Podcast Visibility Optimization

How to choose the best keywords for your Podcast

You are now familiar with Podcast Visibility Optimization and the different levers you could pull to boost the visibility of your podcast. In this article, you’ll learn how to build a robust keyword set that will boost your keyword rankings, podcast visibility and ultimately downloads and listens.

Let’s get started.

How do people discover podcasts?

When it comes to podcast discovery, we could split users into two groups. Those who know what they are searching for and those who don’t.

Those who know what they want, use either brand names or specific keywords. For example, using “Wall Street Journal” as a brand search or “financial news” as a content-driven keyword search.

The other group tends to browse their listening app and are scrolling through areas such as “News & Noteworthy” (Apple Podcasts), top charts, or “Discover new podcasts” (Spotify). Most listening apps also give you suggestions based on podcasts you already have listened to.

Another way for people to discover your podcast is through referral. Those arrive on your podcast page within the listening app or on the web through a link. Those links could be on social media, a link on your website or in your newsletter, the results of a web search.

Lastly, word of mouth also plays a role and includes friends’ recommendations, your show mentioned on the radio, another podcast, a conference…etc.

To maximize your audience, you would want to pull all those levers as they tend to reinforce each other.

We will start with Search within the listening apps, as this is the most significant discovery channel for podcasts.

To be found by Search, your podcast needs good keyword rankings.

Podcasts Keyword Rankings Explained

Similar to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), keyword ranking for podcasts refers to the position of your show or episodes in the search results for a specific keyword within the listening apps (Apple Podcast, Spotify…etc.).

Say you have a meditation show with daily content, and you want listeners to find your content when they search for “daily meditation” in the listening apps. If your content appears first in the search results, this means its ranking for this specific keyword is #1. If your content doesn’t appear at all, it’s not ranking for the keyword.

Although this may seem straightforward, there is more to listening app ranking than just the position. But let’s start first look into why app ranking stats are essential.

Why is keyword ranking important?

Let’s continue with our meditation podcast example. If the show is not ranking for any relevant keywords, listeners won’t be able to find it. That means the show will miss downloads and listens.

Like on the web, users typically download or start playing the content that appears on the first page of the search results. The tendency to scroll through the entire list is minimal.

Keeping an eye on keyword rankings – especially for essential keywords – is therefore paramount. Don’t let your content go unseen and unheard!

How does keyword ranking work for podcasts?

  • Search results depend on the listening app.

A podcast can have different rankings for the same keywords in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Deezer…etc. That is because every listening app has a different ranking algorithm.

  • Search results vary from country to country.

This means that you get different results for the same keyword if you search from a different country. Two users are searching for “news” in the US and Australia won’t get the same results: they may see podcasts in different orders or entirely different content.

  • Keyword rankings can change quickly.

Podcast rankings may vary really fast, depending on the level of competition for a given keyword. We recommend checking the rankings for your podcast weekly. With a Voxalyze subscription, you receive information about ranking changes directly in your inbox.

How to check the keyword ranking for your podcast?

You could always try the manual approach by typing keywords manually and then scroll through the results until your podcast appears to check your ranking. But when you factor in the number of listening apps, the number of countries, and most importantly, the number of keywords to cover, this will soon become an impossible task.

Well, that’s why we created Voxalyze. In your account, you could track keywords by listening app and country and see how the rankings change from week to week. You could also check the keywords your competitors are ranking for and see how you compare.

Track your podcast keyword rankings with Voxalyze

Create a Core Set of Keyword for your Podcast

Looking at your keyword rankings is just the beginning. The next step is to develop your keyword set. Besides your current ranking, there are other aspects to consider when choosing your podcast keywords. We listed them for you below:

Keyword Relevance

Whether you are a complete beginner or already familiar with Podcast Visibility Optimization, keyword relevance will always be one of the most critical factors when selecting keywords. The keywords you pick must relate to the content of your podcast.

If you use keywords that aren’t relevant, people may have false expectations and are more likely to unsubscribe, stop listening very shortly, or even write negative reviews as they are not getting what they were searching for.

The way users behave (be it dropping from listening or bad reviews) will be a signal to the listening apps for content quality. In case of extreme abuse, you can even get unlisted by Apple or Spotify.

Keyword Search Volume

Keyword search volume indicates how often a particular keyword gets searched for in the podcast listening apps. The more searches there are, the more popular that keyword is.

