With the inclusion of audio results in the main search pages, search marketers must now include audio (podcast) optimization in their tactical toolkits. This session will cover the why and how of audio search optimization, including how to use RSS to increase reach. Moderator:
* Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing
* Amanda Watlington, Owner, Searching for Profit * Daron Babin, CEO, Webmaster Radio
Amanda Watlington speaks first:
Why new rules for customer engagement are needed. What should I do and why should I do it? Where does audio fit in the customer engagement process? - The effectiveness of interrupt advertising has had a sharp decline and in attention and in effectiveness - There's a tremendous fragmentation in the overall media - Small more specialized audiences - Diminished brand loyalty Podcasting can address these areas.
This is a new customer engagement model - reach the audience, they become aware. You communicate them in a more targeted fashion and it's more personalized. You can reach new audiences who don't know of you, your brand, or what you have to offer. Search helps in the awareness phase because you can increase your communication. RSS particularly and targeted sites think about music artists and music sites through search. Last but not least, RSS lets us share content, and the growth of widgets has helped in this process as well.
She illustrates how keywords influences across the spectrum and how it plays out in the search results. e.g. Reach keywords: "mp3 download," "mp3 music" Awareness keywords: "new punjabi music," "free punjabi music" Targeted communication: "punjabi songs by malkit singh," "jassi sidhu mp3"
By using this kind of information and applying RSS feeds, iTunes stores, and widgets, you can create a personalized communication and engagement.
It's not a simple strategy to put it in action. Before you launch, you need to make decisions. - Ask yourself: Should I do one standalone show or short series of podcasts? When you do one, it's like potato chips. You won't just do one. Think longer term. - Ask yourself: should I have a scheduled series of podcasts? - Ask yourself: do I want to create a radio or entertainment site?
Get down and dirty: - Think about the name of the show. Tip: make sure it's not in use. Names aren't as easy to check as domain name. Chaning the name is difficult once you have an audience - Consider the show name versus the episodes. Each episode needs its own title and description.
Prepare: - Develop a keyword list and determine how you're going to brand name (host, show, overall site?) - Write the audio tag information in advance because you'll want to mount your show quickly - Get album art done quickly, especially if you use iTunes for distribution (she recommends that) - Review iTunes categories to look for the right fit - Build your infrastructure in advance so you can mount it rapidly
Walk and Tackle: Record - Post - Distribute - Find - Play - Learn
Podcast optimization can be broken down into 4 steps: - Optimize audio file - Optimize webpage - Create/distribute RSS feed - Promotion
Step 1: Optimize your sound - ID3 tags - Get real friendly with these tags because they offer you a lot of opportunities. - You can even put lyrics in there! Essentials: Name of the podcast, title, comments section (URL, transcript or abstract and who to contact). You can use an application like Audacity. When you optimize the filename, make sure you use a short and unique name which is recognizable. This is important for users and directories. Step 2: Optimize your webpage. Have a show page and then individual episode pages. Optimize your landing page - use a separate page for audio content. Provide information on the show's schedule to attract subscribers and how to subscribe. This is how you can engage users on the series. Provide a player for them - let them listen online. A lot of people listen to the material online. Include with the player the length and the size of each audio file - some people are reluctant to commit. Our time online is valuable. Include an abstract or transcription (I like transcriptions, kthx!) Multiple feeds and multiple formats SEO the page
5 tactics and 5 tips beyond search engines 1. Use the content and its power to draw your listeners in: Interviews, topical subjects 2. Use PR and word of mouth techniques for awareness. Embed links to the audio in online Press Releases 3. Use marketing communications to drive listeners. Make URL recognizable 4. Feature links on our website to boost awareness of your podcast. 5. Provide widgets for letting users embed your audio in their site or Facebook page.
5 quick tips for SEO success with your audio 1. Develop a long range strategy for how audio fits with marketing and search efforts 2. Optimize audio files 3. Buold SEO landing pages 4. Build accurate effective RSS files 5. Submit and promote broadly to grow your audience those multiple marketing channels
Daron Babin is next. He hosted an awesome search bash last night. If you were at SESNY, why weren't you there?!
