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How To Make Your Podcast Rank



How To Make Your Podcast Rank

Podcasts have increasingly gained acceptance as a part of a comprehensive SEO strategy since Google announced in 2019 that it would surface podcasts in the search results and make them playable.

That change significantly raised the visibility of podcasts in search results because potential listeners can discover podcasting content when searching with the word “podcast.”

Screenshot from search for [interview with larry david podcast], Google, August 2022

Podcasts For Discovering New Ideas

As of April 2022, iTunes and Spotify hosted over 4 million podcasts each.

Podcasting is more than a way to pass the time at home or in the car. People are increasingly turning to podcasts to learn about a topic.

According to research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Oxford University, over 50% of U.K. podcast listeners aged 25+ were more likely to listen to podcasts to learn something.

That aligns with the findings by Edison Research of United States podcast listeners, who listed learning new things as a top reason for listening to podcasts.

While entertainment is still a reason for listening, the trend toward learning about new things, both in current events and evergreen topics, makes podcasting a valuable channel for sharing expertise in the same way that writing articles and publishing videos are.

Podcasts Can Be On Any Topic

One can find podcasts on virtually any topic because consumers of content look for information wherever they happen to be, which means across a variety of media types.

Here are a few examples:

Florida Real Estate Podcasts

Screenshot of Florida Real Estate Podcasts in Google SearchScreenshot from search for [florida real estate podcast], Google, August 2022

Home Improvement Podcasts

home improvement podcastsScreenshot from search for [home improvement podcast], Google, August 2022

Personal Injury Podcasts

Screenshot of personal injury podcasts in Google search resultsScreenshot from search for [personal injury podcast], Google, August 2022

Although there might not be a huge audience for every niche, it’s not a bad idea to be there with a podcast when a potential client is searching.

And as briefly mentioned earlier, podcasting has benefits related to networking with others and creating opportunities to build awareness.

How To Optimize A Podcast For Search

Podcast Description

A podcast description is a summary of what the podcast series is about. The podcast description is what a potential listener reads when they’re searching around on Spotify.

Make the description relevant by describing the series using the words a listener might use.

Summarize Each Podcast

Always create a summary that describes what the podcast is about. This means writing the topics, the main points covered, who the guest is, and some details of essential parts that someone might search for.

For example, if a guest shares an anecdote that might be of interest, write a sentence or two about that anecdote so that someone who might be interested in that information can find it.

The Most Popular Sites For Podcasts

According to a 2022 Edison Research study, podcast audiences listen to their favorite shows through multiple platforms.

The following represents the percentages of people who answered “yes” to each service. That means the percentages won’t add up to 100% since listeners use multiple services.

In a poll, respondents were asked to choose from a list of services they used for listening.

The top five places to listen to podcasts are:

  1. YouTube – 55%
  2. Spotify –  49%
  3. Apple Podcasts – 38%
  4. Amazon Music – 27%
  5. iHeartRadio – 27%

The sixth to 10th most popular places to listen to podcasts:

  • Facebook – 27%
  • Pandora – 25%
  • Instagram – 24%
  • Google Podcasts – 22%
  • Audible – 19%

The top 11 to 20 podcast listening services and sites are:

  • The podcast’s own website – 18%
  • SoundCloud – 17%
  • NPR One – 10%
  • The podcast’s own mobile app – 10%
  • Stitcher – 7%
  • TuneIn – 7%
  • Wondery app – 7%
  • Pocket Casts – 6%
  • Castbox – 4%
  • Luminary – 4%

Optimize For YouTube

YouTube may be the most popular way audiences listen to podcasts (followed closely by Spotify).

That means it’s important to upload a version of the podcast to YouTube.

Be sure to add a descriptive title and description, including the use of important phrases that will help listeners find the podcast.

Optimize For Spotify

Spotify is the second most popular platform for listening to podcasts, so it’s important to understand how to optimize a podcast so that most people can find and listen to it.

Spotify published a useful article about optimizing a podcast worth looking at.

Here are some of the takeaways:

Spotify Podcast Show Page

Every podcast has a show page. The show page is a podcast home page (or a landing page) where a podcaster tells what the series is about.

A show page consists of five elements:

  1. Title.
  2. Logo artwork.
  3. Description.
  4. Follow button.
  5. Episode list.

Podcast Artwork

The artwork for the Spotify show page is recommended to be high resolution (3000 x 3000 pixels). Spotify offers an artwork generator at their Anchor website (registration required).

The artwork should pop out. It’s useful to use complementary colors, especially ones that stand out and call attention to themselves.

