You wouldn’t spend hours talking to a wall.
So why would you spend hours making a podcast if you have no subscribers and can’t grow your audience?
My guess is you clicked on this because you want to know how to get your voice heard. You’ve already got a great podcast and at least a handful of episodes up, but the payoff isn’t there yet.
The iTunes podcast rankings don’t work the same as Google search results, unfortunately. But there are steps you can take to move your show up the charts.
Keep reading to discover real ways to boost your podcast rankings in iTunes.
Create Amazing Episodes
Making your audience feel powerful emotions is by far the fastest way to move up the iTunes rankings.
Apple and Google aren’t stupid. You can’t trick their algorithms by cramming titles with as many keywords as possible. In fact, iTunes has started penalizing that trick with lower visibility.
It’s not easy to decipher exactly how iTunes decides rankings on all its lists. But we do know “New & Noteworthy” and the other themed collections are handpicked by iTunes staff. Sorry, SEO strategies are pretty useless here.
There might be a few things that will get your show featured on a themed list. But those include flukes like getting 200+ new subscribers in a 4 hour period to get on the Top Podcasts list. You would need at least 100 new subscribers in a day to rank well in a niche collection.
You might as well wait to win the lottery.
Or… you could make amazing content that people want to tell their friends about!
Thinking of iTunes as a search engine is a much more effective use of your time. More people will start looking for your show if you give them great content they can crave.
At this point, you may be thinking:
“Great, well-written episodes. Got it. So what’s the next trick I can use?”
No Seriously, Just Focus on Quality Episodes
The listener’s experience needs to be your top priority. Nothing will make your audience click away faster than sloppy volume control bad production.
Listeners are more likely to stick around if your voice is strong and compelling. It may also benefit you to bring in different guests and let the audience hear different voices. Podcasts with only one narrator rarely do as well as teams.
Believe it or not, having a great title picture will improve your click-through rate too.
Even though podcasts are all about audio, your visuals say a lot about your brand. Users are much more likely to start listening to shows with clear, fresh icons.
Having a reliable flow of new material will keep both iTunes and your audience happy.
Setting a posting schedule and sticking to it will make it easy for listeners to come back for new episodes. And if iTunes knows your channel is active and consistent, it will be more likely to suggest your show as a quality search result.
How often do you need to post? Well, that depends more on how long you need to keep the quality of your episodes high. Depending on your podcast topic, it may be easy to post every day or you may need several weeks to plan and prepare.
As long as your brand message and posting schedule are consistent, you’ve found the right schedule. There’s no hard fast rule about how often you should post a new podcast.
Promote Your Episodes Everywhere
Drive traffic to your iTunes episodes by posting links to it on other social media platforms.
A great way to do this is by using creating a blog post to promote each of your podcast episodes. There are audio transcription services that can help you write out the entire episode. Or it may be enough to include a few hundred words, a link to the show, and relevant images.
Using backlinks will help your show come up sooner in iTunes’ menu. All this means is making posts about your show on reputable sites like Twitter, LinkdIn, Pinterest, etc.
I was going to say something else, what was it… oh yea–
Forget About Doing Any of the Following
Just in case you were tempted to fall back on old myths…
The following is complete time-wasting nonsense you need to stop doing immediately:
1) Cramming keywords everywhere to try to impress algorithms
This will actually hurt your rankings. True, focusing your material around a popular keyword will make it easier for people to find you. And since iTunes can’t comb through your audio, you’ll need to tell it your keywords in meta descriptions.
But don’t even think about stuffing episode titles with relevant keywords. Make your original material as helpful as possible. Treat your podcast like content marketing on any other search engine– content is king.
2) Hoping and praying to make it onto a featured list so you can go viral overnight
Instead, give your audience a reason to want to do all that themselves. Encourage real engagement. This is as easy as asking listeners to:
- Leave reviews for your podcast
- Subscribe to your podcast
- Share links to your most recent episode
- Follow you on other social media platforms (so your backlinks become stronger)
Check Your iTunes Podcast Rankings and More
There is no secret key command or set of SEO tricks to spike your iTunes podcast ranking.
Sorry, there just isn’t. Staff members at iTunes personally curate almost all the featured lists you see in the Podcast app. Besides that, iTunes is just like any other search engine.
Same as trying to rank higher on Google, you’ll need to get organized about spending your time on the factors that matter.
The most important factor in getting your podcast found is the quality of your content. This goes for both the quality of your information and the recording quality. Keywords in your meta descriptions and titles can help, but don’t expect those to make up for poor storytelling.
Want to see more helpful content like this? Check out more on our blog.