Podcast Visibility Optimization

US Podcast visibility ranking January 2023: winners, losers and industry trends

We’re excited to release our second podcast visibility ranking! If you are new to this format, our visibility rankings put a spotlight on the shows that do the best job at capturing search volume in podcast app platforms.

Unlike charts, which focus on download volumes*, we are purely looking at the number of keywords a podcast is ranking for, in what position, and the search volume associated with these keywords.

After reflecting on the shows that fared best throughout 2022 in our previous ranking, we’re now looking at the most visible shows of January 2023.

See our analysis, findings, and methodology below the infographic.

US Podcast Visibility Ranking January 2023

The power of the long tail

It is interesting to note that the top shows, while being extremely popular, do not necessarily dominate podcast charts. This is something we already addressed in our 2022 ranking. Let’s look at the #1 this month to explain what is at play here.

How I built this (HIBT) is an interesting case. It doesn’t have strategically placed keywords in its title or a lengthy show description. It actually could rank higher for what should be its top target keywords (entrepreneurship, business). Its strength lies in branded and long-tail keywords.

For instance, the show ranks very high for many popular brand names, including #1 positions on household names such as Chobani, Allbirds, and Warby Parker. How?

They do an outstanding job at writing long, keyword-rich episode descriptions. After sampling twenty episodes, I got to an estimated 150 words per description on average. Multiply this by 493 episodes, and voila, they have close to 74,000 words indexed by platforms.

With HIBT, we’re also looking at a striking example of keyword frequency across episode descriptions. Although the word “business” is included neither in the show title nor the show description, HIBT ranks in 5th position for that keyword in Apple Podcasts. How is that possible?

There is no telling with certainty, but my money is on the fact that “business” appears 253 times in 493 episode descriptions. The relevancy of each episode probably adds up to build the show’s relevance.

A lot of these observations also apply to Stuff You Should Know. Read my remarks on SYSK in our previous ranking.

The end of the status quo

In our previous edition, we saw a lot of stability in the top 10, comparing 2021 with 2022. I also predicted that we would see more drastic changes moving forward. How did my predictions hold up? Pretty well.

From the ten shows that topped our 2022 ranking, only five are left. It is worth noting that I’m only looking at January here. The shorter period (looking at a single month rather than a full year) naturally comes with more volatility. I’m curious to see what the top 10 looks like when we publish our quarterly ranking in April.

Sources and methodology

Sources: Apple, Spotify, and Voxalyze

We maintain an extensive database of keywords and gather rankings directly from Apple and Spotify. We then enrich this data with estimated search volumes for each keyword.
Note that the positions presented in this ranking are average positions across the year. Stuff You Should Know has not been #1 throughout the year, but has been number 1 for the longest cumulated time.

*Note that downloads do play a role as they contribute to podcast authority, which is a significant factor of podcast visibility (the other one being podcast metadata)

Want to capture podcast app search traffic but not sure how to optimize your podcast metadata? Sign up for our free podcast visibility mini-course!