RSS feed guidelines for Google Podcasts

To be eligible to appear in Google Podcasts platforms, your podcast must be defined by an RSS feed that follows the guidelines described here.

Using a podcast hosting service?

If you are using a podcast hosting service, such as Podbean or libsyn, you probably won't edit the RSS feed directly, but will instead use your hosting service's tools to create and update this file. If that is the case, please read your hosting service's documentation to understand how to update any important values mentioned here (such as how to specify the URL of your show's homepage).

If you don't understand RSS, you can either learn about it yourself or find a web developer who can create the feed for you. Google Podcasts platforms can expose only podcasts with valid RSS feeds that follow our guidelines.

 

 

Feed requirements and recommendations

  • This RSS feed should be well-formed, and conform to the RSS 2.0 specification as much as possible. Google doesn't use all the RSS feed tags, but the examples on this page show the important ones.
  • Include all the required podcast-level and episode-level tags. Feeds without all the required tags might not be indexed by Google. Some tags are not required to appear as a podcast in search, but are required to be eligible as a recommended podcast on Google surfaces. We also recommend some additional tags for a better podcast experience.
  • You must provide an image for your podcast.
  • The feed and audio files should not require any authentication or be blocked to Google in any way. You can check by visiting your feed in an incognito window.
  • A majority of the episodes must be in any of the supported audio formats.
  • Use either HTTP or HTTPS, but not both. The RSS feed and all episodes should be located either on HTTP or HTTPS. Google strongly recommends using HTTPS. If your feed or homepage is hosted at one protocol (HTTPS) but the linked resources are hosted at another protocol (HTTP), Google Chrome will display a click-through warning to users before loading those resources, or possibly not allow them to be loaded at all. This includes episode audio files. Therefore you should be sure that, at minimum, the feed and the homepage, plus all audio file URLs in <enclosure> tags be using the same protocol (ideally HTTPS).
  • If your podcast has multiple feeds, be aware that Google will try to group similar or identical feeds together and serve only one of them. Read more about how Google manages podcasts with multiple feeds.
  • A note on feed availability: If your podcast's feed becomes unavailable after it has been crawled by Google, Google Podcasts will continue to serve the last crawled feed version for a few weeks, then stop serving it if the feed has not become available again.
Supported audio formats
The following audio formats are supported by Google Podcasts: aac, m4a, mp3, ogg, wav

Example feed

Here is an example podcast feed with two episodes, published at https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/rss/podcast.rss. It uses two extension namespaces, and references an associated homepage at https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<rss version="2.0"
    xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd">
  <channel>
    <title>Dafna's Zebra Podcast</title>
    <itunes:owner>
        <itunes:email>dafna@example.com</itunes:email>
    </itunes:owner>
    <itunes:author>Dafna</itunes:author>
    <description>A pet-owner's guide to the popular striped equine.</description>
    <itunes:image href="https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/img/dafna-zebra-pod-logo.jpg"/>
    <language>en-us</language>
    <link>https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/</link>
    <item>
      <title>Top 10 myths about caring for a zebra</title>
      <description>Here are the top 10 misunderstandings about the care, feeding, and breeding of these lovable striped animals.</description>
      <pubDate>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
      <enclosure url="https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/audio/toptenmyths.mp3"
                 type="audio/mpeg" length="34216300"/>
      <itunes:duration>30:00</itunes:duration>
      <guid isPermaLink="false">dzpodtop10</guid>
    </item>
    <item>
      <title>Keeping those stripes neat and clean</title>
      <description>Keeping your zebra clean is time consuming, but worth the effort.</description>
      <pubDate>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
      <enclosure url="https://www.example.com/podcasts/dafnas-zebras/audio/cleanstripes.mp3"
                 type="audio/mpeg" length="26004388"/>
      <itunes:duration>22:48</itunes:duration>
      <guid>dzpodclean</guid>
    </item>
  </channel>
</rss>

Google-specific RSS tags

Here are the required and recommended RSS tags used by Google to display your podcast:

Tag namespace

When using any itunes tags, be sure to use the proper namespace tag at the top of your RSS feed, as shown here:

<rss version="2.0"
     xmlns:itunes="http://www.itunes.com/dtds/podcast-1.0.dtd"">

Podcast-level RSS tags

To be eligible to appear in Google Podcasts platforms, you must include the following required podcast-level tags, and can optionally include the recommended podcast-level tags, which can provide a better user experience.

