kindle Books (most of these were 99p at the time of publishing):

  1. Natives- Akala
  2. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty- Florence Given
  3. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time- Jeff Sutherland
  4. The Vanishing Half- Brit Bennett
  5. The Art Of Saying NO- Damon Zahariades

Other things you can get for a fiver on Amazon:

  1. Mini elephant candle holders with candles
  2. Custom eye masks
  3. An Aromatherapy Sleep Roller
  4. A microwave cleaning tool
  5. Joe Wicks Lean in 15 workouts (DVD or Prime)

*There are a few terms and conditions that apply to the prize:

  1. You must have listened to the Wanna Be podcast in the last 2 years.
  2. You’ll need to complete all mandatory questions in the survey to be eligible to win.
  3. We may use your responses anonymously in our marketing.
  4. Only 50 vouchers will be given out to eligible survey participants winners are selected at random.
  5. You need to provide your name and email address for the prize to be fulfilled.
  6. You’ll receive your voucher within 14 days of completion if you’re eligible for a voucher.
  7. The prize offer will expire at 5:00 pm GMT Friday 22nd January.
  8. The survey will remain open until January 31st, 2020.

START THE SURVEY