SEO for podcasts

Search engine optimization can have a major impact on your podcast’s listenership. From alt text to transcripts to titles and even YouTube videos, Jason and Cee Cee share tips and tricks for getting your expertise to show up in Google search results!



Jason Gillikin: Welcome to Earfluence podcast, which is a podcast about podcasting from a podcast production company. I’m your host, Jason Gillikin, CEO of Earfluence, and with me as always is Cee Cee Huffman, producer, content strategist, social media marketer,  intern integrator and doer of all things out of Earfluence. How’s it going today Cee Cee?.

Cee Cee Huffman: It’s good. It’s good. I’m uploading a new episode of the Earfluence Podcast today, which is exciting with PodMatch’s Alex Sanfilippo,  so about how to find guests on your podcast. So after you finish listening to this one, go listen to that one.

. I also got my hair cut yesterday, and nobody told me when I cut my hair that it was going to grow so fast.

So, now I don’t have to wear hats all the time, so that’s exciting, overall a nice day.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. So you had long hair, which you were cutting probably once every three months or so. And then now.

Cee Cee Huffman: And he was like, “How long has it been? Like eight weeks?” And I was like, “It’s been four,” and so he was like, “Yeah, let’s go a little shorter this time so you don’t have to come back every three weeks to get a haircut.” I was like, “Thank you so much.”

Jason Gillikin: Well, it looks good. This is great audio quality already. We, we give them a visual cue. Let’s give the audience a visual cue for an audio podcast.

Cee Cee Huffman: Yes, exactly.

Jason Gillikin: Well, what’s going on in terms of podcasts that you’ve been working on?

Cee Cee Huffman: So let’s see, we put out two episodes today. One of Founder Shares with two women who founded Wherewithal, which is a bra company, and then talking about their story just as being female entrepreneurs and getting capital. And then, we put out an episode of First Check about a woman who was kind of struggling with getting capital.

So, it was kind of nice to have a very, it was a very female empowering day today.

Jason Gillikin: Definitely. And the Wherewithal group they’re, they are launching next week. So, by the time you listen to this, they will have just launched their—

Cee Cee Huffman: So exciting.

Jason Gillikin: —product. Yeah. I mean, it’s been two years, three years in the works.

And then now, they’re at that moment where, where they’re just within days of it actually launching, they’ve got to be so excited, so scared. You know, did we do the right marketing for this? You know, are people going to like it? What about the returns? I mean, it has to be—like, they seem dynamic, but they have got to be so just terrified right now and just shaking, but excited too.

Cee Cee Huffman: Definitely. I mean, that’s like, you finally prepare for this moment and when it’s finally here, like, what do you do? Like when you buy everybody Christmas presents and you’re so excited and then all of a sudden it’s Christmas!

Jason Gillikin: Right, right, right. So, what I want to talk about today is building a podcast that is SEO friendly,  so search engine optimization friendly. The reason I wanted to bring this up today is that we’re getting a lot of search traffic to our website.

So we’ve done, you know, over 500 episodes now within theEarfluence podcasts, and the search traffic that we had in Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2021 has increased something like 1300%. I mean, it’s—

Cee Cee Huffman: That’s just insane.

Jason Gillikin: Totally insane. Yes, I mean the search traffic is off the charts great, and we’re seeing more and more traffic every single day.

And what we’re noticing is we’re doing even better than we were before with SEO, and we can get into, you know, what that’s meant, and what that’s meant for our podcasts. And then, how you as a listener can make your podcast SEO friendly as well.

Cee Cee Huffman: Yeah. And I think there’s a lot of factors that add into the fact that it’s up, however, 1300%, but I think one of the big factors is you used to work in SEO. And so, you know, a thing or two about what you’re doing. I’ve learned some in school and like learning online myself but like, I really would like for you to explain to everyone, to me even, what exactly it is and little things that you can do to make it better.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. Yeah. So, let’s see, 2005, I got my first SEO related job. It was a pretty wild place. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Boiler Room,” it, it was a complete boiler room. So I was on the sales side, and I was brought in to this company, one of like 60 salespeople, and it’s just this pit, and it was, it was nuts.

Like the, the sales side was completely separate from the service side. We could not communicate at all about what, what was going on in service. They didn’t want to know what we were doing in sales.  I mean, like this is a podcast in itself, and one day I will write either a screenplay or we’ll do a narrative podcast on this place, but literally one day the CEO got dragged out because of some, some crazy things that were going on in this company.

There were 200 people. Cee Cee,  if we hit our sales goals at the, each week. On Friday, the whole company would line up and the executives would pass out $50 bills to everybody. If, if we hit our goals.

