As you started your podcast, or even before that, you’ve probably heard about Podcast Metadata and have been told to spend proper time understanding the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Indeed, the overall SEO and carefully optimized metadata are vital to generating more traffic and subscribers to your podcast. The technical jargon, the acronyms, and the flood of new information can be pretty confusing for some, especially for inexperienced ones. So here we are, aiming to explain the basics in the simplest possible way. Let’s get going!
Why Does Your Podcast Metadata Matter
Firstly, what is metadata, and why does it matter in the first place? In short, metadata is data about data, that is, information about information. To simplify it more, it’s the information about your content. Ask yourself what your target audience needs to see at the front of your porch so that it both describes your episode perfectly, leaves them with no doubts, and attracts them in. You should catch their eyes and interest with the short information presented on, for example, Apple Podcasts or Spotify: title, author’s and hosts’ name, show notes, episode number, category, explicitly, etc.
Metadata is also helping Google, or other search engines for that matter, provide users with what they are looking for when entering their search query. In the context of your podcast, metadata will help your potential audience to find you and the topic you are discussing. Google will look through your content, determine how to categorize it, and, based on what the user has typed in, serve them the answers on a plate. Thus, metadata helps google better understand your podcast’s content and when to surface that information.
You are most probably familiar with two important pieces of metadata: meta title and meta description. In the example below, the text in blue, Podcasts SEO: How to Improve Your Podcast Rank - Podcastle, is the title. The underlying text in grey is the meta description.
Generally, the title of your podcast episode (as displayed in the Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc.) and the meta title shown in Google can be the same, but at times you might want it to be different in Google. What your potential audience will see in the search results is up to you. As much as it is so, you do need to keep the keywords and key phrases included in the metadata relevant to your content. Thoughtful investment in your metadata will also help your podcast rank higher among other relevant results. SEO might be a specialty, but you can get a good hang of it by digging in and starting with it.
What Your Podcast Metadata Needs
Depending on the platform that will be carrying your podcast, the technical side of adding and updating the metadata of the episode or the podcast, in general, may vary. However, all of those are usually made for intuitive use and do not require deep knowledge outside the scope of your main activity. Independent of your preferred platform, the purpose that metadata serve is the same: help your content surface to relevant searches, grow your audience, and eliminate all possible confusion. The go-to mindset you should have is to help your audience find what they are looking for. Here are a few things you should consider in regards to your podcast metadata:
Mind Your Episode And Podcast Titles
Don’t be like some Japanese manga writers and include everything about the whole story in the episode title. If you’re confused, there is an anime adaptation of a light novel called I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level. Keep your titles short and clean. It’s the first thing that users see, and thus, the catchier and the more concise it is, the better. Always aim to keep your titles meaningful, interesting, and memorable. Good titles arouse the listeners’ curiosity and a sense of drive to tap on the episode and discover what it is all about. That being said, it shouldn’t be misleading; users shall not feel scammed or lied to. Rather, they shall be satisfied with the confirmation of their expectations. If your podcast episodes are serialized, make sure to include episode numbers to guice your listeners where to start their journey. Similarly, you don’t need to explain the whole concept of your podcast in its title. Instead, be deliberate about naming your podcast title and keep it relevant.
Pay Enough Importance to Your Show Notes
Getting better at writing show notes is something you should consider, as it is the description of your episode. While it may be somewhat daunting, it is vital to provide your users with the general description of what to expect during their listen. Also, show notes is the place you credit all the contributors, guests, interviewees, hosts, etc. If there are any useful links, especially to which you refer to or address in the episode, make sure to include them there for the convenience of your audience. Pay special attention to what you write in the first couple of lines of show notes, as those will appear clear before users click on ‘more.’ The description does not have to contain any spoilers. Rather, think of it as a summary at the back of a book. Lastly, be mindful about the keywords used in the description, as show notes always affect the overall SEO of your podcast.
Indicate Proper Category; Clean or Explicit
Indicating the proper category for your podcast will also help the authentic growth of community around it. Needless to say, it will clear additional misconceptions and help them understand better what to expect, also in tandem with the title and show notes. Additionally, make sure to indicate if the episode is clean or explicit. Parents would most likely not be delighted to accidentally teach their children curse words through a podcast while driving for a family trip. Obviously so, you would like to keep your audiences attention and not make them upset.
Remember that poor metadata management can drive your podcast off the radar, while enough effort can help potential listeners find their new favorite podcast to listen to on their way to work. Always consider and aim to keep in harmony what your podcast or the specific episode is about, how listeners will probably look for it, and what they will be expecting.