Troubleshooting

Podcast is not on Google

If your podcast isn't appearing in Google Search or other Google Podcasts platforms, you will see a notification in Google Podcasts Manager for your show. To fix this, try the following steps. Note that Google doesn't guarantee that every podcast will show up on Google.

It takes Podcasts Manager about a day after a successful fix to confirm that Google can access your feed again. Additionally, there is a 2-3 day data latency in Podcasts Manager data, so it can take a few days after a successful fix or newly discovered feed to begin to see data for your show.

 

1. Check that your feed is indexed

A feed must be indexed by Google before it can appear on any Google Podcasts platform. Being indexed means that Google has found and stored your RSS feed in the Google index.

To check whether your feed is indexed by Google:

  1. Find the served feed URL for your podcast.
  2. Open the link generator tool, enter your feed URL from step 1, and click Generate.
  3. If the tool can generate a link, your feed is indexed.
  4. If the link generator reports a problem, request a recrawl of your feed and see whether it succeeds.
  5. If the recrawl fails, continue to step 2.
2. Check the validity of your RSS feed

Confirm the validity and completeness of your RSS feed:

  • Check validity: Use an RSS validator to confirm that your feed is well-formed, but note that Google can tolerate some RSS errors. Validate your feed by URL, rather than simply pasting your code into a validator, to ensure that the feed is reachable.
  • Check completeness: Confirm that your feed includes all Google-required podcast-level tags for podcasts, and at least one episode with the required episode tags.
3. Confirm that Google can access your feed and homepage
  1. Confirm that Google can access your feed.
    1. See if the feed requires authorization. A quick way to do this is to enter the feed URL in an incognito window.
    2. See if you requested removal of your feed URL from Google. Check your removal history (requires Search Console ownership of the feed URL).
  2. If you have a homepage, but Google doesn't seem to know about it:
    1. Confirm that Google can access your homepage. Use the Mobile Friendly test tool on your homepage, and see if it reports any issues with noindex or robots.txt rule. These issues can prevent Google from reading your homepage. Fixing those issues is beyond the scope of this document, but read the linked documentation to learn how to address these issues.
    2. In your homepage, confirm that you have a link to your served RSS feed URL, and that the URL is correct.
    3. Confirm that the <link> element in your feed points to the homepage.
Note that it takes Podcasts Manager about a day to confirm fixes to an inaccessible or broken feeds, so wait a day and confirm that the warning about an inaccessible feed has disappeared from your show in Podcasts Manager.

Episode is not on Google

Podcast is already claimed

If you try to verify ownership of a feed, but get a warning that the podcast is already claimed, you should contact the owner listed in the currently verified feed. Visit the feed that you tried to claim* and look for the owner email listed in the <googleplay:owner> or <itunes:owner> tag. Send an email to that owner asking for access to the show in Podcasts Manager.

* If you asked to claim feed 1 but were directed to claim feed 2, contact the owner of feed 2, not the owner of feed 1.

If you think that an unauthorized person has claimed ownership of your feed, you can contact us with the details of your claim.

Podcast is served from another feed

If you try to add a feed to a show, but Google Podcasts already serves this podcast from another feed, Podcasts Manager will not allow you to verify the suggested feed. Podcasts Manager will show the URL of the feed that Google currently serves for this podcast, and provide a link to file a request if you think that Google is serving the wrong feed for this show.

No podcast-level result in Google Search

A podcast-level search result shows information about your whole podcast, and also includes a carousel of episodes just for your podcast, as shown here (the exact layout may change):

 

If your podcast homepage isn't showing up in search results:

If your podcast homepage shows up in search, but without any episodes

If you don't see any episodes listed with your podcast homepage in Google Search results:

If your podcast is in search results, but without any special formatting:

  • Confirm that your feed is associated with your homepage.
  • Confirm that Google can access the linked homepage. Enter the homepage URL in an incognito window
  • Confirm that your homepage complies with Google webmaster guidelines. Your homepage, unlike your RSS feed, must comply with those guidelines in order to appear in Search results.
  • Google doesn't guarantee special formatting or features for podcast search results. Even if you have done everything properly, in some cases Google Search might decide that a different format is more appropriate for search results for your podcast.

