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AskPat 357 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 357 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
All right, here's today's question from Ken.
Ken: Hi Pat, this is Ken Wilkinson with Greg Bennett Sales. We have a podcast called “The Daily Drive with Greg Bennett.” My question is about iTunes SEO. I'm wondering, now that we have worn out our New and Noteworthy welcome, how to best utilize the episode fields, descriptions, the titles, and especially the tags to improve our search rankings. Any help would be awesome, Pat. I really appreciate everything that you do. I listen to all of your podcasts, and watch. Have an amazing day. Thanks again.
Pat Flynn: Hey Ken! What's up? Thank you for the question, and hopefully the first eight weeks of new and noteworthy were great for you. That's often the time when most people get the most subscribers because they have that free exposure there on iTunes. For those of you listening, if you have a podcast and you put it up there and it's brand new, sometime within the first few weeks you'll typically get put into the New and Noteworthy section, which is kinda of free exposure for you. But that only lasts for so long, and a lot of the times you'll just drop in the rankings or you'll drop in the download numbers, or both, after that eight weeks is typically over. And Ken, it sounds like you're experiencing that now, or maybe you're planning a little bit ahead and thinking about how you can kind of counter that.
And there's a number of different ways to do that, and we'll just talk specifically about SEO in this one, 'cause this is something that a lot of people don't actually think about when it comes to their podcasts. Excuse me, I still see podcasts where the … Well, I mean the title and the show description alone don't do anything in terms of telling people what it's about or utilizing that opportunity to optimize the show for those particular keywords. But, I love they way you're thinking, Ken, in terms of thinking about those particular episodes. I actually get a number of people who discover me, not by typing in keywords in iTunes and finding my show that way, but they find particular episodes that way as well. So you'll notice that if you scroll down in iTunes after typing in some keywords, you'll see that if there are any podcasts episodes related to those, those will pop up. And sometimes those are a little bit more direct than finding a show related to that topic, especially if that particular person is looking for specific advice or a specific solution to a problem, or information about something, and there it is right there in the shows, or the episodes that are out. Instead of, “Hey, here's a show, may be you'll find something related to it,” no, “Here's an episode that's exactly about what you're looking for,” click play, and then they get into your episode from there and then can subscribe if you've done a good job of getting people to subscribe from there as well.
Now, it's really important to think about the titles of your particular episodes, and what keywords people might be using to find those. You can do some Google keyword research. You can use the keyword planner tool, or if you have tools like Long Tail Pro or Market Samurai, finding out what people are typing into Google will give you some kind of idea of what people are typing into iTunes as well. The only thing is, iTunes is very secretive on those kinds of things, unlike Google. They keep everything hidden and secret; it's hard to determine exactly how their algorithm works, and we also don't know what keywords are searched for more so than others. So, you're going to have to take some educated guesses based on the content.
But, what I would do is that before you title your episodes, type in keywords that you think you're going to put in there, into iTunes already, and see what pops up. See if there are other episodes that are available that are talking about those things, and you might be able to figure out how you can shape and form your title of that particular episode in a way that will stand out from the other ones that are already there. And that's going to help you as well. You might get some ideas from actually clicking on some of those shows, or even listening to a little bit on some other secondary and tertiary keywords that you can add in there as well, also, for tagging purposes too. Tags are really important for each of your episodes. The keywords, those are the things that as part of the iTunes algorithm, not just for your show, but for your episodes as well. And those can be really helpful for people to help find your show if they type in those related keywords. And, you gotta make a list of maybe about five to 10 that you can put in there, and that's again in the metadata within your blog post, and it may or may not actually apply to iTunes, but it's going to apply to some search engine. And it's not going to apply to Google, because Google doesn't actually look at those keywords anymore. But, it's important to put those in; those are some sort of metadata, and every little bit helps. And of course, it doesn't hurt to put those in there, so you might as well.
