Should podcasts now be on your SEO radar as a more serious content consideration to boost your brand presence?
That would appear to be the case, as this week, Google has announced that it will now highlight links to individual podcast episodes within relevant search queries, adding more potential brand-building value to the rising practice.
As per Google:
"Starting today, when you’re searching for a podcast about a topic on Google - such as “podcasts about Awkwafina” or “Instant Pot recipe podcasts” - we’ll show you playable episodes in Search results alongside web pages, news, images and videos. We’ll surface these episodes based on Google’s understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast, so you can find even more relevant information about a topic in audio form."
And Google's understanding in this case may extend further than you would think.
Relevant podcasts will be highlighted, as Google notes, based on what's being talked about within each episode, which it's system can ascertain from the title and description. But Google can also, at least to some degree, understand the audio content of each program also. Earlier this year, Android Police reported that Google Podcasts had begun automatically generating transcripts of podcast episodes, and using that text output as metadata to help listeners search for shows.
That could have significant benefits for podcast discovery - how accurate and valuable its recognition processes are at this stage is not 100% clear, but as Google improves its systems, this will make more podcasts even more valuable in an SEO sense.
Google also notes that soon, users won’t even need to use the term “podcast” in their search queries, with episodes to be displayed based on query relevance - which, again, underlines the potential value of its evolving speech recognition tools.
If you weren't considering the potential of podcasts for brand promotion already, now may be the time to give them another look. As you can see in this chart, podcast listenership is on the rise, with more people tuning in to learn and stay up to date about an ever-increasing range of niche interests.
Up to 124 million Americans now listen to podcasts regularly, a huge pool of interested, engaged consumers - and when you add to that the capacity to boost brand awareness via search, it's definitely worth considering.
In addition to this, Google also notes that it'll be looking to help podcasters further build their audiences by adding an option for publishers to specify where people can listen to their podcasts within search results. That'll provide the capacity for publishers and brands to highlight podcasts which may be exclusively available by purchase or subscription.
As noted, Google has been moving in this direction for some time, so it's little surprise to see them give podcasts more exposure in search results. But it does make podcasts a more valuable branding consideration.
If you've been on the fence about whether to make the jump and try your hand at your own podcast, now may be the time to add them into your content mix.