Bright colors can be helpful for this, but high contrast color choices work well, too.

SEO Your Spotify Podcast Description

Spotify recommends using keywords in the podcast description that include the overall topic and subtopic keyword phrases that a potential listener might use to find the podcast.

Optimize Podcast Episode Descriptions

Spotify recommends using the first 20 words to entice the listener in by using keywords that indicate what the topic is about.

Don’t waste time repeating what’s in the title or waste space welcoming the listener to another episode. Be straight to the point in describing the specific episode topic, and do it fast.

Create A Podcast Trailer

Spotify encourages podcasters to create a trailer for their podcasts and to break them up into seasons. Create a new trailer for each new season.

Here’s a video offering tips on making a podcast trailer:

Topics For Podcasts

Whether you already have a podcast or are interested in starting one, it’s critical to understand best practices for optimizing podcast episodes for search.

Podcast episodes are content – that’s all it is.

The type of subject matter for podcast episodes can be broken down into at least two kinds:

  • Evergreen topics – subject matter that remains relevant year after year.
  • Trending topics – subject matter that is a hot topic at the moment.
  • Interviews – interviewing famous people helps attract an audience. This is more than just ego bait.

The evergreen subject matter is created for the long run to please content consumers who might be new to the topic and want to learn the basics.

Trending topics are great because they tap into what’s on the public’s mind at that moment in time and get an immediate boost, particularly in Google Discover.

Be Creative With Podcast Topics

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, people listen to podcasts to learn new things and for many other reasons.

It’s easy to get frustrated about creating topics for a podcast, especially for a business that might not lend itself to podcasting.

For example, how does one make personal injury law a podcasting topic that attracts an audience? How can one podcast about plumbing?

One genre of podcasting is storytelling. People love to listen to stories, to narratives.

So, one way to think about it is to consider all the stories that are connected to the trade or business.

Ultimately, for some podcasting topics, especially business-related ones, the goal might be as simple as communicating traits like honesty, sincerity, and a passion for doing a good job.

Research Trending Topics

What’s of interest and concern to people now is a great way to build an audience and appeal to Google’s algorithms that rank trending topics.

Creating content around a current event is a great way to rise to the top through Google’s freshness algorithm and to be seen in Google Discover.

A trending topic doesn’t have to be “news” in the sense of dramatic events.

A trending topic could be the release of a new product, in which case it might be a good idea to use.


One way to identify up-to-the-minute trending topics is to examine Twitter’s trending topics, which are organized by Trending, News, Sports, Entertainment, and Covid-19.

Google’s Trending Searches

Another approach is to visit Google’s Trending Searches webpage, which shows what people are searching for today.

Google Trends

Once the subject matter is identified, the next step is to observe Google Trends.

A great way to unlock interesting insights is to use Google Trends “categories” drop-down to find trends specific to your topic area.

Screenshot of Google TrendsScreenshot from Google Trends; modified by author, August 2022

Google News For Trending Topics

Another way to research is to see what’s trending in Google News.

Breaking news is a powerful engine to hitch your podcast to.

People are eager to learn more about important events, so it’s vital to move fast on creating podcasts related to current events.

A successful podcast can’t always rely on current events for topics week after week.

If current events aren’t relevant to a topic, then the next form of content to turn to is the evergreen subject matter.

Use A Feed Reader

The work of keeping up to date with trending topics is easier when using a feed reader to organize sources of breaking news.

Whenever you see an article that’s on the right topic, find the category that the article is in, then look for an RSS feed to follow it.

Note: If appropriate, be sure to link to the article from your podcast summary, as that will make it helpful for users.

Some feed readers can follow a page with just a URL.

Following a topic in Google News is easy.

Just search for the topic, and on the right side of the search results, there will be links for following a more specific topic.

Screenshot of Google News Search ResultsScreenshot from Google News; modified by author, August 2022

Evergreen Content

Topics that are useful year after year are called evergreen.

Typical evergreen topics tend to answer questions about how-to, how does, how can I, why, where can I, and so on.

Identifying evergreen content topics can be fairly easy.


Wikipedia is a good source of topics for evergreen content.

A list of topics covered in Wikipedia can then be used to search on YouTube to see what angles others are using.

Book Chapter Names

Another of the best sources of ideas for evergreen content topics is to search on to see what topics are published in books.

This is a technique I’ve been using and sharing at search conferences for over 15 years for text content, but it should work just as well for podcasting, too.

Pay attention to the chapter titles because those can be a goldmine of topics to podcast about.

Pinned Discussions In Forums

And, of course, forums about a given topic can be useful.

