For anyone who wants to learn about search engine optimization, I am going to urge you to checkout Amit Bhawnani’s insanely terrific “mini book” tutorial on SEO. As an avid SEO student myself looking to better my own rankings and those of my clients, I have been scouring the Web looking for anything and everything SEO. I am not exaggerating when I say that Amit’s SEO tutorial is off the charts.
For starters, you really need to understand what search engines are. I love the way Amit explains the concept behind search engines: Search engines are like little spiders that crawl the Web looking at particular site items (mainly text) to get an idea of what a site is about. This task is performed by a piece of software called a crawler or a spider that follows links from one page to another and indexes everything it finds on its way. Is that not an awesome explanation?
Whenever you perform a search on the Web, you are given results that contain your search term. And if you are like me, you probably tend to only visit those sites that are on the top of the list. How do those Web sites get to be on the top of the list? Yes, you guessed it. It’s because of those three not-so-little words: Search Engine Optimization.
So with that said, as a podcast author, how can your content be indexed by search engines if those little spiders are only crawling around searching for text? Having your podcasts transcribed and published on your site is key to your podcasts’ searchability and therefore popularity. However, just having a text version of your podcast does not guarantee its ranking. You need to incorporate keywords into your transcript that will help those little crawly things index your transcript and bring it to the top of the list.
Just this morning I spoke with Peter Clayton, producer and host of TotalPicture Radio. In 2010 TotalPicture Radio was voted one of the Internet’s top 100 useful and informative podcasts for entrepreneurs and business owners. With a wealth of information broadcasting 24/7, Peter interviews career experts who share their experiences, knowledge, latest trends, and advice with professionals — just like us — looking to succeed in our career goals. And I found Peter’s podcasts, better known as radio TiVos, because I performed a Web search. Peter provides full transcripts of many of his interviews. Those little spider things indexed his content and brought his Web site to the top of my search list!
Peter informed me of a great tool for enhancing a podcast’s — or any type of MP3 audio file for that matter — chances of being indexed by our little spider friends: an audio file data tagging format called ID3, more specifically Pa-software’s ID3 Editor. This ID3 program will incorporate a transcript directly within an MP3 audio file, allowing your podcast to be indexed because of the text that is right there inside the audio file. And, Peter added, “On Smartphones (iPhone, at least) when I play a podcast with the transcript embedded, the transcript will display on the screen.” OK, how cool is that?
Another extremely important point Peter brought up was that as a podcast producer, you do not need to have a full transcript published of every single episode. What is important is that you enrich your audio with keyword-rich text (i.e. partial transcripts, key points) so that it can be indexed, making its chances of reaching the top of a search engine’s list a real deal.
Many listeners appreciate having a full transcript so they can use a podcast’s content as a reference for their own blogs (as in my case) or other work. They have listened to your episode, found it extremely informative, and now have something to go back to. Providing transcripts allows your hearing impaired audience to enjoy your show as well. A text version of anything — I love reading the lyrics of a song — can clarify unclear content. And a full transcript of your podcast gives your audience a choice. And who doesn’t like choices?
Thank you both, Amit and Peter, for sharing your knowledge with me and allowing me to share it with my readers. And thank you, Peter, for your time this morning. It was a pleasure to meet you. To our success and SEO!