Cee Cee Huffman: Do we want to implement that at Earfluence?

Jason Gillikin: Sure. Why not? Oh my God. I’m just thinking about it now. I’m like, was all that tax friendly? Or, uh—

Cee Cee Huffman: No.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah, yeah. I, I don’t know. Like it was, it was nuts.

Cee Cee Huffman: So, wink wink, we’re not going to implement that at Earfluence government, if you’re listening.

Jason Gillikin: Well, yeah, catered lunches. I mean, we call ourselves a biggest SEO company in the world. Anyway, the, that one did not work out. I spent about 10 months there before figuring out that what we were giving to the clients did not quite match what we were selling to the clients.

Cee Cee Huffman: Well I mean, of course, when you don’t get to communicate with either team, then of course you’re not going to really understand.

Jason Gillikin: So, yeah. Yeah, exactly. And then, so I left there, I learned a little bit, but left there and then 2007 to 2019, I worked for another SEO company. So, you know, this one was doing good work for clients and, you know, they were actually seeing the benefits of it, and I learned the value of, you know, link building for SEO and what title, search friendly the title tags are.

And you know, what, why content is super important. And basically, the whole premise of it is, you know, Google wants to see good quality content. They want to be able to figure out what pages of a site are relevant. And there’s a, there’s over 200 different factors that goes into their decision. When you’re making a query into Google, you know, what websites show up? So there’s a lot of different factors, but it boils down to some of the basics. Like what is the content on the site, so what is the copy that Google can see, what is the user experience like? So our users bouncing away from the page pretty quickly, or are they staying on there?

Um, what is the title of the page? So what is essentially like the, the headline of the webpage? So, you know, those, those few things, if you can do those right, your website has a chance to rank. But anyway, how does this all relate to podcasting? Okay, so I mentioned that our website traffic has gone up just a crazy amount in the past year.

Well, what we’ve found is that people are going to the podcast pages that have great SEO titles and that are ranking well, and now, what that means is our most downloaded episodes are the ones that are getting a lot of search traffic to them. So, what I mean by that is if you do a search on Google for virtual privilege walk, for example, is going to be number one or number two on Google for that keyword.

And because of that, that is one of the most, no, let me scratch that, that is the most downloaded episode of the Diversity Beyond the Checkbox podcast because they’re getting quite a bit of search traffic to that. Another example is we did a, an episode of Weddings for Real with the hosts of Netflix has show Marriage or Mortgage.

Okay, so I think we’re either in the top 10 or top 20 of Google for Marriage or Mortgage hosts. Right? And so if, if people are, and people are clicking on that, quite a bit of people are clicking on that. And so that is, that continues to be a well-performing episode of Weddings for Real, just because people are finding it on on

Same thing with some of our own podcasts where we do an episode on how to host a solo podcast, that gets a ton of traffic, and that is the most downloaded episode of the Earfluence podcast.

Same thing with how can Clubhouse be used to maximize your podcast or to amplify your podcast? So those were ranking well on, on Google for clubhouse on podcasting. So things like that are the reasons why you want to have a, an SEO friendly podcast.

Cee Cee Huffman: And something that, just as somebody who works in social media and, you know, things change like everyday is not only is it important to kind of make sure that you’re hitting good SEO titles, just in general, if there’s something that’s trending at that time, you want to make sure that you include it. So things like Marriage or Mortgage meet the hosts, that show came out the day that that episode came out. And so, all of a sudden people see this new show, they want to find out about these hosts.

You could have titled it anything about those people, but because it’s like, “Oh, this is new. Let’s get the title of the show, hosts because people are going to be searching for them later. That’s obviously going to boost you up. Same thing with Clubhouse. Clubhouse just started to spike, like huge, so we could say like how to use other apps to amplify your podcast. That doesn’t help us whatsoever because Clubhouse is the important one, and that’s why it ranks well. So that’s just something that I think of instantly, whenever I hear you talk about that.

Jason Gillikin: That is such a great point. So there’s two different things that you can do there. One is you can look at creating evergreen type podcast episodes where no matter when somebody is going to find it, it is going to be relevant to that time.

Or, you can look at trends. So, you know, either one, you just want to make sure that you have a strategy in place for that. So like, if you want to find what people are searching for, you know, you can do that by going to keyword search tools. And there are some, some good ones out there like going to SCM rush, for example, would be a, a keyword tool that you can use.

If you’re looking for trends on what’s trending, if you don’t really know what’s trending, but you just want to look up what, what actually is trending, you can go to Google trends and you can see that information there. But yeah, that gets into, you know, making sure that these podcast episodes that you’re putting out there are SEO friendly.