He shows examples of what Amanda has done practically well on his website, Webmaster Radio. He does live and on-demand content - you can go into production on a myriad of topics and look at it with a little of forethought and figure out where it fits and how you can best optimize it for delivery.
There are a lot of categories on Webmaster Radio because there's a lot of content. How do you promote the content and programs? Amanda talked about how to brand your podcast; do you come out with a name or brand the show host? Honestly, Daron says that there's something to be said about branding a person's name in there. If you're potentially planning to distribute numerous podcasts, there is value in basically making sure you have "sticktuitiveness." (He made up that word.) There's a lot to be said for what's in a name. If you're a long time listener, you see that there's a lot of SEO on the website. However, Daron needed to think out of the box on deployment and branding.
If you're creating a singular podcast for your company, there are a number of things to do: - WordPress has plugins - PodPress - If you ever plan on selling advertising, you're going to get a lot of hurdles - "how many listeners do you have?" You need to be able to answer that questions because you need checks and balances between you and your web host. If you're not up front with your webhost about what you're doing and you become popular, there will be a lot of donwloads. Your bandwidth bill will be REALLY high and unexpected.
- How can we employ not traditional SEO tactics but some really cool SEO tactics which will help not only our brand but those doing podcasts so that there's ROI? He sat down with the engineers and said he wanted to make the site 100% dynamic (the site was designed in ColdFusion, btw.)
- Give thought to a variety of things - make sure you have album art in there. You also want to simplify your approach to distributing the content.
- Pinging is a huge thing - be able to ping if you're producing and distributing yourself. Hit all of the top podcast diretories including iTunes that you're submitting to on a regular basis, and if your feeds have already been included, you only need to ping them once. Anytime you ping them, they will grab the update of your feed and post your new content. ONLY ping when you update your new content. Don't ping too often--it can be detrimental.
- When you update content on WebmasterRadio and publish it, the system is set up to ping, publish, update robots.txt and the sitemap, and updates the infrastructure immediately.
- You can also optimize that RSS feed. It's extremely important (he says that very slowly and says that I should underline that). What can you do to optimize it? If you've never done your job, you can take care of visibility with FeedBurner so that you can get analytics and optimize it itself. If you're not adept with editing XML, let someone else do it for you. Include your RSS over iTunes and eyeball it. You can really tweak your feeds very well and give you a lot more awareness.
What are the upsides? The more you do it, the more visibility you get. Someone in the audience says he podcasts and has 30 listeners. Daron says that for 300 or 3000, you need to be religious about it.
Daron talks about the Shoemoney show. His first show with WMR was called Net Income. Webmaster Radio ranks in the top 10-15 for that search phrase. He abandoned 250k RSS subscribers to change his podcast name! Without a strategy and forethought about how to deploy your content and how you build brand loyalty, if you begin to think differently and want to abandon that, go back and look at your feed - look at your stats. Tell yourself that it's a bad idea!!!! You cannot port RSS subscribers from one feed to another. It doesn't work like that. It just doesn't.
Look at the keywords that you wish to rank for. Every category on WMR is a keyword. Deep content pages are all high PR pages.
TRANSCRIPTION is very important. Is an abstract enough? That is never enough. He has 3.5 years of content. NBC produces 18 original hours of content a week. WMR produces 20 and every ounce of it gets transcribed. When those transcriptions are done, he outsources. Why? Transcriptions are not cheap! They're very valuable. Every time you go in there to publish, not only is there an abstract but on the page, he'll drop in all of the transcript. You won't see the transcripts unless you subscribe to the site (monetization technique). As transcripts are dropped, on the page optimization is taken care of. How can this be beneficial from an SEO standpoint? Keep using those keyword rich terms in the podcast - you're SEOing your content as you talk into your mic. Not only do you deploy that transcript on the page, but it gets shoved into the ID3 tag. You can get a lot of content there.
He also explains that WMR's publish button also embeds player codes dynamically. You can C&P those codes directly and that helps him rank for those keywords because they are 100% relevant.