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How to Get Your Podcast to The Top of Google Search Results
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Did you know that you can get a stamp of approval from Google by getting your podcast to the top of Google search results? It’s better known as the Google Knowledge Panel. (It’s the information box on the right-hand side of Google Search Results.) You’ve seen it when you Google the name of somebody famous. In this blog post, Jason Barnard explains that the Google Knowledge Panel isn’t reserved for the world’s top influencers. Google’s implicit stamp of approval is available to anyone! Jason will explain how to get a Google Knowledge Panel for your podcast. Get ready to learn how to leverage the power of Google’s stamp of approval!
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Hi and welcome. I’m Jason Barnard. I’m the brand SERP guy. I work at Kalicube, specializing in helping our clients with the representation of their brand in search. And what’s brilliant about branded search is that it’s the perfect springboard to build up authority within an industry.
And that’s what I’m going to explain today. So ask yourself what would happen if your podcast became the authoritative reference in your niche? I’m going to explain how you can make that happen. I’ll share the simple strategy you can use to build your authority with Google and how doing that will push you front and center for your audience. Your audience naturally hangs out not only on Google but on Microsoft, Bing, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, podcast platforms, social media, and across all the other places. Now, this is a process, and it’s a simple process, and it’s also a process that never stops.
Getting your podcast to the Top of Google Search Results is Straightforward.
Best of all, it’s a process that takes no geeky knowledge, no guessing, and there are no wrong turns. The process is straightforward, versatile, and future-proof. It’s a strategy for life. This process starts with the Google search results for your podcast name and ends with you and your podcast being the reference in your niche across the web. Before I start, I’ll tell you how I realized that the search engine results page for the name of a company, a person, a podcast, a music group, or any other thing is the most powerful and underexploited marketing insight imaginable.
Before being in digital marketing, I had a career as a blue dog in a cartoon. It was called Booa and Kuala. Boo ankwala boo ankwala we are. Boo Ankuala, we are. I have sung that every week for ten years now. I built up the Blue Dog and Yellow Koala cartoon website to be one of the 10,000 most popular sites in the world.
2008 we competed with Disney, PBS, and the BBC. But then, in 2011, my business partner took over the cartoons. Unfortunately, I needed to switch careers quickly to make a living and feed my family. And since the success of the cartoon Blue Dog and the Yellow Koala was based on my success in dominating the search results on Google, I figured digital marketing would be a great choice. But to do that, I needed to reposition my online personal brand across the web, from a cartoon Blue dog to a world-leading expert digital marketer.
Searching For Your name In Google
And I started to do that by looking into the Google search result for my name. In 2011, when you searched my name on Google, it said, Jason Barnard is a cartoon Blue Dog. And that wasn’t super helpful for my credibility as a digital marketer. So I set about making Google represent me as a credible digital marketer. Within months, Google represented me to my audience as a hugely credible, authoritative digital marketer.
And in less than a year, I was invited to write for major publications in the industry. I was a digital nomad within three years, appearing on stage at major digital marketing conferences worldwide and sharing my expertise. That Google search result for my name greatly contributed to that transformation. To get Google to show me as an authoritative expert in digital marketing, I had to create that truth online and ensure it was visible and understandable to everybody. The branch up on Google is just the performance indicator of the authenticity and visibility of the authority I created for myself.
Are you going???
In just a few years, I switched my recognized niche of authority and expertise from the Blue Dog to digital marketing. You can use this same process to dominate and become the authoritative reference in your niche. And the advantage for you is that you don’t need to reposition yourself. You’re already positioned in the right niche. So you need to optimize that positioning and convince Google that you are the authoritative expert we all know you are.
Now, most podcasters don’t care about Google. I get that it isn’t a huge audience driver, but ignoring Google is a huge mistake because of the free insights it will give you, as we’ll see. Now, I will use a couple of terms you probably don’t know here. First is Brand SERP. That’s the Google search result for your podcasts name, and it’s how you’ll get your podcast to the top of Google search results.
Second, is the Knowledge Panel, the information box on the right-hand side of the brand SERP when searching on a desktop computer.
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And I also like to distinguish between the left-hand side and the right-hand side of the search results on the desktop. The left-hand side is Google’s Recommendations, and the right is Google’s representation of the facts. In the case of your podcast, the right-hand side is the fact about your podcasts, and the left-hand side is the content Google believes is the most helpful, relevant, and valuable to your audience. That’s a huge insight since it shows you exactly how to build your digital strategy around your podcast, build your credibility, and become the dominant authority in your niche. There are three parts to this strategy working on the consistency of your presentation of your podcasts, building Google’s confidence in its understanding of the facts about your podcasts, and improving the production of the individual episodes within your podcasts.
Let’s start with an exercise:
Make a mental list of what you expect to see when you Google your podcast’s name. Also, ask yourself why you expect to see what you expect to see. Now make a mental list of what you want to see. The lists probably aren’t the same.
You probably instinctively realize that Google isn’t showing 100% of what you want it to see. That difference is key. Ask yourself why the things you want to show might not appear, and that short exercise will probably already indicate some improvements you can make. Google is misrepresenting you. Now the Crunch google your podcasts name.