These apply to the <channel> element in your feed, which represents one podcast. Google Podcasts supports only a single <channel> element per feed; if a feed has more than one <channel> element, it won't be processed.

If your podcast does not contain all the right tags, Google will continue to crawl your podcast periodically. If Google finds that you have corrected all errors or missing required elements, your podcast is then eligible to appear again in Google Podcasts.

Required podcast/channel tags

You must define these RSS tags at the podcast level in order to be eligible to appear in Google Search. Use the appropriate namespace for your tag.

Tag or tag type Description
<item> Defines an episode. You must have at least one <item> element in the feed. For details on markup used to describe episodes, see Episode-level RSS tags.
<link> Fully-qualified URL of the homepage of your podcast. Make sure that the page does not require a password, or Google won't be able to associate this page with your podcast.
<title> Name of the podcast.
Image

An image to associate with your podcast. It must not be blocked to Googlebot. You can provide an image using any of the following tags:

  • <itunes:image>
  • <image>
      <link>...</link>
      <title>...</title>
      <url>...</url>
    </image>

    When using RSS <image> tags, you must include a nested <link> element that points to the podcast homepage, and a nested <title> tag that matches the <title> element in the homepage.

Example: <itunes:image href="https://google.com/google_podcast_cover_art.jpg"/>

Description

[Strongly recommended for your podcast to appear in search results, required to appear as a recommended podcast in Google Podcasts]

A plaintext description of the podcast, shown if the user clicks for more information in Google Search results. HTML tags are ignored and the description is truncated to 1,000 characters. If present, the description should generally agree with the content on the podcast homepage, but need not be an exact copy of that text. You can provide a description by using any of the following tags:

  • <description>
  • <itunes:summary>
Owner

[Strongly recommended for your podcast to appear in search results, required to appear as a recommended podcast in Google Podcasts]

In order to prove ownership of the feed to Podcasts Manager, the address listed here will receive a verification email. You can specify only one owner. Use the appropriate namespace for your tag.

<itunes:owner>
  <itunes:email>dafna@example.com</itunes:email>
</itunes:owner>

Author

[Strongly recommended for your podcast to appear in search results, required to appear as a recommended podcast in Google Podcasts]

Text name(s) of the author(s) of this podcast.This need not be the same as the owner value.

  • <itunes:author>

Recommended channel/podcast tags

These RSS tags are not required, but providing them can provide a better user experience in search, as well as providing more information for users to help find your podcast in Google. Use the appropriate namespace for your tag.

Tag or tag type Description
Category

The general topic of the podcast to be shown in the Search results. The category must be in English and the "&" character must be defined using the HTML entity &amp;. You can specify a category using the following tag:

  • <itunes:category> - Example: <itunes:category text="Games &amp; Hobbies"/>

Recommended categories

We recommend the following categories for your podcast. Use them as shown below, not translated to any other language:
  • Arts
  • Business
  • Comedy
  • Education
  • Games &amp; Hobbies
  • Government &amp; Organizations
  • Health
  • Kids &amp; Family
  • Music
  • News &amp; Politics
  • Religion &amp; Spirituality
  • Science &amp; Medicine
  • Society &amp; Culture
  • Sports &amp; Recreation
  • TV &amp; Film
  • Technology
<itunes:explicit>

Indicates whether the podcast is explicit language or adult content. You can also tag individual episodes with this property for finer-grained control. Values set for this tag at the episode level override any value set at the show level.

Values (case-sensitive):

  • no (Default value, if tag is absent): This podcast does not contain explicit material.
  • yes: This podcast contains explicit material.
<language> The two-letter language code of the podcast as defined by ISO 639-1.