Google isn't noticing your feed updates

If your podcast already appears on Google, but updates are not being picked up (for example, new episodes, or podcast description changes):

  1. Be aware that removing an episode will remove it from Google Podcasts platforms for listeners, but if the episode has any listening data, it will stay on Podcasts Manager.
  2. Google should pick up changes to an existing feed in less than a day. If it's only been ten minutes since you published your change, wait a few hours then check again.
  3. Confirm that you are updating the served feed for your show. If you have multiple feeds associated with your show, Google will not publish changes made to any non-served feeds.
  4. Check your feed crawl status:
    1. Open the Google PubSubHubbub site.
    2. In the Publisher Diagnostics enter your feed URL in the Topic URL text box, then click Get Info.
    3. Check the last successful fetch time, and see if it is more recent than the last unsuccessful fetch. If the most recent fetch was unsuccessful, look at the last fetch error to see what went wrong.
  5. Check that your feed is valid. If the feed has syntax errors, Google might not be able to read it. Check the validity of your feed.

Lost access to your show

Here are the possible reasons that you can't access your show any more in Podcasts Manager:

  • If you can neither open the show in Podcasts Manager nor see it in your show list, a show Admin has revoked your access to the show. If this is the case, you'll need to contact an Admin or Editor of the show to re-grant you access.
  • If you can't open the show, but get rerouted to a "Please verify your feed" page, and you see "Pending verification" next to the show name in the show list, then either:
    • You never finished verifying ownership of the feed, and you must do so.
    • The served feed has changed and you or someone else has started, but not completed, verifying ownership of the new feed. In this case, anyone trying to access the show will be prompted to complete verification of the newly served feed.

Request access to a show

If you don't have access to an existing show, ask a show Admin to grant you access. If you don't know who to ask, contact the owner's email listed in the <googleplay:owner> or <itunes:owner> tag of the feed.

Episode is missing from a show in Podcasts Manager

If you've posted an episode to your feed, but you don't see it in Podcasts Manager, remember these requirements to appear in the episodes list. If your episode fulfils these requirements and you still don't see it listed in your show on Podcasts Manager:

  • Change the selected time period. Remember that only episodes that were published before or within the selected time period are shown in the episode list. Choose All Time for the selected time period to zoom out to include all data for all episodes.
  • Make sure that the episode appears in the served feed for your show. Changes made to any other feeds, including new episodes added, will not be reflected on Google Podcasts platforms.
  • Refresh your browser tab. Podcasts Manager won't refresh the page with new data unless you reload the page. Switching shows in your show list won't load new data either.
  • Confirm that Google has seen your updates. Monitor the feed crawl status on your served feed to see if Google has seen your changes. Use the feed crawl diagnostics to confirm that Google could access the feed, and that the feed didn't have any critical errors.
  • Confirm that your feed is being served. Open the Google Podcasts app, load your podcast, and see whether the episode appears there.
  • If an episode was previously present in the show but is now no longer served, remember that Podcasts Manager retains data for only 16 months. Episodes that are no longer served will not be shown in the report 16 months after the last recorded listening data.

Episode has no data, but appears in Podcasts Manager

Remember that an episode must have data in order to appear in Podcasts Manager. If your episode appears in Podcasts Manager but doesn't show any data in the report, you're probably zoomed in to a time period without data. Change your date selection to All time to see where your listening data occurs.

Episode appears twice in your show

Podcasts Manager uniquely identifies an episode by the episode URL. If you change the URL of an episode in any way (other than changing the casing), then the new URL will be considered a new episode, with the same name as the old episode (unless you've changed the title as well).