What do you see? And I’m sure what you see isn’t the same as what you expected, nor is it the same as what you wanted to see. In an ideal world, they should all align perfectly with what you expect,t you want to see, and what you do see. When that happens, you’re winning the game.
How Google Decides to Display Your Podcast
The important question is, how does Google choose what to show on your brand SERP? What does it choose to show your audience when they Google your podcast name? It uses its understanding of your podcasts, your position in your niche, and your credibility and chooses the content it believes is most helpful, valuable, and relevant to your audience. If you think about it, since Google digests thousands of billions of web pages daily, it’s constantly looking over everyone’s shoulder, yours, mine, your audience. It truly understands you and me, and importantly, what your ideal audience is looking for, what they’re engaging with, and when you are a good match for them.
When Google can accurately represent your podcast to your audience when they search your podcasts name, you have the perfect foundation for becoming the authority in your industry. If Google cannot represent you positively, accurately, and helpfully to your audience, you lack the foundation for building authority in your niche.
Now, the timeline. The timeline to change the brand shirts from what you currently have to a perfect representation of your podcast is six months to a year. To make that switch, you need to focus on the content that is helpful and valuable to your audience and also the content that demonstrates your credibility and authoritativeness.
Start Improving The Results
So look at the results and start working to improve the ones that matter to you and your audience on those podcasting platforms. You want reviews, you want engagement, and you want views. Anything on those pages that indicates to Google that your audience consumes your podcasts on that platform and enjoys it.
You’ll also want to look at your social media accounts. They will most likely also be ranking on the brand SERP, so they’re also hugely important. Get measurable engagement. There are likes, shares, mentions, and so on. Then you can also look at the brand SERPs of other podcasts within your niche.
Where do they look better?
Look at what’s appearing for them. Platforms that you want on your brand SERP. But you don’t have to choose the best resources to work on. Look for those that appear most often in your niche, and then use your intuition of which platforms will benefit your digital marketing strategy.
“Google is primarily the research tool and the performance indicator of your wider strategy, not a goal in and of itself.” – Jason Barnard
And in all these strategic choices, you should focus on the platforms that drive audience engagement and growth for your podcast. The brand SERP on Google for your podcast manifests the strategy’s success on that platform.
Now, the best trick to play on your brand SERP. Double content relevant to your audience. Plus, content that displays your authority for them to see. When you have that, Google understands you and your audience. Then starts recognizing that you are a credible and authoritative source in your niche. Google is primarily the research tool and the performance indicator of your wider strategy, not a goal in and of itself. The additional audience that Google brings you is a huge bonus. Now, up until here, we’ve been looking at the left-hand side of the search engine results page.
An important reminder
Remember, that’s the recommendations Google gives your audience about your podcast. The right-hand side is a special case. It’s called the Knowledge Panel, and this is a fact. The Knowledge Panel demonstrates Google’s level of understanding of who you are, what you do, and which audience you serve. Now, podcasts for a special case because their Knowledge Panels are easily generated through Google podcasts. Most podcasts have a Knowledge Panel today, and as long as your podcast name isn’t too ambiguous, it should appear.
“When you have [content that is relevant to your audience, plus content that displays your authority], then Google has understood you and your audience and is starting to recognize that you are a credible and authoritative source in your niche.”
When you search the podcast’s name, take a look at yours. You’ll have a name, a cover image, and a category. Double-check the category. It isn’t necessarily the one that you gave in your feed. It’s Google’s understanding of which category you’re in.
And if there’s a disconnect there, you’re already in trouble in becoming a dominant authority in your niche. Since the machines don’t agree with you, which niche you would helpfully dominate can be a sign that you’re communicating badly. As we’ll see later, you’re not sufficiently focused on the episodes you’re publishing. Now take a look at Conan. O’Brien needs a friend.
That podcast has a title, a cover image, a description, and a category. But it also has multiple genres the length, the number of episodes, the name of the opening theme tune, the original release date, who composed the theme music, and awards it has won. And that’s what you want. Deep understanding of your podcast, proudly displayed by Google. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, PodcastAddict, and other podcast platforms all build their search results and recommendations on the facts that they’ve understood.
The Google Knowledge Panel
And that Knowledge Panel on Google represents the facts that Google has understood. But Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and all the other platforms I mentioned are building the same understanding-based mechanics in the background for search and recommendations. Without the facts in their brain, they’ll quickly leave you behind. They’re naturally going to understand the bigger podcasts in your niche better. But a smaller player can create a situation where they’re better understood than the big, leading podcast.
You can play that trick. Then you’re quickly going to catch them up and potentially overtake them. So get the facts into their brain, represented by the Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side, then you will climb the stairs to authority within your niche. Use that knowledge panel on Google as your performance indicator. Now, how do you do that? What are the practical steps?
Number one, entity home. It’s the web page that these machines all use as the call reference source for the facts about your podcast. It needs to be an owned website property. Don’t use pages on third-party sites such as Anchor, FM, and your social media channels. Use the dedicated website that you own and run.
You don’t want to hand control of your authority and brand to a rented space.
