You can now listen to a podcast straight from the results of your Google search (sorry – you didn’t think we meant iTunes, did you? That’s still the eternal mystery).
Once again, Google has come up with a new way to make our lives easier. The search engine gurus have recently launched a new feature which now enables podcasts to appear right at the top of search results.
This means easier access to your favourite podcasts and instant playback without the need of downloading a podcast player app. At the moment, this new feature is only available on searches made through the Google Search app (v6.5 or higher) on an Android device or on Google Home. Google is currently working on gaining support for Chrome on Android, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this feature if it’s popular with listeners.
If you’re a podcast maker as well as a podcast listener, there’s some steps you can take right now to get your latest eps appearing in fans’ searches.
Why should I enable my podcast to appear in Google search results?
Having podcasts embedded in search results is obviously great for podcast listeners, but they aren’t the only ones who benefit from this new feature. The podcast feature is also great for getting more exposure as a podcaster.
As a prequel trilogy Yoda might say, having podcasts embedded in search results leads to increased SERP presence. Increased SERP presence leads to higher click-through rates, which means more listeners to your awesome podcast.
What’s even more exciting is that listeners won’t even be taken to a landing page to listen to an episode. They can start playing right after they have hit enter in the search bar, making for a totally frictionless way to reach your content.
How do I enable my podcast to appear in Google search results?
To get your podcast appearing in Google search results all you need to do is ensure you have followed these two simple requirements:
- Expose a valid RSS feed describing the podcast.
- Have a dedicated homepage with relevant elements described.
But what are RSS feeds?
RSS is short for Rich Site Summary but probably better known as Really Simple Syndication. Essentially, RSS feeds are simple text files that give internet users the ability to subscribe to particular content feeds, a bit like subscribing to a magazine or newspaper. Rather than checking in on a website every day to see if there have been any updates, RSS feeds allow subscribers to see new content almost immediately after it has been published.
RSS feeds are submitted to feed directories and then viewed by subscribers shortly after. All you need to do is use a feed reader where all your subscribed feeds can be viewed on one interface. RSS feeds are also largely beneficial to the owners or hosts of websites, as it allows the publishers (or in this case podcasters) to have their content reach their audiences faster.
How to create your RSS feed
Because RSS feeds are essentially a type of structured data, they can help Google interpret your page by providing explicit cues about your content. By classifying the page’s content, Google can easily find your page and understand its various parts when users search anything related to it.
An RSS feed for a podcast follows a similar structure. As mentioned before, an RSS feed is a simple text file. Within the text file a set of particular tags are required at both a Podcast-level and an Episode-level which describe your podcast. The podcast RSS feed is then used by Google to appear in search results. It is important that the RSS conforms to the RSS 2.0 specifications and includes all the following tags and values.
Podcast-level RSS Tags:
- <title>: Name of the podcast.
- <link>: Fully-qualified URL of the homepage of your podcast (homepage must be accessible to Googlebot).
- <item>: One or more descriptions of individual episodes.
The podcast-level RSS feed must include the above three tags. Additionally, you may also include the following optional tags:
Episode-level RSS Tags:
- <title>: Name of the podcast.
- <enclosure>: Fully-qualified URL of the episode audio file. Audio files with the following extensions are supported: acc, m4a, mp3, ogg, wav.
The episode-level RSS feed must include the above two tags. Additionally, you may also include the following optional tags:
- GUID (Globally Unique Identifier for podcast episode)
- Publication Date
How to create your dedicated Homepage
In addition to an RSS feed, your podcast must also have a homepage that clearly describes what the podcast is about. Once again there are particular requirements to follow if you want your episodes to appear in search results.
Your homepage must have the following HTML element somewhere in the page code:
<link type="application/rss+xml" rel="alternate" title="Your Podcast's Name" href="Your podcast's RSS url"/>
Writing out code and RSS feeds can take some getting used to if you haven’t done it before. For a more detailed explanation on how to do this, head to Google’s podcast guide so you can ensure that your podcast appears in someone’s next Google search!