The Complete Guide to Podcasting for SEO

Nov 15, 2016


min read

Are you frustrated that your efforts to achieve higher search engine rankings for your website are less than stellar using the usual methods?

Have you found that your quest for backlinks via guest-blogging is getting more difficult?

Would you like a better way to speak directly to potential customers?

Podcasting may be the answer for you. By creating a podcast - or being a guest on the audio creations of others - you can reach an audience with a great amount of interest in what you have to say. And backlinks from related online profiles will get you the search engine love you need to make a noticeable difference.

As a podcaster myself, I can tell you that there is tremendous power in the medium. In a world where marketing messages are getting so watered down, my audience trusts what I say, which is a marketer’s dream.

Content Marketing Via Podcasting

With millions of people regularly downloading and listening to podcasts, they have obviously become an important communications channel. But have you considered how it can improve your SEO?


Consumers go to a website to access or download podcasts, and the link to the download will be accompanied by a description of the content, along with a profile of those involved. Some sites also include a transcript of the podcast. Links to your site from the profile will help your SEO.

Plus you get all the other values of content marketing - establishing yourself as an expert in your field and sharing information about new products and services. More importantly, podcasts may reach people who prefer to get their information from an audio channel; in other words, people who will never read your blog posts because they’re just not into that.

Valuable Audience

Edison Research has tracked awareness of the term “podcasting” since 2006. In a report released in September 2016, the company found that an estimated 150 million people were aware of the term and estimated 98 million people over the age of 12 reported having listened to a podcast with 57 million doing so within the last month.

Between the years 2013 and 2016, the number of people ages 12 to 24 listening to podcasts more than doubled. As with other digital content, access to podcasts has migrated from computers to smartphones or other portable devices.

Podcast consumers are well-educated, likely to be affluent, and loyal. A quarter of those who listen to podcasts weekly have been doing so for five years or more.

Your efforts with podcasting will have ongoing value as it is likely this younger cohort will continue to engage with the content you develop. Websites that host podcasts will gain authority related to the regular traffic from these audio enthusiasts. And your involvement in this world will yield SEO benefits for your site.

Getting Started

An excellent way to get started with podcasting is by being a guest on someone else’s podcast.

Do a search for podcasts in your area of expertise (for instance, “web design”) followed by the term, podcasts. You’ll get a huge list of results to check out. Or you can search for “podcast directory.” Both are good ways to start looking for podcasts.

You can also download a “podcatcher” app to help you locate and organize podcasts that interest you. Apple users will be familiar with iTunes and Android users may use Google Play. Amazon also offers apps to help you locate podcasts.

Start a list of podcasts that interest you. Familiarize yourself with what they cover, their frequency, and tone.

Your best prospects will be podcasts that do interviews with guests, publish new episodes regularly and are a good match for your brand.

Once you have that list, make a point of becoming very familiar with the host and past episodes. In addition to being sure that you’ve found a good match for your first foray into podcasting, you’ll need to know as much as you can before making contact.

Pretend You’re a Podcaster

If you’ve been working with content marketing for a while, you’re ahead of the game. You already know the topics of interest about which you can speak.

If not, start a list of things you might talk about in a podcast. Make an outline or write a script for yourself and practice talking into a digital recorder. You might get a friend to help “interview” you.

Follow the lead of the podcasts that most interest you. Pretend you’re a podcaster and talk, talk, talk - then replay and see what you think. When you’re ready, ask others to listen and give you feedback. You want to be comfortable talking into a microphone before you approach someone to do a guest podcast.

But don’t worry. One of the best things about podcasting is that it’s supposed to be fun. So just be yourself and focus on the one thing that matters - sharing valuable information with listeners.

Just as with text, you need to provide content that is informational, educational, or entertaining (and even better if it’s all three).

Your Pitch

Unless you’re lucky enough to know someone who has a podcast that is appropriate for your material, you’ll have to make a cold pitch to the prospects you’ve developed.

Getting someone to invite you to be a guest on their podcast is like any other sales job. Your target podcasters have something you need (an audience), and you’d like to get them to share it with you. So you need to write an email that makes it very clear, very quickly, that you have something of value to trade.

In other words, what value do you offer the podcaster? What unique material can you share with listeners? How can you benefit the podcast?

Suggest three topics you might address and if you can, include links to where you’ve discussed these online (such as in content on your website or elsewhere). Make a note of where you might promote the podcast, including information about your reach on Twitter, Facebook, or other social channels.

Be sure you’re familiar with each of the podcasts that you approach and customize each email. The worst thing you can do is make your pitch sound like a mass email.

As with other sales efforts, don’t be surprised if you don’t get a response from many of the podcasts you approach. It's a numbers game. But once you get one guest spot, it will be easier to get others in the future.

Include a Transcript

A way to increase the value of your podcasting efforts is to include a transcript. Search engines won’t know what’s in your audio without a transcript. You can give them some hints with a title, but you’ll get a much higher ranking if you include a transcript.

If you can’t or don’t want to include a transcript, a few paragraphs of text that summarizes the important points and includes valuable keywords will enhance your efforts.

Consider Sponsoring a Podcast

If starting your own podcast — or even being a frequent podcast guest — is too much of a time commitment for you, there is an easier way to get your message out there. But it will require more of a financial investment: You can pay to sponsor podcasts.

I have been producing my own podcast since 2011, and we have had several great sponsors in that time. They pay us to speak on their behalf, which works well for everybody. Since my audience trusts what I have to say, they are probably more likely to believe it when I talk up a product more so than if that company were to do it themselves. They get more business, and the benefit of a backlink on each episode they sponsor.

If you were to sponsor a variety of podcasts that each cater to your potential audience, you could get the word out to many new prospects, as well as build a diverse backlink profile. Of course every podcast will have different pricing, and some might have a minimum episode commitment, but try to balance out these two principles:

  1. It usually takes hearing your spot seven times for an audience to remember you, and

  2. The more different podcasts you can sponsor, the more diverse, this the more impactful your link profile will become.

Final Thoughts

Podcasting has been around for a while, but it hasn’t peaked, so it’s worth your effort to get to know the medium. Like other evergreen content, people discover and listen to years worth of podcasts every day. This is great for both getting your marketing message across, as well as for those all-important backlinks.

Podcasting allows you to have one-on-one relationships with many people and who knows where the connections you develop with your audio files may lead. Once you’re comfortable with the medium, you might even establish your podcast and invite guests to speak, all the while building great links to improve your search engine ranking.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Article by

Wes McDowell

Wes McDowell is the head of strategy at The Deep End Web Consulting in Chicago. His specialty is helping businesses of all sizes get the word out, and thrive in the online space.

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