Many forums get the same questions asked over and over.

So to keep the forums from being inundated with members discussing the same thing repeatedly, they pin evergreen questions at the top of each forum category.

Those pinned discussions are usually the most important evergreen topics people are interested in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Another way to discover evergreen podcast topics is to search on Google and Bing for your topic keyword phrase plus the words “frequently asked questions.”

Another variation can be: How to (topic phrase) frequently asked questions. After that, cycle through the what, where, who, and when type questions for even more variations.

New To (Topic)

People who are new to a topic are often looking for evergreen topics.

Naturally, searching in the way someone who doesn’t know much about the niche is an excellent way to find evergreen topics.

Search using words and phrases such as:

  • New to.
  • Basics.
  • Beginner.
  • Tips for beginners.
  • Training for.
  • How to start.

Segment Searches By TLD

A way to really dig in and discover great evergreen topics is to do the above-noted research by segmenting your searches to specific top-level domains (TLD).

This may result in different but interesting takes on the topic.

Examples of segmented searches:

  • Search phrase
  • Search phrase
  • Search phrase

Don’t Forget YouTube

YouTube is a search engine, too. It can be an excellent place to identify evergreen topics.

Interesting Evergreen Topics Versus Keyword Inventory

Put everything you discover into an extensive list of topics on a spreadsheet if that works for you.

Some might want to go to Google Trends and refine the list by the most popular keyword phrases or topics.

Focusing on keywords with the highest search inventory is a traditional way to decide what evergreen topics to podcast about.

But I’d like to suggest another way: Focus on what’s interesting.

Going with interesting topics rather than keyword inventory may make the podcast more interesting because it will lead listeners on a journey of discovery.

Listening to topics one hadn’t thought about is a delightful experience; along the way, the listeners may become fans who enthusiastically refer the podcast to friends.

Interview Popular And Important People

Interviewing interesting people is a great way to keep the podcast content self-generating.

But even more important is a useful way to attract an audience.

Even if the podcast is about home improvement, a discussion with a celebrity about how their favorite decor, floors, fixtures, or whatever might be really interesting.

Keeping with the theme of home improvement, one can interview people who have shows on the topic or professionals who install dishwashers to get tips on what is the best dishwasher to get.

Interviewing people with knowledge is a great way to create useful and interesting content and takes the pressure off the host for having to talk and talk and talk, week after week.

Transcribe The Podcasts

Transcribing means turning the spoken words of the podcast into text.

This is important because it will help the podcast find an audience of people who are deaf, so this is an accessibility consideration.

Transcribing the audio will also feed the search engine something to rank.

There are numerous apps and services for accomplishing this task.

Microsoft 365 users can upload using Word to transcribe audio to text by playing the audio directly into Word.

Microsoft 365 can also transcribe five hours of audio per month via upload. More information here.

Google Docs has a similar feature.

Paid solutions such as Rev and Temi may be more convenient because one only has to upload the audio file.

Create Podcast Chapters

Podcast chapters are a convenience to listeners because it gives them a way to fast forward to parts of a show that interest them.

Anything that improves user experience will, at the very least, indirectly impact SEO.


An interesting way to think about a podcast regarding how it’s useful to a business is that everyone would love to be featured on a podcast favorably.

So, it makes sense to create the best podcast on a given topic and give the business a plug at the beginning and/or the end of the podcast.

Podcasting is a great way to connect with an audience and to make connections in a broader community to which the topic belongs.

The podcast can grow an audience fast by incorporating interviews with popular people and celebrities, which will then grow word-of-mouth and links.

Focusing on being interesting (instead of keyword search volume) may be a good approach because everyone loves the experience of discovery.

Promoting the podcast can be as simple as reaching out to content sites like online magazines and letting them know about a podcast or that someone interesting was interviewed.

Don’t wait for multiple competitors to establish their authority as podcasters.

It’s always best to get a head start at building loyalty for your brand and establishing signals of popularity.

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Should You Invest In Twitter Blue Or Meta Verified?



Should You Invest In Twitter Blue Or Meta Verified?

Twitter plans to end its legacy verified program at the end of this month. To continue having a verified blue checkmark, you must subscribe to Twitter Blue, now available globally.

You can check any blue checkmark on Twitter to see if it is a Twitter Blue or legacy verified checkmark by clicking or tapping it.

Screenshot from Twitter, March 2023

Twitter Blue Benefits And Eligibility

Eligibility requirements for a verified blue checkmark include having a confirmed phone number, an account older than 90 days, and no changes to your name, username, or profile picture within 30 days. Accounts with a verified blue checkmark cannot engage in misleading or deceptive practices, such as impersonating someone else or using fake identities.

