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Google Announces Search Rankings For Podcasts

Google I/O Updates Search Results For Podcasts

Following hot on the heels of Facebook’s F8 developer conference, this week has been the Google equivalent, the I/O Developer Conference.

At this week’s event, Google announced a host of updates across its entire ecosystem, with some interesting upgrades to search engine results pages (SERPs).

Perhaps one of the more eye-catching developments was related to podcasts.

Podcasts As A Marketing Thing

Most marketers now understand that podcasts are ‘a thing’.

According to the ABC, Podcast Awareness is very high, with 89% of people 18-75 claiming to be aware of podcasts.

Trial is highest among 25- 34s (76%) and lowest among 50-75s (40%).16% of people 18-75 claimed to have listened to a podcast in the last week, (27% among 18-24s).

Ergo, for marketers looking to hit that sub-35 demo podcasts offer a cheap-ish route to attention. When compared to video.

However, launching and sustaining a successful podcast can be tricky. One of the particularly challenging parts, as with any content marketing, is building an audience.

Well, thankfully, following Google I/O this may get a bit easier.

Google will now, for the first time, index podcasts in search engine results.

Podcast Rankings In Search Results

Google will begin to index podcasts so it can surface relevant episodes of a given program, based on the content, not just the name of the broadcast.

For example, Google introduced automatic transcribing to its Google Podcast app earlier this year. Accordingly, this allows its app to rank and organise podcasts, by the actual content. Much like it has been doing on YouTube for some time.

This automatic podcast transcribing is now extended beyond the app.

In a smart move from Google, searchers can listen to the podcast within Google’s Search results or can save an episode for later listening.

Rather than having to click through to its destination.

A move which is both good and bad for marketers, depending on your perspective. i.e. better for reach, impressions and branding, but possibly poor for traffic and direct conversions.

Again, it perhaps depends on the marketing objective for the podcast.

Podcasters Delight In Search Engine Visibility

The introduction of podcasts to SERPs was first mooted in early 2019, before being announced this week.

Zack Reneau-Wedeen, founder and head of product for Google Podcasts, tweeted on Thursday:

“Rolling out this week you’ll be able to search for and play podcasts directly in Google Search across Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, a step toward making audio a first-class citizen across Google.”

For marketers who have been investing in podcasting for some time, or are planning to, it is essential to appropriately mark-up podcast content for Google indexation purposes.

Structured data is increasingly important for organisations wanting to improve search engine visibility. In an SEO context, "structured data" usually refers to implementing some type of markup on a webpage, providing additional detail around the page's content.

Here’s a handy guide from Yoast, for those unfamiliar.

Within a podcast setting, there is Podcast structured data that you can use to help Google with discovering and understanding your podcast.

Doing so will enable Google to better rank podcasted content within Google Search results and Google Podcasts, along with individual episode descriptions and an embedded player for each.

The new feature is available through the Google Search App for Android (requires v6.5 or higher of the Google Search App), Google Podcasts app, Chrome for Android, Google Home, and Google Assistant.



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