If you are using a podcast hosting provider, such as Libsyn or Anchor, your provider may handle the technical aspects of posting your podcasts on Google for you. Read this guide to confirm whether your hosting provider is already getting you on Google, and how you can customize your settings to perform a bit better.
On the other hand, if you are comfortable with RSS and HTML, you can dive right in and manually edit your RSS feed.
A little background
Behind the scenes, every podcast is described by an RSS feed. An RSS feed is a text file that provides the important details about a podcast, including the podcast name and description, the names of the episodes and audio file locations, and more, using a very structured format. This file is posted at a public URL, just like a web page. Google finds and reads RSS feeds to learn about podcasts in order to make them available on Google Podcasts platforms.
RSS is a standard format that all podcast players and platforms understand. Your podcasting provider probably creates and publishes an RSS feed for you, based on information and files that you provide. However, some of these values might need to be adjusted to perform better on Google or to enable special features on Google, such as being able to use Podcasts Manager, or to associate your RSS file with your podcast's homepage.
Optimize your podcast for Google
If you're using a podcast hosting provider for your podcast, chances are that your podcast is already on Google. Do a Google search for your podcast name. If your podcast appears with the option to play episodes in your browser, then your podcast provider has created your feed, and the rest of this page will show you how to optimize it. If you podcast does not appear on Google, contact your podcast provider and ask them why not.
Here's a summary of your next steps:
- Find your RSS feed URL. This is the URL of the feed that defines your podcast to Google (and all podcast players).
- Confirm that your RSS feed and home page point to each other. This helps Google get more information about your podcast, which improves your podcast's presence in Search and Google Podcasts platforms.
- Register your podcast with Podcasts Manager. Podcasts Manager is a free Google tool to help you see your listener data, including charts showing when users played your episodes, which parts of the episodes they listened to, and which search terms showed your podcast on Google Search.
Search the help pages of your podcast service to learn how to find the URL of your podcast's RSS feed. Search for phrases such as "Where is my RSS feed?"
Once you've found the URL of your podcast's feed, save it for the next steps.
2. Make sure that your feed and your home page point to each other
If you have a homepage for your podcast, your feed and your homepage should point to each other with <link> tags. Associating a homepage with your podcast in this way can help your podcast perform better in Google Search.
2.a Check your feed
In your RSS feed, confirm that there is a <link> element that points to your homepage. It should look something like this:
If there is no <link> element in your feed, or if the URL it contains points to the wrong address, search your hosting provider for information about how to specify your podcast's homepage address.
2.b Check your homepage
Confirm that your homepage contains following HTML tag that points to your RSS feed:
<link type="application/rss+xml" rel="alternate" title="Title_Value" href="RSS_URL"/>
Where Title_Value is the title of your podcast, and RSS_URL is the URL of your RSS feed from step 1.
You can see your homepage's source HTML in your browser, often by right-clicking the page and selecting Show Source HTML, or something like that. If this tag is missing, or is pointing to the wrong location, fix it. If you don't know how to add this tag to your homepage, ask a friend who knows a little about web page coding to help.
If you want to use Google Podcasts Manager to see listener data for your podcast, such as how many people listened to your podcast on Google, and what terms they searched for to find your podcast, you must specify a feed owner email address in the feed, and you must have access to this email address. This email address is used in the verification process for Podcasts Manager.
To confirm that your feed has your email address:
- Visit your feed URL in a browser.
- Search for either of the following tags:
- If present, confirm that your email address is listed inside these tags. For example, Dafna might see her email address in her feed using either of these formats:
- If you don't see either tag, or you do see a tag but it doesn't contain an email address that you can access, then read your hosting provider's documentation to learn how you can specify an owner's email address. Search for terms such as "add an owner email address to my feed". For example, here's how you would update your owner address on Anchor.
4. Updating your podcast or episodes
Any changes that you publish to your podcast in your hosting service, including any episodes that you add or remove, should be seen and updated automatically by Google in a few hours. You don't need to tell Google about any changes.
5. Next steps: Monitor your listening and discovery behavior
If you've done the first three steps above, you can register your podcast with Podcasts Manager to see how people found your podcast (what search queries showed your podcast on Google), how long they listened, and more.
To register with Podcasts Manager, provide your RSS URL from step 1 to the Add and verify wizard. It's free, and only requires a valid Google account and a valid RSS feed with your contact email, as described in step 3.