The premium subscription plan offers Twitter users several exclusive features, including the following.

  • A verified blue checkmark.
  • The ability to post longer Tweets and longer videos.
  • The chance to undo a Tweet before it’s sent.
  • The chance to edit some Tweets within the first 30 minutes.
  • A feed of Top Articles shared by those you follow and the people they follow.
  • Account security with two-factor authentication via SMS or authentication apps.
  • Increased visibility when you reply to other users’ Tweets.

Pricing varies based on your country and device. In the United States, it is $8 – $11 monthly.

Twitter also offers distinct profile labels for organizations (a gold checkmark), government officials (a gray checkmark), and other account types.

Meta Verified Benefits And Eligibility

Meta is also rolling out a paid subscription bundle, Meta Verified, that includes verification of Facebook and Instagram profiles.

Eligibility requirements on Facebook and Instagram include having an active profile with your real name and profile photo matching your government-issued ID.

Two-factor authentication must be used to secure your account, and your account must always adhere to the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines for each network.

The paid subscription offers Facebook and Instagram users several exclusive features, including the following.

  • A verified checkmark that lets your audience know you are who you say you are.
  • Exclusive stickers to use on Facebook and Instagram.
  • 100 stars per month to support your favorite Facebook creators.
  • Help from a real person when you experience issues with your account.

Pricing varies based on the device you sign up on and is limited to select users over 18 years old in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia. It is $11.99 – $14.99 monthly.

The Downsides To Paid Verification

While it offers people who never had the chance to be verified in the past the option to pay for the blue checkmark, paid verification is controversial for several reasons.

For starters, many Twitter Blue users complain that they haven’t noticed an increase in engagement since paying for the subscription and feel they are now paying to be ignored.

Another major concern is the lack of distinction between notable public figures and people who have paid for the checkmark. Previously, accounts had to belong to prominently recognized individuals or brands based on news coverage, industry references, and audience size. Now, notable accounts will have to pay for verification with everyone else.

This new false “notability” could allow bad actors to spread misinformation and scam people based on the account’s status as a verified profile. Some agencies have released consumer alerts in response to growing reports of scams committed by Twitter blue verified accounts.

While these actions violate social platforms’ terms of service and community guidelines, these verified accounts could continue spreading misinformation and scamming others until someone reports an issue. A lot of damage could be done in the time it takes for someone from the social network to investigate reported users.

Some Twitter users strongly oppose paid verification. Some accounts have launched campaigns encouraging others to block Twitter Blue users to decrease the reach of accounts with the paid blue checkmark.

Should You Invest In Paid Verification From Twitter Blue Or Meta Verified?Screenshot from Twitter, March 2023

Others will dismiss opinions shared by users simply because the account has a Twitter Blue verification.

Should You Invest In Paid Verification From Twitter Blue Or Meta Verified?Screenshot from Twitter, March 2023

Is Paid Verification Right For You?

It’s important to weigh the benefits of being verified through Twitter Blue or Meta Verified and the potential implications of paying for notability on social media.

As a social network user, it’s also important to remember some basic safety rules.

  • Regardless of verification status, never give out personal information or account details to other social media users.
  • If you are asked to send money for a specific cause or reason, research it outside social media to ensure it is a legitimate request, not a scam.
  • Fact-check information before you share it with others to prevent spreading misinformation to larger, susceptible audiences. This especially applies to images and video thanks to AI content generation.
  • Utilize two-factor authentication to secure your accounts and save your backup/recovery code for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, just in case.

Featured Image: Fantastic Studio/Shutterstock

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WordPress WooCommerce Payments Plugin Vulnerability



WordPress WooCommerce Payments Plugin Vulnerability

Automattic, publishers of the WooCommerce plugin, announced the discovery and patch of a critical vulnerability in the WooCommerce Payments plugin.

The vulnerability allows an attacker to gain Administrator level credentials and perform a full site-takeover.

Administrator is the highest permission user role in WordPress, granting full access to a WordPress site with the ability to create more admin-level accounts as well as the ability to delete the entire website.

What makes this particular vulnerability of great concern is that it’s available to unauthenticated attackers, which means that they don’t first have to acquire another permission in order to manipulate the site and obtain admin-level user role.

WordPress security plugin maker Wordfence described this vulnerability:

“After reviewing the update we determined that it removed vulnerable code that could allow an unauthenticated attacker to impersonate an administrator and completely take over a website without any user interaction or social engineering required.”

