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Audio SEO: The Definitive Guide to Ranking Your Podcast for Free

Audio SEO is the term that refers to the process of optimizing your podcast for search engines. It’s a relatively new concept, but it’s growing at an incredible rate. A few years ago, Google started using podcasts in their search results and made them eligible to rank on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP).

Now, in 2022, the number of podcast listeners has reached 485 million worldwide. That’s a lot of potential customers for you!

In this article, I will discuss what audio SEO is and explain the types of podcast carousels that Google uses. I will also share some of the best audio SEO strategies that you can use to promote your audio assets to grab more listeners.

Let’s begin!

What is Audio SEO?

If you're a content creator, you know that ranking well in search results is vital. That's why I want to share my newfound knowledge of "audio SEO"—the practice of optimizing your podcast for the search engine results page (SERP).

Why is audio SEO important? Well, let's start with the fact that Google's goal is to increase revenue by adding podcast search as another product. So it started displaying podcasts along with text, image and video search results. Worldwide, there are around 2 million podcasts and 48 million episodes—and that number is growing every day!

78% of people are familiar with the concept of the podcast; 24% of people listen to podcasts weekly. 45% of podcast listeners have a monthly income over $75K—so if you're looking for high-earning prospects, this is your audience! And Apple hosts over 1.96 million podcasts on iTunes—that's 1 out of every 4 shows on iTunes!

The digital audio advertising segment is expected to reach $5.8 million USD in 2022—which means there's lots of opportunity in this space!

What is a Podcast Carousel?

When you enter search queries into Google that trigger audio results, then the search engine displays a list of relevant podcasts in the form of a carousel known, in this case, as a podcast carousel.

Types of Podcast Carousel

There are three different types of podcast carousels:

  • First-page podcast carousel,

  • Position zero podcast carousel, and

  • Related search podcast carousel.

First-page podcast carousel

This is the most common type of carousel, and it's also the easiest to get into. The first-page podcast carousel will show up for search terms about certain podcasts. It'll have a list of episodes that are relevant to those terms, and you can see an example here.

First-page podcast carousel

Position zero podcast carousel

Featured Snippet is the second type of featured snippet, which appears before all results in Google's search results. You need to be able to answer questions quickly and clearly in order for this snippet to work well for you, so if your answers are long or complicated (like if they're full of links), then you're probably better off with a regular snippet. An example query is "best marketing podcasts."

Position zero podcast carousel

Related search podcast carousel

The third type of featured snippet is at the bottom of the SERP page with other related podcasts on Google's suggested pages. You'll want to make sure that your content is relevant to what people are searching for when they come up with this type of query so that people can find more podcasts they like while they're looking through these results!

Related search podcast carousel

Types of Podcast Search Queries for Audio SEO

There are three main types of podcast search queries: navigational, informational, and question-based.

Navigational Podcast Queries

These are the queries that people use to find their way to your podcast. They typically use words like “podcast” or “audiobook” and can be found using Google Keyword Planner or other keyword tools.

Navigational Podcast Queries

Informational Podcast Queries

These are the queries that people use to find information about a particular topic related to your podcast (e.g., “how to build a website”). These are not necessarily unique and often occur more than once. For example, someone may search for “how to build a website” and then come back later and search for “how to build a WordPress website” or “how to build an iPhone app.” These searches will all be treated as one query by Google, so even though there were two separate searches made by the same person, they will not affect each other's rankings in any way.

Informational Podcast Queries

Question-based Podcast Queries

These are the queries that people use when they want an answer to something specific (e.g., “how long does it take for eggplant seeds to sprout")

Question-based Podcast Queries

Is Audio SEO the Same as Traditional SEO?

No. And yes.

The short answer is that audio SEO is unique to podcasts and it relies heavily on RSS feed, podcast directories, transcriptions, and more. The long answer is that it's all about how you manage your content to ensure that you're reaching your target audience in the most effective way possible (and with the least amount of effort).

Traditional SEO, meanwhile, focuses on websites and landing pages—and those are two things that don't exist in podcasting! Instead of worrying about keywords, backlinks, meta descriptions, and other elements of traditional website optimization, audio SEO focuses on finding ways to optimize your content so that it can be found by people who are searching for it.

Why is Audio SEO important?

Audio content is growing much faster than websites did in the early 2000s: The number of podcast episodes rose by 60% from ~30m to ~48m in the last year alone.

This means that if you're not investing in audio SEO, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity.

Audio SEO became important right after the announcement Google made at its May 2019 Google I/O Conference: “In the coming months, we'll start surfacing podcasts in search results based on the content of the podcast and let users save episodes for listening later.” This means that if you're not investing in audio SEO, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity.

People are launching about 125 new podcasts every hour! Therefore, it makes sense to start creating podcasts and/or investing in audio SEO to ga