Manage your feeds

About feeds

Every podcast RSS feed that is known to Google is associated with one and only one show on Google Podcasts. However, a show on Google Podcasts can have multiple feeds associated with it. For example, a show might have three feeds:

  • A feed containing the last 10 episodes
  • A feed containing episodes on a specific theme (true crime, or COVID, for example)
  • A feed containing all episodes ever produced

Google associates all of these feeds with your show, but serves only one of these feeds--the feed chosen as "most representative of your show"--to all listeners on Google Podcasts. Google might later choose a different feed to serve if we think a different feed is more representative of your show.

Related topics:

 

How Google-initiated feed changes affect your show

Google might occasionally decide that the currently served feed is not the most representative feed for a show, and will start serving a different feed for that show. Google-initiated feed changes do not occur often.

How do I know the feed has changed?

If you are using Podcasts Manager, you'll see a notification for your show if you haven't verified ownership of the new feed. If you notice a sharp drop to zero in your listening minutes on Google, this is likely the reason. You will see a short, symmetrical dip in Google subscriptions for the show. This dip should correct itself automatically. This is simply an accounting artifact, and doesn't reflect any real change in subscriptions.

If you think a feed change has occurred, and you don't see a notification in Podcasts Manager, you can learn the current feed for your show to see whether it has changed (assuming you know which feed was served before).

What do I do if my feed has changed?

If Google has started serving a new feed for your show:

  1. If using Podcasts Manager, open your show in Podcasts Manager and follow any instructions that you see promptly to avoid temporary data loss for your show.
  2. Find out what is the newly served feed for your show
  3. Make sure that you can capture listening data for the new feed.
    • If using Podcasts Manager to monitor your listening data, you'll be prompted to verify ownership of the new feed if necessary; if you don't see a prompt in Podcasts Manager, nothing more to do.
    • If using another service to monitor your listening data, make sure your new service is monitoring the newly served feed.

Additional information

When the feed changes, listeners will see the new feed automatically (see more details below) without any warning about the change. If your analytics are not set up to capture data for the new feed, you'll see a fairly steep drop to zero 

When a feed change happens (whether initiated by the publisher or Google), new subscribers (and listeners using the Google Podcasts website) will see the new feed immediately, but it might take a day or two to propagate feed changes to currently subscribed users on other apps or surfaces. This means that subscribed users might continue to see the old feed for a day or two after the change.

Google-initiated feed changes should not affect your subscriber count or listens. If your analytics service can't track both the old and new feeds, then you might appear to lose (or gain) listeners when the served feed changes, but this is only an accounting issue, not an actual change in user behavior.

In Podcasts Manager

If Google changes the served feed for a podcast, the following behaviors can be observed in Google Podcasts Manager for your show:

  • You will see a short, symmetrical dip in Google subscriptions for the show. This dip should correct itself automatically. This is simply an accounting artifact, and doesn't reflect any real change in subscriptions.
  • If the newly served feed was previously verified for this show, the change happens invisibly to the show in Podcasts Manager (though you can see the new served feed in the feed history).
  • If the feed changes to a new, never-verified feed:
    • You will see a notification in your Podcasts Manager show about the feed change, with a prompt to verify the new feed.
    • You might see a dip in listened minutes if you need to verify the new feed and this is not the result of a feed change that you initiated. This dip is an accounting artifact and doesn't reflect a dip in actual listened minutes.
    • Any episode that appears on both the old and new feed can no longer accrue listening data until ownership of the new feed is verified for the show. Listening data during this intervening period is lost permanently, though there is typically a 2-3 day grace period where you might continue to see data. Thus, a feed change will typically be visible as a dip in your show data; the faster you verify the new feed, the shorter the dip.
    • If you do not verify the newly served feed, episode data for your show will eventually go down to zero, because Podcasts Manager only saves listening data if a show has a verified owner.
    • From the time that you send a verification code until you complete the verification process, all Podcasts Manager users will lose access to the show in Podcasts Manager (listeners on Google Podcasts are not affected).
Verify ownership of a feed

If you want to verify ownership of a feed on Google, you must do so using Podcasts Manager. Verifying ownership enables you to request a change in the served feed, see user listening and search statistics on Google, and more.

If a feed is associated with a show that is owned by someone else on Podcasts Manager, you cannot verify ownership of that feed. If you think a feed is incorrectly associated with the wrong show, you can contact Google to report a mistake.

  • To verify ownership of a feed for a new show, follow the instructions to add a new show to Podcasts Manager.
  • If you want to add a verified feed to an existing show, see here.
  • If Google has changed the served feed for your show, you will see a notification in Podcasts Manager, with a link to the verification wizard. Anyone with access to the show can click the link and reverify the show. See How feed changes affect your show.

If you requested an ownership verification code but didn't receive it:

  • Check your spam or filtered messages, to see if the email with the code was filtered out.
  • Be sure that you are checking the email account listed in the feed RSS file. The code will be sent to this email address.
See your verified feed history (Podcasts Manager only)

You can see a list of all served feeds that were successfully verified for your Podcasts Manager show. You can't see any feeds associated with the show before the show was claimed in Podcasts Manager.

To see your show's verified feed history:

  1. Click Settings Settings > Feeds on the show homepage in Podcasts Manager. Any feed listed was verified in Podcasts Manager and served by Google.
See the served feed for your show

Google serves one feed for each podcast. Here's how to discover the URL of the served feed for that podcast.