The Sucuri Website security platform published a warning about the vulnerability that goes into further details.

Sucuri explains that the vulnerability appears to be in the following file:


They also explained that the “fix” implemented by Automattic is to remove the file.

Sucuri observes:

“According to the plugin change history it appears that the file and its functionality was simply removed altogether…”

The WooCommerce website published an advisory that explains why they chose to completely remove the affected file:

“Because this vulnerability also had the potential to impact WooPay, a new payment checkout service in beta testing, we have temporarily disabled the beta program.”

The WooCommerce Payment Plugin vulnerability was discovered on March 22, 2023 by a third party security researcher who notified Automattic.

Automattic swiftly issued a patch.

Details of the vulnerability will be released on April 6, 2023.

That means any site that has not updated this plugin will become vulnerable.

What Version of WooCommerce Payments Plugin is Vulnerable

WooCommerce updated the plugin to version 5.6.2. This is considered the most up to date and non-vulnerable version of the website.

Automattic has pushed a forced update however it’s possible that some sites may not have received it.

It is recommended that all users of the affected plugin check that their installations are updated to version WooCommerce Payments Plugin 5.6.2

Once the vulnerability is patched, WooCommerce recommends taking the following actions:

“Once you’re running a secure version, we recommend checking for any unexpected admin users or posts on your site. If you find any evidence of unexpected activity, we suggest:

Updating the passwords for any Admin users on your site, especially if they reuse the same passwords on multiple websites.

Rotating any Payment Gateway and WooCommerce API keys used on your site. Here’s how to update your WooCommerce API keys. For resetting other keys, please consult the documentation for those specific plugins or services.”

Read the WooCommerce vulnerability explainer:

Critical Vulnerability Patched in WooCommerce Payments – What You Need to Know

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How Do You Clean Up Content Without Effecting Rankings?



How Do You Clean Up Content Without Effecting Rankings?

Today’s Ask An SEO question comes from Neethu, who asks:

My website is almost 20 years old. There are lots of content. Many of them are not performing well. How do you effectively clean up those content without effecting rankings?

Contrary to what some SEO pros tell you, more content is not always better.

Deciding what content to keep, which content to modify, and which content to throw away is an important consideration, as content is the backbone of any website and is essential for driving traffic, engagement, and conversions.

However, not all content is created equal, and outdated, irrelevant, or underperforming content can hinder a website’s success.

Run A Content Audit

To effectively clean up your website’s content, the first step is to conduct a content audit.

This involves analyzing your site’s content and assessing its performance, relevance, and quality.

You can use various metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, and engagement to identify which pages are performing well and which ones are not.

Once you have identified the pages that are not performing well, it’s important to prioritize them based on their importance to your website.

Pages that are not driving traffic or conversions may need to be prioritized over pages that are not performing well but are still important for your site’s overall goals.

Distinguish Evergreen Vs. Time-Sensitive Content

Additionally, it’s important to consider whether a page is evergreen or time-sensitive.

You can update or repurpose evergreen content over time, while you may need to remove time-sensitive content.

After prioritizing your content, you can decide what action to take with each page.

For pages that are still relevant but not performing well, you may be able to update them with fresh information to improve their performance.

For pages that are outdated or no longer relevant, it may be best to remove them altogether.

When removing content, implement 301 redirects to relevant pages to ensure that any backlinks pointing to the old page are not lost.

Monitor Your Stuff

It’s important to monitor your search engine rankings after cleaning up your content to ensure your changes do not negatively impact your SEO.

But don’t just look at rankings.

Content optimization projects can affect traffic, conversions, navigation, and other items that impact your overall search engine optimization efforts.

Watch Google Analytics closely. If there are traffic declines, you may need to re-evaluate a few changes.

It’s important not to have a knee-jerk reaction, however.

Before you throw out your optimization efforts, be sure that the changes you made are actually what is causing a drop – and make sure those changes are stable within the search engines index.

Remember that it may take some time for your rankings to stabilize after a content cleanup, so it’s important to be patient and monitor your website’s performance over time.

To further optimize your content cleanup, consider using Google Search Console to identify pages with high impressions but low click-through rates.

These pages may benefit from content updates or optimization to improve their performance.

Additionally, consolidating pages that cover similar topics into one comprehensive page can improve user experience and help avoid keyword cannibalization.

In Summary

Cleaning up your website’s content is crucial for maintaining a high-quality site.

By conducting a content audit, prioritizing your content, and deciding whether to keep, update, or remove the content, you can effectively clean up your site without negatively impacting your rankings.

Remember to monitor your rankings and be patient as your site adjust.

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