Google Search results now display playable podcasts. According to Google, podcasts found in search results will feature play buttons. But hey, who needs a Google announcement when we can view the change for ourselves?
In the below example, I searched for a popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. You see the results search business as usual, except for the additional Joe Rogan playable podcasts. That said, the play button is mildly misleading. When you click the play button, you’re directed to a new Google Podcasts page that auto-plays the episode. This page supports basic audio player functionality, such as play and pause.
After you hit play.
The Google playable podcasts result only lists the three most recent episodes by default. When you click “more episodes,” Google will take you to a given podcast’s feed, a list of all episodes in chronological order. You can expect the same look and feel on your mobile devices.
It’s an important change for marketers looking to promote training courses online, a strategy that typically includes podcast creation.
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. pic.twitter.com/29ohC7W9z8
— Zack Reneau-Wedeen (@ZackRW) May 9, 2019
If you are logged into your Google account, you’ll be able to sync your playback status across devices.
For Google, last week’s podcast search change classifies as the try, try again strategy. In 2016, Google attempted to merge podcasts and Google Play. That strategy failed after only a few years.
Google’s podcast search results update comes as no surprise; rumors have been circulating for several months regarding a potential change.
According to Google’s founder and head of product for Google podcast, Zack Reneau-Wedeen, the change will help heighten the audio experience in Google search. The change is “a step toward making audio a first-class citizen across Google,” Remeau-Wedeen stated.
The change can be experienced on Android’s Chrome, Google Home, and Google Assistant.
Google Podcasts, Search Results, and Copyright Issues
Whenever Google Search displays content from sites directly in results, you can expect site owners to cry foul. In many cases, they have justification for their sentiments. In the case of showing podcast episodes in search results, Google plays the files directly from content owners. This should quell any armchair legal challenges over the change.
This is contrary to the advancement they announced a few months back when they began automatically transcribing podcast content for search results.
Podcast Markup for SEO
The change benefits podcast marketers looking for more search engine exposure. To properly SEO your podcast, you’ll need to utilize podcast markup. Google recommends using the author, category, description, image, and explicit tags to describe your podcast.
Aside from leveraging podcast markup, all of the other major SEO best practices will continue to apply to your episode pages and syndication feed pages:
- Write a keyword-rich, SEO-friendly title tag, meta description, episode title, and URL slug
- Transcribe each episode in its entirety, or include a minimum of 200 words of text content in the show notes
- Link to a high authority resource about the topic of the episode (ie Google if your topic is digital marketing) or a social media profile about your featured guest (like their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn profile).
- Make sure you have high-quality podcast hosting that can reliably deliver your content with speed.
Since this is a newer feature in the Google search experience, we see a lot of potential for podcast SEO strategies to grow in the coming months/years. Think about this way – everything Google can already do with YouTube videos in featured snippets and voice search, they will probably also be able to do overtime with podcast episodes.
Clips in featured snippets, voice search answers… LOTS of possibilities.