If you are using Podcasts Manager

  1. Click Settings Settings > Feeds on the show homepage on Podcasts Manager to see a list of all feeds that were ever verified for your show. The currently served feed is marked Served.

If you see a warning that the show is now served from a different feed, click Verify new feed to see the URL of the new served feed in the verification wizard.

If you are not using Podcasts Manager

  1. Install or open the Google Podcasts app (Android, iOS).
  2. Subscribe to your show in Google Podcasts.
  3. Open the show, if it's not already open (click the show name in the list of subscribed shows).
  4. Click Settings More> View RSS feed
  5. Copy/share the feed URL or click Open in Chrome.
Add a new feed to your show
If you want to add a feed to a show, remember that Google serves only one feed for a show. You can post a new feed and request that Google serve it instead of the current feed (or see if Google finds and serves it). Simply posting a new feed on the internet in addition to an existing feed won't guarantee that Google will start serving the new feed. Similarly, removing the old feed and posting the new feed with a new URL won't guarantee that Google will start serving your preferred feed. However, changing the contents of an existing feed will work, (although if the feed contents have changed significantly, it's possible that Google might choose another feed for your show).
Remove a feed from your show
You can delete or block an RSS feed to prevent it from being served by Google, but if Google can find another feed for your show instead, it will start serving that other feed. If you simply remove or block the show's currently served feed file, Google will serve another feed in your show's feed group, if another eligible feed is available. If no other eligible feeds exist, your show will cease to be available on Google Podcasts (but will still be available on Podcasts Manager, although no new data will accrue, except from downloaded episodes).

Note that any feed shown in your Podcasts Manager feed history will remain there forever, whether or not the feed still exists.

Change the served feed/move your feed/change feed hosting services

If you think that Google has chosen the wrong feed to represent your podcast, you can tell Google explicitly which feed you want served for your show. (This affects your show only on Google surfaces.)

Similarly, if you have moved your feed to a new URL, or have added a new feed that should be served for your show, here is how to tell Google about the change. (For feed moves that don't change the feed URL, you don't need to do anything.)

To change the served feed or move your feed:

  1. Verify that your new feed is up and available. Don't take the next steps until your new feed is available to be read by Google.
  2. Do not delete the old feed until the desired feed is served. If you remove your old feed before Google has started serving your new feed, then unexpected things can happen (Google might stop serving your show entirely, or might start serving an unexpected feed for your show). How to check which feed is served.
  3. Change the feed pointed to by your show homepage. If the served feed and the homepage don't point to each other, this can hurt your ranking. (You can also perform this step later, until after the feed change has occurred.)
  4. Specify the new feed for Google to serve:
    If you manage your podcast in Google Podcasts Manager
    1. Click Settings Settings > Feeds on the show homepage in Podcasts Manager.
    2. Click Change served feed. You will be prompted to select which new feed to serve:
      1. If the feed is in your show's feed history, choose the feed from the list, and the change should happen in a day or two without any additional verification.
      2. If the feed is not in your feed history, enter the feed URL and you'll be prompted to verify ownership of the feed, as with any new feed. You will receive a verification code by email, and must provide the code in the verification flow to complete the process of changing the feed. Note that you will lose access to the show on Podcasts Manager when you click the "send code" button, so you should complete ownership verification promptly once the code is sent.
    3. Periodically visit your show in Podcasts Manager to see if Google has made the change.
    4. Update your podcast hosting service and/or your RSS feed, as appropriate, to alert non-Google podcasting directories and apps about the change.
    If you are using a podcast hosting service
    1. Search your hosting service's documentation for instructions about how to move a feed and how to tell podcast directories about the move. Your service should have a mechanism for moving feeds. If not, you can sign up for Google Podcasts Manager, then follow the previous instructions for Google Podcasts Manager users.
    2. Ask Google to crawl your new feed if your hosting service hasn't already done so. Or simply wait for a regularly scheduled crawl (Google typically crawls feeds several times a day). It will take a few days for your feed to change on Google Podcasts, and a few more days for the changes to propagate out to all subscribed users.
    3. We strongly recommend also using Google Podcasts Manager to tell Google directly about the change. Google Podcasts Manager is simple to enable.
    If you manage your RSS feed directly
    1. Your new feed: Post your feed in the new location and add the following tag, replacing new_feed_URL with the URL of the new feed location (yes, the new feed file points to itself):
      <itunes:new-feed-url>new_feed_URL</itunes:new-feed-url>
    2. Your old feed: Create a 301 (permanent) redirect from your old feed URL to your new feed URL.
    3. Ask Google to recrawl your old feed , or simply wait for a regularly scheduled crawl (Google typically crawls feeds several times a day). It will take a few days for your feed to change on Google, and a few more days for the changes to propagate out to all subscribed users.
  5. It can take a few days for the feed change to happen. Check back every few days to see whether the feed change has occurred. (How to check which feed is served.)
  6. After the feed change has occurred, you can delete the old feed, if you wish.
If you are using Podcasts Manager, be prepared for a small, self-correcting dip in subscribers on Google platforms. This dip should recover quickly, it is just an accounting error.
A note about custom feeds (private feeds)
You shouldn't try to verify ownership of custom feeds (also called private feeds) in Podcasts Manager. A custom feed is a feed that is not accessible to Google because it is blocked, requires an access token, or is otherwise inaccessible to Google. Podcasts Manager cannot show any data for custom feeds, and these feeds are not publicly available on Google Podcasts.
 
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