Podcast Best Practices for iTunes

July 28th, 2018

Podcast Best Practices for iTunes
Anh Nguyen

by Anh Nguyen

COO & Co-Founder at Gummicube, Inc

Podcasts have become increasingly popular among listeners of all ages since Apple added podcasts to iTunes 4.9 in 2005. In fact, in 2018, 44% of Americans ages 12+ have listened to a podcast at some point, and roughly 26% have listened to one in the past month. Podcasts can reach a large audience of listeners and can be created by just about anyone. However, if you’re thinking about creating a podcast, there are some best practices to keep in mind to help get you started: 1. Know Where to Post Your Podcast While there are several streaming services that have loads of podcasts readily available, it’s important to note which service would help you gain the most subscribers. Currently, iTunes has cornered the market for podcast consumption with over 63.2% combined market share, split among the podcast app, iTunes desktop and third-parties. Despite the number of Android devices and users increasing year-over-year, there’s no denying that Apple has the podcast market covered. It’s important that podcasters still take the step in evaluating which streaming service will be best to host their podcast, but ultimately, iTunes is where they’ll get the most exposure.

2. Pay Attention to the Podcast Title

The iTunes ranking algorithm for podcasts puts heavy emphasis on the title. Having too-short of a title or one that is too vague won’t attract subscribers. A common practice for podcast titles is:

  • The podcast’s title
  • A colon
  • Roughly three relevant keywords to the podcast

Keywords are important because they describe what the podcast is addressing and also helps it appear in user searches. For example, an optimized title would look like: Jane’s Fantastic Adventures: Travels | Blogging | Cooking. From this title, listeners can clearly determine what types of topics the publisher will cover just from a basic search. By following the above format, it also helps to separate the main title from descriptive pieces and keywords that are relevant to the podcast itself.

3. Publisher Name Should be Formatted Like the Title

Similar to the podcast’s title, the publisher’s name should follow the same format. For example, Jane Doe: Traveler and Blogging Expert, would be the best way to format the publisher name. By incorporating keywords such as “traveler” or “blogging,” it helps to reiterate what experience you have to offer along with the various topics covered by the blog. It also helps the podcast become relevant for more keywords than just those incorporated in the podcast title, which increases the number of opportunities for it to appear in a user search. These keywords should be used to improve your podcast’s visibility in various searches, help listeners identify that you’re an expert on the topic, and encourage them to listen to your podcast.

4. Optimize Podcast Descriptions

For each podcast, there’s a description to give listeners a brief overview of potential topics, possible guests (if there are any), and more. Within this space, it’s vital that publishers utilize this area with detailed text that is one or more sentences, almost a paragraph in length. The description is incredibly important for both iTunes and SEO and should include keywords similar to those used in the podcast title and publisher name.

5. Podcast Episode Title & Description

The title of the podcast episode should include the primary keyword that is relevant to the podcast. Publishers can also add secondary keywords within the description, which will help specific episodes show up in iTunes search.

Optimize Podcasts for iOS 11

With the number of listeners increasing year-over-year, it’s important that anyone thinking about starting a podcast follows the above points to start gaining subscribers. For instance, if one chooses to start a podcast and thinks that iTunes will be the best streaming service, they’ll need to factor in these best practices and take into consideration the additions that came with the release of iOS 11. This OS has helped transform how the podcast directory lists podcasts by providing publishers with features and tags. Thanks to these tags, it has made it much easier to create rich content that determines how the podcast will show up in the app. Ultimately, if you’re thinking about starting a starting a podcast, you’ll have to think about much more than just the content. Keep in mind:

  • Where your podcast is available matters
  • The podcast title is a huge factor for iTunes’ ranking algorithm
  • The publisher name should follow the same format as the title
  • The description is important for both iTunes and SEO and needs to include relevant keywords
  • Don’t forget about the podcast episode title and description to help it appear in iTunes searches
  • Make sure the podcast is optimized for iOS 11 and takes advantage of the features and tags

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