How Podcasts are Found

One of the questions podcasters ask themselves is, ‘how do I reach more listeners?’

We check stats and tell everyone we know about our podcast. We post every episode to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and risk burnout as our reservoir of creative ways to say the same thing rapidly diminishes.

We investigate social media scheduling apps, and read about content calendars, and gradually lose the will to live.

But maybe there’s a smarter way to do this. In order to reach more listeners, it helps to think about how podcasts are found.

How do people who listen to podcasts find podcasts?

They ask for recommendations (this is why you should tell everyone you know about your show) and they search for podcasts on their favourite subjects.

So the first thing is to make sure that your podcast looks like a podcast about your subject.

The second thing is to make sure you’re listed by places where listeners get their podcasts.


I moved Level Up Human to Acast in June 2018, and I really like the platform.

Their interface is easy to use, they moved all our episodes from Soundcloud for us, and their stats are pretty comprehensive.

I discovered when I looked into it that 80% of Level Up Human listeners listen via Apple Podcasts.

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 11.55.23 This means that 80% of our listeners are listening on iPhones. The number of listeners we get through podcatcher services is next to nothing.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t sent our RSS feed to any of them.

:facepalm emoji:

So, if you’re in the same boat, here’s a list of podcatcher services to submit your RSS feed to.


SEO has got to be one of the most uninspiring acronyms of all time.

It conjours images of slumping over a keyboard for TOO LONG.

Too technical, boring, boring.

Safety Lights are for Dudes


SEO is for dudes.

But, it’s just possible¬†that paying attention to how search engines index podcasts might help with discoverability.

After all, since an update last year, Google search results return podcasts now, and one of the ways they do this is by transcribing each episode using AI and machine learning, and picking out keywords.

Yes, really.

So this means it might be smart to work out what your show’s keywords are, and maybe say them in your introduction.

If I was Google, I would put more weight in the words used in the first couple of minutes of the show.

If your episode has good SEO, it could show up in searches for a topic you discuss, even if that topic isn’t listed in the show or episode title.

So what can podcasters do to boost Search Engine Optimisation?

Here are a few ideas.

  1. Choose a clear title

Choose a title for your podcast that explains what the podcast is about. If you already have a show title where that isn’t the case, consider adding a subtitle.

For example, I really need to call our show, Level Up Human: redesigning the human body.

2. Write a clear podcast description

There are search functions within Spotify and Apple podcasts. So if people are searching with keywords, make sure you use your keywords in your podcast description.

Not sure which keywords to use? Try using Google’s Keyword Planner to help you.

3. Say your keywords in the actual podcast

Not over and over and over again, obv, but at least once.

4. And yes, share on social media

It’s a lovely idea to promote on three or more social media platforms every week, but it’s also exhausting. If you’re a solo podcaster, it’s fine to focus on the one that performs best for you.

It’s possible to create tracking links for use on different social media platforms. Work out which channels perform best for your programme.

‘Urchin Traffic Monitoring’ or UTM is one step beyond the remit of this post, but if of interest let me know in the comments.

What else do you do to boost the discoverability of your show?

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