Want to use SEO to boost your podcast listenership? Want to get free traffic to your website? Want to exponentially grow your podcast every month? Write amazing podcast show notes and smash your goals.
The sad truth is that most podcasts get little attention even if the episodes are high quality and offer lots of value. Many podcasts are almost invisible on the podcast networks and rely on luck to get noticed. Apple's podcast ecosystem is terrible for finding new content. It just happens to be the biggest platform for distribution so that's bad for everyone except the big players. Apple's recommendation engine merely recommends the trending podcasts and always seems to offer up the same few shows. Even when I search, I get old episodes from podcasts that haven't published anything in ten years.
But people are starting to use Google to search for podcast shows. Google has its own podcast network (Google Podcasts) and podcasts app, so of course, the big G will be doing its best to promote its own products over everyone else's. But Apple and Spotify are still far ahead. And it looks like the lead is actually increasing.
But the fact that Apple isn't the only player in town has led more people to consider other places for podcast discovery. It's pretty common for your potential listener to type the name of a show or a topic + podcast into Google. If you don't appear, you may never get discovered by your target podcast listener.
This is where you can take advantage of SEO for your show and episodes. Few other shows are doing this it's a great opportunity to stand out.
I worked with a podcaster who had released hundreds of episodes but he rarely got over 200 listeners per episode. While that's nothing to sneeze at, it's still low for a podcast show that has been around for several years and consistently produces good content. My suggestion to create show notes and SEO-focused blog posts for each episode was received the same way most people receive news that they might have to do work to get ahead. He ignored my advice.
Yet, other podcasts producers are doing really well with this tactic and there's no reason to believe that it won't continue to deliver results.
SEO for podcast episodes
Use blog and podcast SEO to get your podcast noticed. Most podcasters are doing a terrible job or not even bothering with this. But that's a mistake. Google is now indexing podcasts and you can use the podcast content to rank organically. Take advantage of the SEO benefit of written content.
Create detailed show notes from the podcast. Many hosts are tempted to just post a transcript of the show, but that's a mistake. transcripts make for terrible reading. If you don't believe me, try recording a conversation and reading back the transcript. We don't communicate via written text the same way as we do when we're talking.
Transcripts will often be full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and weird sentence structures. They are boring to read and there's no flow. This is not what the search engines consider high-quality content, so why publish it?
I don't believe that transcripts work for good show notes pages. I wouldn't even put them on the page. I've been researching other podcasters and the ones that rank on Google create detailed show notes that are formatted for readers. Transcripts are a terrible reading experience. Although they are better than nothing, it pays to take the time to properly format your podcast notes into a genuinely useful blog post.
Create an intro based on either your own research or a modified transcript of the interviewee's self-introductions. Tell the reader what they will learn by reading the text and by listening to the show. Explain why people should read on and listen in.
For an example of excellent podcast show notes, check out Stephan Spencer's show Marketing Speak.
Use bullet point lists wherever possible. If a podcast guest gives great tips and advice, format them into a list and highlight them. These sound bytes can be repurposed in social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Break up the text into short bite-sized paragraphs.
Use quotes only where necessary. Describe the conversation without actually using direct speech transcriptions.
Finish with a summary and add links to important content, further reading, and related podcasts.
Keyword-focused Episode Titles
Try to come up with a topic or keyword focus for the blog/show title. If you're interviewing Gary Vaynerchuk about his wine channel venture from back in the day, you might want to call the episode “How Gary Vee grew his wine channel from zero to 1 million subscribers” or something along those lines. Do keyword research to find topics that people want to hear about. If they're not looking for information on Gary's wine business, then give the post a different title (as long as the subject matter still matches the title). If your guest is not well known you could write about their skills or industry. If you're interviewing a digital nomad, you could mention all of the tips they offer in the show. Title the podcast show notes “Digital Nomad tips for 2021” or something like that. The possibilities are endless but the more “findable” and relevant you make your content, the easier it will be for new people to find your stuff.
Create a post for every podcast on your site and add detailed show notes with headings. Bullet points are good, quotes are great. Add images and of course, the embedded show audio. Give each episode a keyworded title.
Create short clips or an entire show with lots of graphics, animations, and videos on YouTube. I wouldn't just dump the episodes on YouTube but if you add a visual element this could work very well. You can then embed these short videos into the blog post. In this way, you get the added benefit of interlinks between the two biggest search engines in the world (Google and YouTube). When people watch on YouTube they can then find your blog and vice versa. But the end goal is brand awareness for your podcast show.
Use Structured Data to tell Google what the pages are about. If you're using WordPress for the website, this can be done with a plugin like SEOPress or Schema Pro. Schema ties into the SEO of your podcast show notes. Podcast SEO is one of the best ways to get exposure and a new audience to your show.
Add to Listen Notes and Other Podcast Directories
Add the show to Listen Notes. I love this website and it's getting really popular. Listen Notes is like a database of podcast shows and beats the search abilities of Apple, Google, Sticher, and Spotify. Find new shows and episodes and save your favorites.
Check this guide to the best podcasts for entrepreneurs you should load up on your phone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Some Benefits Of Writing Show Notes?
The benefits of podcast show notes include better user experience thanks to highlighted important show topics and points and increased visibility in search engines which results in more traffic.
What to include in your podcast show notes?
Include a catchy, SEO-focused title, a summary of important topics, links to relevant websites and other podcasts, a podcast transcript that includes memorable quotes, guest bio, episode number, timestamps, and bullet points on the most important takeaways.
Where should I put my podcast show notes?
Ideally, you will have your own website but you can also post show notes on some podcast host platforms. Hosting the notes on a website that you own and manage is better. Use WordPress and embed your podcast episode in a post along with the episode summary and supporting content.
Do I need graphics for my podcast episodes?
It will certainly help to have great artwork for every podcast episode. A featured image will help when people share it on social media. Pinterest pins can help get attention on the visual search platform. Graphics and images in the content will also help break up the text and offer search engines more context. Use Canva for all your graphic design needs. There's nothing better.