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Upcoming changes in Google podcasting requirements
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Hi everyone,

To best help listeners discover new podcasts on Google, Google will start enforcing new requirements for podcast RSS feeds to be eligible to appear in recommendations on Google Podcasts and other Google surfaces. These requirements will go into place on September 21st. If your podcast does not meet these requirements, it will still be available on Google, but not eligible for recommendation.

These requirements provide information that allow Google and podcast listeners to better understand what your podcast is about. The new requirements will only be applicable at the show level (elements directly under the <channel> tag). Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Podcast RSS feeds must include a valid, crawlable image
Specify the image for your podcast using any one of these elements:
    • <googleplay:image>
    • <itunes:image>
    • <image>
You can check if you have a valid, crawlable image by searching for your podcast on Google Podcasts. If you see your podcast artwork, then you are meeting this requirement. If you don’t see podcast artwork that you selected for your podcast, follow these troubleshooting steps:
    • Make sure that Googlebot is not blocked by robots.txt from indexing your artwork.
    • More details on robots.txt and how to manage it can be found in this developer page.

  • Podcast RSS feeds must include a description
A user-friendly description of your podcast must be included using any one of these elements:
    • <description>
    • <googleplay:description>
    • <itunes:summary>

  • Podcast RSS feeds must include an author
The <itunes:author> or <googleplay:author> element must be populated with the name of the organization that you want to appear to listeners as the author of your podcast. This is not the same as the podcast owner requirement (next point below).

  • Podcast RSS feeds must define a correctly formatted owner email address
A valid email address must be defined within <itunes:email> or <googleplay:owner> elements inside your RSS feed.
If you want to claim your podcast in Google Podcasts Manager, you will need to be able to access this email for verification purposes
If you use a 3rd party hosting provider, please refer to their documentation or contact them to change the email address, if needed.

  • Podcast RSS feeds must include correctly formatted link to a valid homepage
<link> element must be populated with a valid and crawlable URL of your podcast’s homepage.
Linking your podcast to a homepage will help the discovery and presentation of your podcast on Google surfaces. Also read our previous community post on this topic.

To check if your podcast feed has these items, you can search the RSS feed through (CTRL+F) for any of these fields. You can also check with your hosting provider to ensure that they are populating these fields by default. 

If your feed is missing any information and you are using a podcast hosting provider, you can provide any missing information using your provider's podcast management pages. If you edit your RSS feed directly, you can provide the information directly in the RSS feed.

On September 21st, any podcasts still missing any of these requirements will not be eligible for Google recommendations. They will continue to be searchable and be displayed on the user subscription list in Google Podcasts. Note that we will continue to crawl your podcasts regularly and can surface them in recommendations within 48 hours once all requirements have been implemented.

Thank you for helping us deliver the best experience possible for podcast listeners on Google!

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