to show every podcasters dream - climbing the apple podcasts search rankings

How To Improve Your Apple Podcasts Search Rankings

If you’re a podcaster then you know how tricky it is for your show to pop up in Apple podcasts search rankings, when you type in keywords related to your show. 

Hell, For our podcast, CLIPPED, we frequently search for our episode titles or related phrases using the Apple Podcasts search bar, only to be disappointed by the search results.

What good is podcasting if nobody can find your show?

If you’re a podcast host and you’re feeling frustrated, imagine what your listeners are experiencing daily. 

People around the globe are searching for episodes and content like yours, only to be met with search results that miss the mark or fail to meet their needs. 

This can be annoying AF for both producers and consumers of shows. 

That’s why, in this blog post, we’ll guide you on how to enhance your search rankings on Apple Podcasts. 

We’ll cover SEO basics, explain how to improve your Apple Podcasts search rankings delve into the workings of its search algorithm, drawing directly from insights provided by Apple. 

Let’s give it a go

Why Should You Want Your Episodes To Rank In Apple Podcasts?

As a podcaster you want as many people as possible to come across your episodes. The more impressions = more clicks, = more listeners and more fans. 

Boosting your podcast’s search rankings Apple Podcasts increases visibility and discoverability, helping you attract and retain a more engaged audience. 

This growth not only enhances your show’s authority and credibility but also opens up greater opportunities for monetization and audience feedback.
You worked hard to plan, record and mix your episodes, you may as well get a reward from your work. 

Podcast SEO Basics

For those of you unaware, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Webmasters use SEO techniques to rank their websites at the top of Google Search.

But, did you know that there are also SEO techniques that can help you rank your episodes at the top of Apple Search?

Sick, huh?

Let’s get into some of those Podcast SEO Basics now.

Podcast SEO Basics

Show Name

First off, the name of your podcast tells potential listeners what the show is about. Listeners and the search algorithm need context.

Conversely, if the name doesn’t reflect the show’s focus, it can confuse the search algorithms, which MAY harm search results. This reduces organic discoverability.

Keywords In Show Names 

Believe it or not, the name of your podcast and the titles of your episodes contains keywords that listeners are searching for. 

When potential listeners type in keywords related to your show name/episodes it increases the odds that your content will appear. 

For example, a podcast named “Eco Travel Adventures” is more likely to appear in searches for “travel,” “eco-friendly travel,” or “adventure travel.”

That’s three distinct search phrases that this show can appear for!

Whereas a show named “Voyages” might only rank for the search term “voyages”. 

This is a problem for a couple reasons:

  1. Lack of context
  2. Limiting search visibility
  3. Lack of targeting – What the hell is voyages? That could mean so many things

Keywords In Episode Titles

Just as the name of your podcast influences its discoverability, the titles of your episodes play a key role in attracting specific listeners through search. 

Carefully chosen keywords within episode titles can boost the likelihood that those episodes surface in search results directly related to listener interests.

Take for instance a series from “Eco Travel Adventures” with episodes titled “Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica,” “Eco-Friendly Gear for the Modern Traveler,” and “Conservation Efforts in the Galapagos.” 

Each of these titles targets distinct, searchable phrases, increasing the episodes’ visibility across multiple relevant searches.

In contrast, an episode simply titled “Our Chat with The Locals” lacks specific keywords and provides little context. – Who are you chatting with? Why are you chatting with them? What are you discussing?

This vague titling can be problematic for several reasons:

  • Limited Reach: Without keywords, the episode is unlikely to appear in targeted search queries.
  • Ambiguity: Listeners may have no clear indication of the episode’s content before listening.
  • Missed Opportunities: There’s a missed chance to connect with listeners searching for specific content, such as “sustainable tourism” or “conservation.”

Choosing descriptive, keyword-rich titles for your episodes not only clarifies content for potential listeners but also maximizes your reach across relevant search queries, directly impacting your podcast’s growth and engagement.

We added a tagline to our show CLIPPED, because we realized the word Clipped doesn’t give any context to what the podcast is about.

How Apple Podcasts Search Works

According to Apple, when someone types in search terms, the search engine tries to find the best match for those search terms and puts the most relevant results first.  Per Apple, Here are three things that Apple Podcasts looks at to decide how to order your search results:

  1. Metadata 
  2. Popularity
  3. User Behavior

Podcast Metadata 

Podcast metadata is the information that tells you what a podcast and its episodes are about. We think of this as part of the basic Podcast SEO—stuff you absolutely need to do if you want your podcast to show up in Apple Podcasts. 

However, there are a few extra steps you should take to really make a difference.

Ausha has a detailed article on how to optimize your podcast metadata, which is super helpful. So if you want to go deep on metadata, make sure you give this a read.