<itunes:block>

Include this tag at the show level only if you want to remove your show from Google Podcasts platforms. Does not affect downloaded episodes. The only supported value is "yes" in order to remove your show. Show removal should occur within a day.

Example: <itunes:block>yes</itunes:block>

<itunes:new-feed-url>

If you move your feed--for example, if you change hosting services--include this tag in your new feed to let Google know that the new feed is the new location of an already known feed. Here is how to use this tag:

  1. Implement a 301 redirect for your old feed URL.
  2. Add this tag to your new feed, and specify the new feed URL. (Yes, it seems strange for a feed to point to itself, but that is the correct usage.)

Here's an example of the two steps for moving an RSS feed:

  • Old feed (old.example.com/rss/rss.xml) - Returns HTTP 301
  • New feed (new.example.com/rss/rss.xml) - Contains the tag <itunes:new-feed-url>https://new.example.com/rss/rss.xml</itunes:new-feed-url>

Episode-level RSS tags

To be eligible to appear in Google Podcasts platforms, you must include the required episode-level tags. You can also include the recommended tags to add more information about your content, which could provide a better user experience.

Required episode tags

You must define these RSS tags at the episode level in order to be eligible to appear in Google Search. Use the appropriate namespace for your tag.

Tag Description
<enclosure>

Fully-qualified URL of the episode audio file. Episodes will appear in search results only if the majority of the episodes are in one of the supported audio formats. We recommend making sure that these files are not protected by robots.txt rules, and are otherwise available to Googlebot. Example:

<enclosure url="https://www.example.com/tenmyths.mp3"
           type="audio/mpeg" length="34216300"/>

Video files are not supported.

<title> Title of the podcast episode.

Recommended episode tags

These RSS tags are not required, but providing them can provide a better user experience in search, as well as providing more information for users to help find your episode in Google.

Tag or tag type Description
Description

A plaintext description of the podcast, which is shown if the user clicks for more information in Search results. HTML tags are ignored and the description is truncated to 1,000 characters. If present, the description should generally agree with the content on the podcast homepage, but need not be an exact copy of that text. You can provide a description by using any of the following tags:

  • <description>
  • <itunes:summary>
<itunes:explicit>

Indicates whether this episode contains explicit language or adult content. If absent, the episode inherits the show-level setting. If present, the value declared here overrides the show-level setting.

Values (case-sensitive):

  • no: This episode does not contain explicit material.
  • yes: This episode contains explicit material.
<guid>

A permanently-assigned, case-sensitive Globally Unique Identifier for a podcast episode. Should be unique and unchanging over time, scoped to this podcast. GUIDs are compared to indicate which episodes are new. Add isPermaLink="false" when the string isn't a valid URL. If you do not specify a <guid> tag, Google will use the file URL in the <enclosure> tag as a GUID.

Google Podcasts platforms use this tag to uniquely identify an episode. If you change the episode file URL but retain the same GUID, listeners will not see the change. However, Podcasts Manager uses the episode URL to uniquely identify an episode, not the GUID.

<itunes:duration>

Duration of the episode, in one of the following formats:

  • hours:minutes:seconds
    Example: <itunes:duration>1:10:00</itunes:duration>
  • minutes:seconds
    Example: <itunes:duration>10:00</itunes:duration>
  • total_seconds
    Example: <itunes:duration>1800</itunes:duration>

In the first two formats the values for hours, minutes, or seconds cannot exceed two digits each.

<pubDate>

Publication date of the episode, in RFC 822 (section 5.1) format. This date is used by podcast players and Google Podcasts Manager as the publication date of this episode (not the date that the episode was discovered by Google).

Example: <pubDate>Wednesday, 04 Feb 2015 00:00:00 EST</pubDate>

<itunes:block>

Include this tag at the episode level to remove your episode from the show on Google Podcasts platforms. Does not affect downloaded episodes. The only supported value is "yes". Episode removal should occur within a day.

Example: <itunes:block>yes</itunes:block>

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