And what that means is using keywords in these titles, what that means is figuring out what is hot and making sure that that matches what is hot. So, you know, one example of that is we did a, an episode of Diversity Beyond the Checkbox right when Joe Biden rescinded some diversity training restrictions.

So, in his first day of office, he rescinded some boneheaded legislation from Trump that basically  called out diversity training as anti-patriotic, or something like that. Well, Biden on his first day got rid of that bozo rule, and, and we did an episode on that. And so, you know, that was something that was trending, but we want to make sure that we had the keywords in there.

So Biden, diversity training, restrictions, you know, different keywords, rescinds.  Yes, so that people might be searching for that. And then when they are searching for that, that they can find that.

Cee Cee Huffman: Yeah, and this is why it’s so important as well to have a website for—where like, to share your podcast episodes.

We’re fortunate that we have a website with a ton of stuff on it because of how many shows we produce, and then also our clients have websites with their shows on it, so that’s just helpful ’cause it’s, it goes back to the branch metaphor. I feel like I talk about that every single episode. But, by having that available to show up in Google on your website, embedding your podcast episode, having like a short description of your show, a transcript of your show, any word that you have on there that’s relevant to that topic that you’re talking about is just a branch where you’re more likely to reach more and more people.

Jason Gillikin: For sure. Yeah, so let’s unpack that more. So, if you’re listening to this, you know, make sure that you have a unique website for your podcast. So like for, for our clients, you know, we’ll create that for them essentially. You know, they’re, they’ll come on the website, and that’s great because Google is finding earfluence dot com relevant for a lot of different things already.

So having their podcast come on the Earfluence website, that’s valuable. It’s also valuable if you create your own unique website and that way Google can find you, you can give Google fresh information and you can do those things that you just mentioned Cee Cee about putting in a transcript and you can put in show notes, you can add things about who the hosts are, giving Google more quality content.

So yes, a hundred percent. You want to have a website for your podcast, whether it’s an agency website or whether it’s your own standalone website. Both of them are great. Now, let’s get back to that transcript. So for, yeah, with each, with each podcast episode, you have the opportunity to give Google a ton of information about that episode so that it can find you relevant for whatever keywords make sense and, you know, whatever keywords that people are going to be searching for about that particular episode.

So, on, on a  normal, just show notes. You’re probably going to do say, what, a hundred words,  for some, for shownotes? You know, not, not much and that’s, that’s going to be less than a normal blog posts, which a normal blog post you’re probably looking at around 500 words. So you’re giving Google some information with shownotes, but not a ton of information.

But if you put transcript into there, all of a sudden you’ve got, for a 30 minute episode, you’re looking at about 6,000 words, right? So that is the equivalent of about 10 blog posts or 12 blog posts or something like that. You are giving Google a ton of fresh, unique content, and that is what they crave. Like, Google craves, that fresh, unique content.

And if you’re putting out a weekly episode and you’re giving Google 6,000 words, 10,000 words, all of a sudden you are building out the relevance of not just those episodes themselves, but your website as a whole, and Google is going to find your website more and more relevant as you continue to publish those, those websites or those, those episodes.

Cee Cee Huffman: And side note, it’s just good for accessibility reasons, for people who are hard of hearing to have a transcript on your website, separate from SEO, but it’s that it’s valuable. There’s like literally no part of it that isn’t extremely useful and valuable and necessary.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. That’s, that’s so great to, to bring that up.

Some of the things that you can do with your website and the podcast episodes themselves is you want to make sure that any images that are, and this is getting into SEO tech babble, but it’s still important. And I, sometimes I digress, you know, being an SEO for 15 years,  I will get into some tech babble. Anyway, this is a stuff where if I’m talking to my wife about this, she immediately just closes her eyes and then this is a good way to fall asleep anyway.

Cee Cee Huffman: Bed time story.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah, exactly. If you’re putting in images on your website, and you should within each episode. So, you know, every episode should have a unique cover art.

You can have the, the, the images that show up in, you know, Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, you can put those in those episodes. Well, what you need to do with all those images is make sure you’re using what’s called alt text or alternative text, which is a way of describing those images because Google, Google can’t really see an image, but to give it context, you want to make sure that you describe that image in that alt text.

So it might be something like, you know, Danielle Rushton in and Ellery Linder on the Founder Shares podcast or Nicole Lowe CEO of SoleLife on the First Check podcast with Tim McLoughlin Ok? All of a sudden, if, if people are searching for things like Nicole Lowe or people are searching for First Check podcast or Tim McLoughlin or whatever the query might be, images do show up in Google search as well, and those images are going to be clickable, and people do, do image search. So, they might be looking for a picture of Nicole Lowe for example, and they all of a sudden see, “Oh wow. She was on a podcast as well,” because they can see that image from the image search.

