Yesterday I had two clients who produce podcasts — one podcast about building tiny houses and another about mindset for business owners — ask me how to integrate the podcast (specifically, the show notes) into their SEO strategy. They’d both listened to Neil Patel’s interview on Any Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy podcast, during which Neil tells Amy that her podcast show notes are pretty much useless for her SEO, and just like Amy, they both started to panic.
“What should I do to make my show notes more SEO-friendly? Should I turn them into blog posts? Include the audio at the end of a related post?”
My answer (which shocked both of them):Don’t try to optimize your podcast shownotes for SEO.Your podcast show notes can improve your SEO, but you shouldn’t write your show notes specifically to gain new search traffic.Click To Tweet
I know, it seems odd. Hear me out.
Why do you have a website? To easily share information about your business with people.
Sometimes you share that information with others (like email marketing or social media) and sometimes others find you (like search traffic).
But the goal of putting any information on your website should always be to help your reader.
So what’s the goal of podcast show notes? It seems obvious: the goal is to share notes relevant to the show, because they can’t easily get that information while listening.
The goal of show notes is to serve your listeners, not to be found by new people.
If you want to be found by new people through search, then audio content is really not a good solution — you should either record your podcast as a video & upload it to YouTube (newsflash: YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google, and it’s owned by Google) and/or write an SEO-friendly blog, and link to it in the show notes.
Yes, that means creating even more content. I know, it sucks.
But the content doesn’t have to be totally different! For example, Amber de la Garza records her Productivity Straight Talk podcasts (like how to make your new year’s resolution (or any fresh start) last beyond the initial excitement), where she links to related podcast episodes, related blog posts, and makes it easy for people to leave her a rating and review.
Then before the podcast goes live, her team turns that podcast into a blog post (10 Tips To Make Your Fresh Start Last) that’s formatted in a way that is more search-able and kind to readers.
You may wonder: Why doesn’t she just put the blog post into the show notes? Wouldn’t that just make a super-resource?!
Nope, bad idea. If a piece of content tries to do too much, it won’t really serve either audience that could benefit.
Every type of content has a different purpose. Show notes are for people who have already listened to the show, and they’re a great way to move people from their podcast app over to your website. And then once they’re on their website, you can share other amazingly helpful resources with them, so they love you even more and want to throw money at you.
To think of it another way: have you ever searched for something and seen podcast show notes (they’re usually pretty obvious because the page title starts with “episode 126”)? Did you click through to that page & listen to the embedded recording to get the answer to your question? HELL NO YOU DIDN’T. You kept scrolling until you found the succinct answer you were looking for.
On the other hand, have you ever listened to a podcast, heard them mention an idea, then gone to the show notes to find out more? I do it all the freaking time.
John & Sherry at YHLHAP do this incredibly well: In their episode #121, they talk about their mailboxes and say, “We’ll put pictures of them in the show notes.” They talk about the impact of blogging on their home design decisions, and include, “We wrote a blog post about this, I’ll put in a link in the show notes.” And without fail, they share products that they love during the “We’re Digging” section of the podcast … and where do you think they include links to those products? Yep — in the show notes.
Do I think there’s a ton of search traffic regarding their mailbox decisions? NOPE.
Do I think their loyal listeners want to see what they’re talking about, and therefore they’ll head to their website to check it out? YEP.
But just because show notes might not lead directly to traffic acquisition doesn’t mean they don’t have value for your SEO.
Here are 2 big SEO benefits to podcast show notes:
You can link out to relevant blog posts to spread your domain authority more evenly around your site.
This is a hard concept to grasp, so you can just trust me that it helps! Or if you’re curious, I tried to simplify this idea:
- Every page on your site gets its own authority score (PA, for page authority), and the more links that point to that page — both from your site & other people’s websites — the higher that PA.
- Every website also has a domain authority (DA), comprised of a ton of variables, many of which are how many inbound links there are from other websites to every page on the site. So typically the homepage has the highest DA, the top-level pages have the next highest, and blog posts are lower DA.
- But when a blog post get a ton of links, that raises its PA. And when that well-linked blog post links to other pages around your site, it shares its PA with them.
- So the more you link among your pages (like a link from a show notes page to a blog post), the more google realizes, “Hey, this blog post is important! I’m gonna recommend it to other people who are searching for this topic.”
When you have guests on your show and they want to promote to their audience, chances are they’re not just sharing your homepage — they’re linking the show notes page for their episode.
- So if your guest links to their show notes, that improves the PA of that page. And if that page links to a related blog post, the guest’s link improves the PA of that page. And overall the DA of the entire website improves.
- It’s sort of like “a rising tide lifts all boats.” If you have links into your website directing to show notes, it improves your overall site DA.
- And ready for a confusing addition to this PA/DA explanation? Not all links are created equal! So the higher the DA of the site that’s referring to you — ie. the more authority & SEO credibility your guest has — the more their link improves your overall website DA!
I know — the whole thing sounds like a scheme.
But here’s the TLDR:
Show notes probably won’t help your website show up in search results.
But! Because you can use them for internal and external linking, they can improve the overall SEO for your entire site.
And remember: SEO is not the only way that you can grow your traffic! They may not directly impact your search results, but show notes can encourage your audience to visit your site, join your list, promote your brand and buy your products, so they should still be an important part of your podcast strategy.