We’re going to focus on two parts of that in this section. “Show Description” and “Show Notes.” These are key parts of your podcast’s metadata and also critical for SEO.

Show Description

Your show description is just that, the description of what your podcast is about. Again, you need to weave keywords related to your podcast into this show description.

If you do that, it’s going to help you climb the Apple Podcasts Search Results algo. 

Additionally, here’s a little tip. Try using one of these formulas, while including keywords.

  1. This is a show about “x” and it’s interesting because of “y” and “z”
  2. This is a show about “x” where I teach you how “y” will get you “z” results

“This show explores the world of vintage guitar collecting. We chat with expert collectors about how to begin, expand, and profitably sell vintage guitars”

Let’s take a look at the keywords in this description. We’ve got “vintage guitars,” “vintage guitar collecting,” “collecting guitars,” “how to sell vintage guitars,” “expert guitar collectors,” as well as other combinations of search phrases.

That’s a lot of keywords! It’s also the makings of a rad podcast. You can see how this description opens up a world of possibilities for potential listeners.

Show Notes

Show notes, also known as “Episode Descriptions,” are detailed summaries that give high-level overviews of podcast episodes. 

Typically formatted in paragraphs, they highlight main points, may include timestamps, quotes, and links to guest profiles, resources mentioned, and special offers.

The more you enrich your show notes with SEO optimized keywords, the more you’re going to make Apple Podcasts search algorithm happy.

If you’re unsure how to access show notes in Apple Podcasts, it’s simple: on mobile, tap anywhere within the episode’s display; on desktop, click the episode title.

Naturally Incorporating Keywords

Before we go on we’ve gotta mention that you don’t want to artificially stuff your titles, descriptions and show notes with keywords, just for trying to manipulate the search results. 

Be human, be natural.

Don’t make your writing sound strange because of trying to put a million keywords in a paragraph. The search Gods know, they know.


Here’s where it gets interesting and is a bit like the whole “chicken before the egg” thing. Apple says that their search favors show with large followings and plays.

But how do you get a lot of followers and plays if you’re not coming up in their search? Well, you have to use your own sphere of influence.

Do you have an email list? – Use that to drive people to Apple to listen to your show.

Go on other podcasts in your niche and position yourself as an expert, the host of the show you’re guesting on will likely tell his/her audience to check out your show. Additionally they will link to your podcast in their show notes.

Have a little bit of money to throw at your podcast? Advertising within podcast listening apps is a great way to grow your podcast. Buzzsprout and mowPod are great for this.

If you build it, they will come. In the beginning you’ve got to hustle to get listeners. Do what you can to drive people to Apple on your own. Then, Apple Podcasts Search will recognize your show as being “popular” and their search gods will start working in your favor.

User Behavior 

This piggybacks on “popularity”. Podcasts with high engagement and those shows that are followed from the search results are more likely to show up in the search results.

You see what they did there?

All the more reason to hustle to get those die-hards to listen to your show on Apple Podcasts. The more traffic you can drive to Apple on your own accord, the more will reap the benefits of optimizing your podcasts SEO.

Apple Podcasts Search Ranking Rumors

Across the podcast industry, people  like to say that consumption rate is also a factor in coming up toward the top of search results. To see your podcasts consumption rate, log into your apple podcasts connect account.

We scoured the web and couldn’t find anything concrete to back this up.

However, perhaps this falls into the “popular” or “user behavior” group. You’d think people consuming the majority of your episodes would make your episodes “popular”, and demonstrate high engagement. 

But we can’t find anything about this from Apple.

Ratings and Reviews

Unfortunately ratings and reviews don’t factor into Apple’s search algorithm. But, they do act as social proof. 

It’s like yelp. Would you rather eat at a restaurant with a ton of great ratings and positive comments, or a 2 start dump?

When things are reviewed in a positive light, it’s encouraging to others.

Dominate The Apple Podcasts Search Rankings

Navigating Apple Podcasts’ search rankings can feel like a massive task, but with the right SEO strategies, your podcast can gain the visibility it deserves. 

Remember, the show’s name and episode titles are not just labels but potent tools for boosting discoverability. By integrating relevant keywords naturally, you optimize your podcast’s chances of appearing in searches that matter to your target audience. 

Managing metadata, understanding how Apple’s search algorithm works, and leveraging your existing platforms to enhance popularity are all critical steps toward not just showing up in search results, but dominating them.

The journey to improved search rankings on Apple Podcasts is not just about attracting more listeners—it’s about creating a genuine connection with an audience that seeks what you offer. 

With consistent effort and strategic SEO, your podcast can not only reach but resonate with more listeners, thereby amplifying engagement and opening doors to further monetization opportunities. 

Armed with these insights, step forward with confidence, knowing you’re well-equipped to enhance your podcast’s presence.

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