The description is really important, though. The description that you put into the episode in your blog post that you have publishing where your RSS reads that information, it's really important to have those keywords in there, but also remember when people find those episodes in iTunes. They're also human beings, and so you want to be pretty enticing and drive people to actually click on those episodes and listen to them. So, writing for robots or algorithms is really important, but also knowing that your robots and algorithms aren't going to be listening, it's actual human beings and people that are listening. So, making sure that whatever you write does make sense, and that's really important as well. You might need to do some testing in terms of where in your description the iTunes pulls or reads it from, so is it the actual description in, for example, your all-in-one SEO plug-in or is it an excerpt, an excerpt that is being read? There might be some sort of description … Did I say that right? Excerpt? Excerpt? Excerpt? That's a weird word, but you have to find out where in iTunes … So if you go to your existing show and you hover over that information icon within each episode, find out what's being read there. Is it from the description, which is going to be important to fill out anyway for Google's purposes but that might be where that information's coming from. For some people, I've seen it come from other places. It might come from the first few paragraphs, or it might even share all of your show notes.
Whatever the case may be, you'll also want to mention those keywords in there, and again, make sure you're also writing for human beings. But the most important thing is just to see what else is out there, and see what you can do to stand out from everybody else that is posting and has episodes on those particular situations. You might find that there might be a show, for example, that has three steps to do such and such, whatever keyword that you're thinking about writing about. Well, maybe you can say “the one thing you need to do it,” to kind of stand out from those people who are publishing about it and having three steps. So, I mean, that's just a quick little example, or maybe somebody writes something that is “the 30-minute guide to such and such,” well, you have “the 20-minute guide.”
And again, those are little things that help you stand out from everybody else that's out there. And that's not really SEO, but it kinda is, because you're drawing people's attention towards being shown. But the description and tags and the keywords that go along with the show are going to be really important as well. And of course, how many people listen to them and subscribe on your show is just going to help you in terms of your overall rating as well, so make sure on your show you're getting people to subscribe and rate your podcast, and leave a review. And the more of those you can get in a short time period, the higher you are going to climb in the rankings. And once you drop out of New and Noteworthy, oftentimes you'll drop out of the rankings if you were in the rankings. But a quick and easy way to get back up is to plan, for one of your upcoming episodes, to just make a huge deal out of it. Maybe you have a special guest coming on, or maybe it's the 50th episode or the 100th episode, and you make a big deal out of that, and you get people to subscribe, leave a rating and review. Maybe you run a little contest that goes along with it. Again, getting as many people to share it and subscribe and leave ratings and reviews as possible within a short timeframe, have an end date to that contest if you have one, so that all those actions fit in to that little space. And you're going to see that you're going to climb in the rankings quite well during that process. And once you get into some exposure rankings, you know within the top hundred, hopefully in the top 20, possible in the top 10, then you're going to get even more people subscribing and a lot more exposure, because things just kind of happen after that. Because it's free exposure on iTunes, whether people are viewing on their desktop or, more importantly, on their mobile device too.
So, again, also another thing to do is check out to see how your titles look on a mobile device. Maybe you'll find that they're a little too long and you can't get the gist of it, or the keywords that you put in there aren't found because the mobile device truncates them. You know, it only shows the first X characters. I'm not exactly sure how many characters; it probably depends on the device and the resolution, but see what your show looks like when it comes up. See what the episodes look like as well. Are they enticing to you? Maybe not. You might need to change how you actually title your episodes as well.
So, just some things to think about, Ken. I hope that helps you, and I wish you all the best. And everybody else out there who is in New and Noteworthy, or who has gotten out of it and wants to get some more exposure, hopefully this has been helpful. Ken, we're going to send you an AskPat T-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. Thank you so much. You'll hear from my assistant in the next couple weeks to collect your information so we can send you that.
For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com; you can ask right there on that page.
Thanks so much for listening in. I appreciate it, and let's see today that you're listening to this, if this is the third of June, for those of you who are getting this when it comes out, I will be on my way on a plane to Ghana in about 24 hours from now. So, wish me luck. I'm headed over there to visit a couple schools that we built last year, and I can't wait to talk about it with you guys. Also I want to remind you that the Smart Podcast Player is currently still available on sale, 25% off, if you go to SmartPodcastPlayer.com and enter the discount code threedaysonly. It's a three-day-only sale; there's only one day left, so you want to make sure you capture that now before the price goes back to full price. And, yeah, so again, SmartPodcastPlayer.com, coupon code threedaysonly.
Thanks so much. I appreciate it, and here's a quote to finish off today's episode by Rosalind Carter. She said, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Cheers, take care, and I'll see ya tomorrow. Bye.