Sharp drop-off in data for episodes or show

If you see an abrupt drop-off of data for one or more episodes:

  • If the served feed changes and nobody has verified ownership in Podcasts Manager of the new feed, your show will cease to show any data from the new feed. Data loss will be visible 2-3 days after the feed change if the new feed is not verified. show Admins and Editors should see a notification when this occurs; show Viewers might not see any notification.
  • Another possibility is that the episode is blocked by a <googleplay:block> or <itunes:block> tag. These tags can block an episode from being shown to users in Google Podcasts platforms.
  • Another possibility is that the audio file URL is broken; open your served RSS feed and copy the URL into a new browser window to see whether the audio file URL is correct.

Slow drop-off in data

If data for an episode simply tails off, it's likely that users have just stopped listening to your episode.

Served feed changed, but can't reverify

If the served feed has changed but you can't verify ownership of the feed for some reason, you can file an appeal to change the served feed back.

Show isn't associated with your website

If a Google search for your podcast isn't showing your associated website, confirm that your feed and homepage properly point to each other. That is, your served RSS feed should have a <link> tag pointing to the website homepage, like this:

<link>https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/</link>

Make sure that the served feed points to the homepage; check to see which is your served feed.

And your homepage should have a <link> tag pointing to the RSS feed, like this:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Podcast"
      href="https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/rss/podcast.rss"/>

Data discrepancies

You might see discrepancies between the data on Google Podcasts Manager and other hosting services. Read more about data discrepancies here.

Google chose the wrong RSS feed for your show

You can strongly suggest the preferred RSS feed for your show by linking it to your homepage, and Google usually respects this choice. If this does not work, you can file an appeal to change the served feed.

I'm told that I already verified ownership of a feed, but I didn't

If you submit a verification request for a new feed, and Google tells you that you've already verified the feed, here is probably what is happening:

  1. At the time of your request, Google didn't know about your feed. This is why you were allowed to submit the request without any suggestions from Podcasts Manager.
  2. Google then crawls the feed and decides that it's part of a known feed group; that is, it's similar enough to another feed that it's essentially a duplicate of that known feed.
  3. If you are already a verified member of the Podcasts Manager show represented by that feed group, your new feed is a duplicate (non-served) feed for the show, which is already verified, Podcasts Manager tells you that you've already verified this feed.

If you think that this new feed is not a duplicate of an existing feed, you can request a change in the served feed. However, Google does not provide a way to let you request serving of two feeds that it thinks are duplicates.

Playback fails, opens a new tab, or downloads the audio file

If playback fails for an episode on any Google surface

Confirm that the episode is playable for an incognito user:

  1. Find the served feed for your show.
  2. In that feed, find the URL listed for the episode
  3. Open an incognito window in your browser and enter the episode URL. If the episode won't play for an anonymous user, it won't play on Google Podcasts. Make sure that there aren't any login requirements for the episode.

It's also possible that you have a problem with mixed content, where your host page or feed is on HTTP but the episode audio file is on HTTPS (or the reverse). Check the audio file URL and confirm that it uses the same protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) as the hosting page or feed. If not, make sure that the page, feed, and all resources are hosted on the same protocol (Google strongly recommends HTTPS).

If clicking "play" opens a new browser tab, or downloads the audio file

It's likely that you have a problem with mixed content, where your host page or feed is on HTTP but the episode audio file is on HTTPS (or the reverse). Check the audio file URL and confirm that it uses the same protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) as the hosting page or feed. If not, make sure that the page, feed, and all resources are hosted on the same protocol (Google strongly recommends HTTPS).

Request a recrawl of your feed

Google crawls podcast feeds regularly and often, but if you need to publish an update to your feed quickly, here is how to tell Google to recrawl your feed:

  1. Visit PubSubHubbub.
  2. In Publish > Topic URL, enter your feed's URL
  3. Click Publish
  4. This will queue the feed.

To check the status of your requested crawl:

  1. Visit PubSubHubbub.
  2. In Publisher Diagnostics > Topic URL, enter your feed URL
  3. Click Get Info.
  4. Check the Last successful fetch time to see when Google was last able to access your RSS feed. Note that this doesn't mean that Google was able to read and understand the feed, only that it accessed the feed.
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