How to increase podcast downloads

Simple SEO Podcast, Podcasting

Hey there! Are you a podcaster trying to figure out how to increase podcast downloads? I get it. It can be frustrating. You work so hard to create each new episode of your podcast, and you want people to download and listen to it because it will entertain, educate, or help them in some way. And your podcast needs more downloads to grow. Do you dream of the day you can take on sponsors or charge for ads? A lot of people do.


So, how the heck can you increase podcast downloads?

 Listen to the podcast episode here. 

Did you know that podcast SEO is a thing? It is, and oh my goodness, my friend, it is powerful.


When I first started my podcast, I wasn’t aware that you could really do much for podcast search engines. However, after a few months of typical results—30 or 40 downloads per episode—I figured there had to be a way to use SEO to grow my podcast. I mean, I’ve used SEO for Google, websites, and blogs for years. 


So I set out to learn everything I could, and guess what? Podcast SEO is the best thing I’ve done for my podcast. 


By making a few small changes to my show and episodes, I was able to 5x my downloads within 6 months.


Podcast SEO is Fast!


If you’ve been here for a while, you know that Google SEO or website search engine optimization is a long-term investment. You do the work, and it can take 6-12 months before you start to see much movement, and the best return on your investment (website traffic) often starts in the 1-2 year range. But podcast SEO is different. I began to see results within a few weeks. The difference in my downloads was measurable. My podcast downloads tripled in about 90 days. And they continued to grow from there.


Podcast SEO is a lot easier than Google.


Interestingly, podcast SEO is much easier than Google SEO. There’s less to do, and you don’t have to worry about making as many mistakes or breaking the rules. It’s the easiest form of search engine optimization that I’ve done.


So, how do you increase podcast downloads?


Let’s start with the basics. Make sure your podcast episodes are on topics that people are interested in. Think about your ideal listener when creating episodes and choose topics that will be helpful to them. This is really important because if you’re going to put in the effort to create a great podcast episode and optimize it so that people can find it in the podcast player, you need to make sure it’s on a topic people are interested in. Ideally, choose a few related topics that you focus on so that your episodes are relevant to the audience you reach. If you’re talking about money one week, recipes the next, and kids sports the third week, your audience may not grow because the people you attract with episode #1 aren’t as interested in 2 or 3, so they don’t come back and listen again.


The next step is to make sure your podcast episodes are being released regularly. Pod fade is real. I know it can get discouraging when you feel like you’re working hard on your podcast and it’s not growing, but staying consistent, even when it feels like no one is listening, is super important. As you grow your audience, you want to make sure they start to put your show into their weekly routine. You want them to be able to count on your new episode to be there each week. If you’re only releasing an episode when you feel like it or when inspiration strikes, you will struggle to grow your audience.


Now that we’ve addressed the content topics and episode frequency that cause so many podcasters to struggle to grow, let’s dig into podcast SEO so you can ensure that the new episodes you create find an audience.


When creating a new episode, stay focused on your ideal listener, choose a topic that will interest them, and then use a keyword related to that topic in your episode title. Put your keyword close to the beginning of the title because podcast players often cut off the title of the episode – remember, most people listen on their phones, and the phone screen doesn’t have a lot of room to include a long title. By including a keyword your ideal listener might search for in your episode title, you have a better chance of being found in the podcast app.


You can also use your keyword in your episode description. You can use it at the beginning of the description to help the search engine know that your episode is about that SEO keyword.


Want to learn more about increasing your podcast downloads? Get my free podcast download growth guide today and take Simple Podcast SEO with me when it's ready. I’ll guide you through how to grow your podcast, too. 

Podcast Episode Transcript

Hi there. Welcome to the Simple SEO Podcast. I'm your host, Rachel Lindteigen, and I'm so excited to have you here with me today. Today, I want to talk about a different type of SEO. Normally, on this podcast, we discuss Google SEO, but today, I want to talk about podcast SEO. If you're a podcaster, have a podcast, are thinking about starting a podcast, or are intrigued by the idea of having one, let's discuss how you can increase your podcast downloads for free using podcast SEO.

We're going to cover three ways to increase your podcast downloads. I've been implementing these strategies over the last six months, and my podcast downloads have increased fivefold. If you're new here, welcome! I'm so glad you're here. You probably found me through the Apple Podcasts app or by searching for something like SEO keywords, SEO for coaches, or SEO for podcasts. I'm thrilled to have you here and want to help you achieve similar results with your podcast.

If you don't have a podcast yet, consider starting one. It's not only fun and a great way to connect with your audience, but it can also be a powerful tool for your business. So, let's dive into how we can use SEO, similar to what we do for Google, to grow our podcast downloads.

First and foremost, think about your ideal customer or listener. Who are they? What are they interested in? What do they want to know about? Ensure that the content you create for your podcast appeals to this audience. Like with your blog, there's no point in recording a podcast episode that no one is interested in or will listen to. If there's no interest, it won't help you connect with your audience, build trust, or grow your business. It will feel like you're talking into the void.

To determine what topics to discuss, choose four content pillars—four areas that you'll focus on. Ensure there's an audience for these categories. Know your ideal customer, their questions, pain points, and concerns, and determine how you can help them. Conduct some keyword research to verify interest in what you're planning to discuss. Use your usual Google keyword research tools for this; we don't have separate podcast SEO keyword tools. Look for search volume and ensure there's interest.

Interestingly, with podcast SEO, we don't need to worry as much about competition as we do with Google SEO. You can target larger keywords, which can be fun and exciting, helping you reach more people. Ensure there's an audience for your content and people are interested in what you're discussing. This is the first way to grow your show—by creating valuable content with an audience.

The next step might surprise you: publish consistently. Release a new podcast episode each week or every other week, depending on your chosen cadence. Podcasting is something people incorporate into their routines—they listen in the car, during a run, while commuting, or doing chores. Consistency helps you become part of their routine. If you release episodes haphazardly, you won't establish this routine. Tell your listeners when to expect new episodes, and they'll make a point to listen.

For example, my podcast releases new episodes every Tuesday. Even when I'm on vacation, I ensure there's a new episode because I batch my content. Full transparency: I'm recording this on June 4th, but you'll listen to it in mid-July. The only way I can ensure you have new episodes every Tuesday is by batching them. I'm recording today because my son is with a friend, giving me a quiet house. Plan ahead, batch your content, and stay on top of things to avoid pod fade, a common issue where people start strong but lose motivation when they don't see immediate results. Remember, it takes time to grow an audience and build connections. Consistency is key.

Lastly, let's talk about using keywords in your episode titles. When planning your content and brainstorming ideas, incorporate keywords into your episode titles. Place the keyword at the beginning of the title, as people typically search for podcasts on their phones and may not see the full title. Using keywords at the start makes your episode more likely to be found and listened to.

In Apple Podcasts, which gets the majority of podcast traffic, you can rank in three places: top results, shows, and episodes. Your episodes can appear in both top results and episodes, providing multiple visibility opportunities. Using podcast SEO, such as keywords in titles, can help you rank and be discovered.

I'm working on a new course called Simple Podcast SEO, which I aim to launch in July. The course will guide you through optimizing your podcast to achieve similar results to mine. In the meantime, you can get my three-step podcast download growth plan from the freebies tab on my website, You'll be the first to know when Simple Podcast SEO is available.

That's it for now. I'll be back next Tuesday with another Google SEO training. See you soon! Bye for now.