You may think that it’s a good strategy to only aim for high search volume keywords. However, this is not always true. If a keyword is too popular, you might not even stand a chance to rank for it. Think about “news”, for example, where all major newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks compete.

We often recommend starting with low to medium search volume keywords or long-tail/combination keywords, which are less competitive and more targeted. After you begin ranking decently for these, you can slowly aim at higher search volume ones.

You can find this data in Voxalyze dashboard with search volume estimation split into four categories:

  • High search volume (3 dots)
  • Medium search volume (2 dots)
  • Low search volume (1 dot)
  • Very low or data being gathered (no dot)

As a rule of thumb, higher search volume keywords will bring more download or listen to your podcast.

Tracking Your Podcast Keyword Rankings

Since keyword rankings for your podcast can change rapidly, it is a good idea to track the ones that are important to your audience growth. This way, you don’t miss a ranking change and can take quick action if your rankings drop.

The most convenient way to track your keywords is to add your podcast to the Voxalyze dashboard. Our podcast analytics solution will allow you to track your rankings and see how they improve over time.

With Voxalyze, you can track your keywords for different platforms and countries, and you will get notified of any changes in rankings.

Find the best keywords for your podcast

Now that you know your rankings for relevant keywords let’s start optimizing and define the winning keyword set. There are a few basic steps to follow in the process.

  1. Researching Keywords
  2. Prioritizing Keyword
  3. Targeting Keywords
  4. Measuring and Monitoring

Podcast keyword optimization is a continuous and cyclical process

Researching Podcast Keywords

Keyword Research is all about defining which search terms will get your podcast found by the right users. That is an extremely important step, so make sure to invest enough time and resources into it.

Let’s start with the easiest and obvious task first: make sure your brand keywords are included in your podcast metadata. For those not familiar with the terms, metadata is also called the assets of the podcast. Those are the show name, artist name, short description, long description, episode title, and episode description.

Brand keywords include your company or producer name, podcast name. You should definitely track these across all countries and platforms. Your brand keywords are indeed the core of your podcast keyword set.

 Alternatives Ways to find Podcasts Keywords

  • Check out Competitor Keywords

You can also get inspiration from the keywords used by your competitors. To check what keywords your competitors are using, you can check the Keyword Explorer section of Voxalyze, which shows you all the keywords your competitor ranks for. Or you could start adding your competitors’ podcasts to the list of projects you follow. This way, you will have access to all the keywords their podcasts rank for.

  • Brainstorm keywords that describe your podcast.

Typically, a podcast has a specific goal, as well as an audience niche. Consider what makes your content unique and make a list of keyword ideas. Remember to stick to keywords that are relevant to your show. An option we have seen some podcast producers use is to ask friends or colleagues to describe your podcast. They will come with their own words, which could be great keywords.

  • Use long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are more specific keywords – and usually longer – than more commonly used keywords. Long-tail keywords receive fewer search queries and will usually be easier to rank high for. Going back to the meditation example above, you could, for example, use long-tail keywords like “daily meditation at home”, “mediation for pregnant women”, or even “daily meditation for pregnant women”.

  • Skim through reviews 

If your podcast is already published and reviewed, it pays off to skim through the reviews and note down the words used by your audience to describe your podcast. You could also do the same for your competitor’s reviews.

Prioritizing Podcast Keywords

Once done with keyword research and you have your list of keywords, you need to prioritize those as you probably can’t insert all of them in your metadata. Standard prioritization criteria are brand vs. non-brand keywords, search volume, competition.

Inserting Keywords into Metadata

Next, you need to integrate those keywords into your podcast metadata (show name, artist name, short description, long description, episode title, and episode description). You can’t simply drop them there and probably need to rewrite at least the description.

We have written a whole guide on podcast metadata so be sure to check it out!

Tracking and Monitoring Keywords Positions

Once your metadata has been updated, you need to track the changes. We have seen massive ranking changes happen overnight with a simple metadata update. What is true for you is also true for your competitors, so tracking and monitoring the changes is a must. That’s one of the reasons we built Voxalyze.

Keyword optimization and podcast visibility optimization, in general, is a continuous process.

Want to increase your podcast downloads with Podcast Visibility Optimization? Create your Voxalyze account now! It’s free. PVO is one of the greatest podcast marketing opportunities right now. Most publishers don’t leverage, which makes it incredibly effective for those who do.