Choose one single page for this purpose. Make sure that your podcast feed is in the head of the HTML of the entity home. That’s a bit geeky, and I’m sorry about that. It’s necessary for all these platforms. Now, ensure that your podcast cover image is on the page, preferably near the top, and, if possible, a featured image.
The page’s title must be the podcast’s title as it appears in the feed. The description underneath the title needs to clearly state what the podcast is, what category it’s in, what topics you talk about, and why people should listen. That isn’t an issue if this doesn’t fit with the fun and zany description you provided in the feed. Just add that zany description underneath. Next, you need to link from that page to the most important platforms you identified earlier.
You need to make sure you’re indicating clearly to Google which platforms you prefer. Google won’t necessarily follow suit, but it will consider your recommendations. And the more it learns to trust you over time, the more influence you’ll have. Next, you need to ensure that all of the sources around the web that talk about your podcast corroborate what you say on this entity home. Most of them will because they use your feed.
But your competitive advantage will be when the sources that don’t use your feed consistently corroborate what you’re saying on the entity home. Now, there will be a huge amount of work; spring cleaning. This will ensure you project a clear and consistent message across the entire web. And it will probably take you about a month. But once it’s done, it’s easy to maintain year after year after year. Now, the last point here is to get to work on your episodes. It would be best if you stayed on topic in every episode.
“It’s vital that you stick on topic in each and every episode. If you want to dominate a niche, you need to focus on that niche 100%.”
To dominate a niche, you need to focus on that niche 100%. Every episode needs a dedicated page on your website. It also requires a clear, helpful title. It needs a clear, informative description too, and it needs unique artwork. Plus, it needs a human-corrected transcript.
This combination will help Google understand what’s in the episode and provide the material to present it better. You might feel that the transcript isn’t worth doing. Google can analyze the audio, but if you give a human-corrected transcript, google will be significantly more confident that it’s correctly understood the episode, the niche, and ultimately your podcast. For future episodes, include hyper-niche subtopics within your niche that you haven’t yet covered. Niche down, and find guests who are authorities in that hyper-niche. Getting the big hitters is great, but accumulating hyper-niche authorities is incredibly effective! And bringing those people on your show is much easier. Now, how do you check to what extent their authority is recognized?
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You Google their name and look at how Google is representing them on their brand SERP. Do they have a knowledge panel? Are the recommendations on the left majoritarily about that person? And are they relevant and helpful to the audience of that person? Interestingly, you don’t need to research beyond Google because Google consolidates all of these important sources: podcast platforms, media sites, social media, and so on.
It gives you a glance assessment of their authority and credibility in one search result. But if you want to research more, you can also use Chat GPT or Microsoft Bing. It gives some amazing additional insight. If you do have access, I advise that you use it. You can also research as you wish on different podcasting platforms you already know.
Recap: Getting Your Podcast To The Top of Google Search Results
Now, those are the three main parts of this strategy for building your credibility as the leading authority in your niche, working on the consistency of the presentation of your podcast. Working to develop Google’s confidence in its understanding of the fact about your podcast and working to improve the production of the individual episodes within your podcast.
You might be thinking, but that’s only Google, and I don’t care about Google since it doesn’t bring me much visibility and audience. That might be true. However, Google gives you the best possible insight into how well these search and recommendation engines understand you, your audience, and how your audience interacts with you. Google is the best performance indicator since it’s the best at crawling the web, has the most user data, and gives you a clear representation that’s easy to analyze, easy to understand, and easy to act on.
If Google gets it, the others will too.
Over time Google, Microsoft, Bing, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, PodcastAddict, and other platforms will appreciate your consistency of information, your focus on your niche topic, the quality of the content, and the relationships you build with leading authorities in the niche. They will see you as the go-to authority and prioritize you over the other podcasts in your niche. So, whichever of these platforms you favor, this is how to become the authority within your niche in search and recommendation engines. Ultimately, in the eyes of your ideal target audience, by getting your podcast to the top of Google search results!
About Jason Barnard
Jason Barnard is the CEO of Kalicube, a software company that helps business leaders take control of their brand narrative online and dominate the competition. Speaker: Major marketing conferences regularly invite Jason to speak about Brand SERPs, Knowledge Panels and Generative AI in Search, including BrightonSEO, PubCon, SMX series and YoastCon. Podcast host: Spanning five seasons his podcast, “Branded Search (and Beyond) with Jason Barnard” has become a weekly staple in the digital marketing community. Guests include Rand Fishkin, April Dunford, Cindy Krum, Koray Gubur, Ryan Foland, Andrea Volpini, Joost de Valk, Joe Pulizzi, Bill Slawski… Over 300 episodes available, and counting. The conversations are always intelligent, always interesting, and always fun!
- Visit Jason Barnard’s Website
- Listen to Jason’s Podcast, Branded Search (and Beyond)
- Download Kalicube’s Free Knowledge Panel Checklist (This is a detailed 17-point checklist that will get you a Knowledge Panel on Google when your audience googles your name.)
- Jason Barnard on Social Media: PodMatch| Twitter | LinkedIn | LinkedIn Company | Facebook