“Let’s go listen to that podcast.” So, those are the things that happen, and you want to make sure that your site as a whole is SEO friendly for those reasons, so you can drive people to your podcast.

Cee Cee Huffman: And I want to point out, you talked about going into tech jargon and whatever, this is all actually very easy stuff to do.

Like it’s all very, very simple to accomplish. The part that is a challenge is like, it’s just so small that you don’t necessarily always think about it, and you don’t necessarily realize the benefits that making the small changes can be. So this is, none of this is intimidating. Like, you could get on your website right now and figure out how to do it pretty fast, you just don’t think that you need to, but you do.

Jason Gillikin: Yes. And as you’re rushing to publish these, these episodes, as you’re rushing to publish the webpages to go along with the episodes, sometimes even make the conscious decision to be like, “No, I’m not going to do the alt texts, I just don’t want to think about it and type it out. Let me just go ahead and publish this episode.” No, take the time to do it is simple enough to do it. Sometimes it’s a pain, but you’re not putting up 40 images on, on your website here. It’s just usually one or two that you want to add alt text to. Yeah, so that’s, that’s a great point. Let me back up a little bit here.

So, what I want to point out is that Google does actually show podcasts in their queries now.

Cee Cee Huffman: Yes.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. So, that’s another reason for you to have mostly SEO friendly titles in your podcast episodes. So, what I mean by podcasts are showing up, so if you do a search for any particular topic, especially one that you know there was a podcast on, they’re likely to show webpages, they’re likely to show podcast episodes, images, and videos as well. So, they’re likely to show a lot of different things because podcasting is becoming increasingly important to Google overall, which you’ll see by their Google podcasts app now.

Cee Cee Huffman: And it’s good, but also it’s just another, it’s like, it’s another place for you to pop up. That doesn’t mean that you should neglect all the other parts, just because like, “Oh, well I don’t need to put this on my website because it’s already going to show up to Google.” No, you want both of them. You don’t want either or. You want to get it all, every little bit that you can is helpful.

Jason Gillikin: Yup. Yup.

Exactly. So, SEO friendly titles. So like, there’s, there’s a couple of things when you’re titling your podcast episode that you want, you know, one is to make sure that it’s SEO friendly, which I just mentioned. And two, you want to make sure that it’s clickable. So meaning—

Cee Cee Huffman: It’s a hard balance.

Jason Gillikin: It really is. Yeah.

Cee Cee Huffman: It’s like math.

Jason Gillikin: Yes, yes. And sometimes you’ve got to compromise a little bit on one or the other, and sometimes for us, we’ll go by what the client wants. Right? Like, you know, we can give them, here are the benefits of each of these, but ultimately, what do you want to do here? You know, here, here are the two options that we’re giving you.

So, you know, one example recently is we did a special episode where I interviewed Kurt Merriweather with The Diversity Movement to talk about the DEI community. So their, their diversity, equity and inclusion community that they’re building, which is just, just awesome. But—

Cee Cee Huffman: Like the LinkedIn for DEI.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah, yeah. More than that. I mean, because it’s like a safe place where LinkedIn is kind of cheering and all that’s great. I love LinkedIn, you know, LinkedIn is not a place where you can ask real questions from, from people. You can share what’s going on and be like, I’m doing this awesome thing, gimme some, some applause. Cool. Love it. But, for something like this DEI community, it’s a place where you can actually ask questions about how to handle certain workplace issues. Anyway, so we put out that episode and we’re trying to figure out a title for that episode and we’re looking at, alright, well, do we use the words, diversity, equity and inclusion in this? Because people don’t necessarily know the DEI acronym. And so, that’s something that we need to look up. Do we use the word community in this? Is that valuable from an SEO standpoint, or is it valuable from a clickability standpoint?

Well, if people are thinking well, what is the community? What about the word education? What about the word leadership? So we’ve got to factor all those things into titling this podcast episode, you know, one, you know, is it keyword friendly? And then two, is it clickable? And I can’t even remember what we came up with exactly, but those are all the things that factor into this.  And, if we can have all the information available to us about what’s being searched, what’s trending, our intuition on what’s clickable, we can have a good quality podcast episode title.

Cee Cee Huffman: Right, and I mean, it does take a second and sometimes it takes more than one person.

