Websites that primarily contain audio offers such as audio books or podcasts face particular challenges when it comes to search engine optimization. Now Google’s search engine guru John Mueller has given important tips.
For search engines, the on-page text of a website is still an important means of being able to grasp the content and to understand which user needs expressed in a search query can satisfy exactly this page. But what if the page content is mostly in audio format? How does Google find me then?
This question also haunted a user on Reddit who asked , “Our website is a PWA and it offers audiobooks, podcasts and audio shows. How can you tell Google to treat us by these standards? Because it could punish us if we have no content on the page. “
The questioner added that the site provides meta description, title and 30 to 50 words of description for the audio content. That this is a progressive web app (PWA), i.e. a website that feels almost like a native app, could have increased his uncertainty about SEO.
Google: Audio offers also need texts
Besides the answers from SEO connoisseurs, there were also tips from John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google and something like the highest authority when it comes to how the Googlebot works. Mueller confirmed that a website needs written content for Google to understand and rank. He wrote:
“You always need textual content on the page, regardless of what other types of content you offer.
If you’re a video hosting site, you still need things like title, headline, text, links, etc. The same goes for audio hosting sites. Make it easy for the search engines to understand your content and its relevance for the users – then they can send you relevant traffic. “
So doing without text altogether is a very unfavorable SEO strategy for podcasts and audio books. There should be enough written references to the content so that search queries can match the offer. As is so often the case, Google equates the Googlebot with the users in its answer: If the user understands it well, the Googlebot will understand it too. Technical details on how this understanding arises are not given. Mueller added again:
“If you make it difficult for search engines to find out what your pages are about, it’s perfectly normal for them to have a hard time figuring out how your website is relevant to users.”
SEO for podcasts and audio books
Other members of the Reddit community provided additional tips for sites with audio content. Together they make a short SEO guide for podcasts:
Transcribe the content
Write down what you say so that the search engine can pick it up. It doesn’t have to be a complete speech-to-text transcription. Frequently used words and phrases can be unsuitable, especially for recorded conversations. The actual keywords, the topic of the conversation, can easily get lost and thus cause a bad ranking. It is better to summarize or to transcribe selected passages with the appropriate keywords.
Structured data for podcasts
A good hint is the use of structured data. Wherever these markups can be added, they should be used. You should make sure that the information that flows into the structured data can also be found on the website. Schema.org shows the possibilities of structured data, for example for podcasts . Google also needs an RSS feed to display the audio content for Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, and other services. The Google guidelines provide detailed information .
Structured data for audio books
Google treats audiobooks a little differently than podcasts – they are classified as books that in turn have their own forms of structured data . Google limits the complete feature for the optimal display of books to large publishers and retailers of books who can present a large selection of book media. If you do not belong to this group, however, you can hope to appear with the audio book under the Rich Results. The more meticulously you can fill out the structured data for audio books, the better. Schema.org provides examples of how each property should be used.