I remember I was on that email chain and it was like, “Well, let’s try this. No, that’s not coming up with what we want. Maybe let’s try this.” So like, it does take a second, but it is worth it.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely. A couple of other things on being SEO friendly for your podcast. One thing that’s important, and I mentioned Google is showing podcasts, webpages, images, and then videos. Videos.

Cee Cee Huffman: I was just about to bring that up.

Jason Gillikin: Yes. Super important for podcasts. So, if you can either put up the whole episodes or snippets of episodes into YouTube, and I think people know, maybe not everybody knows, but YouTube is owned by Google, so Google and YouTube are one in the same. And so, Google obviously prefers YouTube videos. So, if you can put all that up on YouTube, all of a sudden that’s going to be an added way that people can find your podcast episode.

Cee Cee Huffman: And then another thing that goes with that is if you have a transcript, then you can also create captions, which you can also upload to YouTube, which is just like the transcript, you know, for the podcast, you have the transcript for the video, which is all of those keywords that maybe aren’t in the title or in the description that are also now linked to that video as well.

Jason Gillikin: Yes. Yes. A hundred percent. With YouTube, you want to make sure that you’re putting in the name of your podcast though, in the title, most likely, because, you know, with the podcast episode, it’s already going to be there. But with the YouTube episode, it’s not necessarily going to be there cause it’s not coming in for, it might not be coming in from that particular feed.

But, it’s still SEO friendly titles, you have an opportunity to write a description and I don’t know what limitations there are exactly on, on YouTube descriptions, but you could put in a good chunk of the transcript, for sure. Yeah.

Cee Cee Huffman: There’s not a lot. You can write a long—I one time read somebody who put their essay like, or read somebody’s essay in like, the description of the YouTube video. So you put a lot, probably not all 6,000 words, but you can put a ton. And you can also put links to your podcast on different platforms. Like, “Oh, you like this clip? Why don’t you go listen to it on Spotify or Apple podcasts or Google podcasts, or literally anywhere you want.”

Jason Gillikin: Yes. Yes, exactly. So link it back to your webpage, and then link it back to the, you know, find us on Spotify, find us on Apple podcasts, find us on Google podcasts, wherever else. One, it just makes sense from a user standpoint, but then two, Google loves  links. So, you know, if you’re linking back to your own website, that is a very relevant and very powerful link that you’re going to have for your website.

And the more, more links that you’re getting, the more relevant your website is going to become. So, that’s another SEO trick is you want to make sure that you’re getting as many links as possible as many relevant links as possible coming into your site.

Cee Cee Huffman: Definitely. I feel like it’s so, like there’s so many little steps. It’s like building something to just, but all like all of the little things that you have to do,  it’s not as difficult as it sounds. It does take second, and it is kind of annoying, but it’s okay.

Jason Gillikin: When you’re getting the traffic to your site, when you’re up 1300% over the quarter over quarter.

Cee Cee Huffman: Yeah. I mean, that’s why you should listen to us.

Jason Gillikin: Yes, it is. It is certainly worth it. Well, Cee Cee, I think we just told all our listeners how to make their podcast SEO friendly. So-

Cee Cee Huffman: I know all of this free secret that you just got. And if you came and found this from Google, we told you so.

Jason Gillikin: I guess the big question is what are we going to title this episode?

Cee Cee Huffman: Oh, yeah. Hmm. I don’t know.

Jason Gillikin: Maybe it’s-

Cee Cee Huffman: Might have to do some math.

Jason Gillikin: Yeah, some math. Some keyword research, some trending search. I think, I think it might be as simple as like, making your podcast SEO friendly.

So that, that seems clickable. You know, that has SEO in there, podcast in there, podcast and SEO. So anyway, maybe that’s the title, but we can think on it and look it up.

Cee Cee Huffman: Yes. I will say our podcast is nice for titles because we tend to talk about one topic that’s relevant for anyone with a podcast, so it’s not as stressful as others unless it’s, you know, last week’s, which was.

Jason Gillikin: Right. Right. Exactly. Alright. Cee Cee, great talking to you as always. And thank you everybody for listening to the Earfluence Podcast.

I hope you learned something today. It’s always fun geeking out about SEO, but yeah. Anyway. If you are interested in full-service podcast production, or just want a little bit of help on your podcast, editing help, just guidance, launch strategy, go visit our website and contact us. We’re, and you can send an email to and we will be happy to connect with you and get you all set up for whatever you need for your podcast. So for Cee Cee Huffman, I’m Jason Gillikin, and we’ll see you next time on the Earfluence podcast.

Full Episode Transcript

The Earfluence Podcast is a production of Earfluence Media and is hosted by Jason Gillikin and Cee Cee Huffman.

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