Last month, Google played a familiar trick and quietly went behind the scenes to add a new rich results mark up – this time to podcasts. The update was swiftly spotted and posted on Google+ with the observation that “a new data type has appeared in the Google reference library of structured data types: podcasts.”
It’s true that thus far, this kind of structured data is only supported in the Google App (version 6.5 or higher) for Android devices and Google Home, but the development is certainly paving the way for podcast support markups on Chrome and Android.
This is great news for podcasts, which despite climbing the ranks quickly as a hugely popular content format for material of every shape and size (comedy, politics, history, science – you name it) have remained video’s neglected younger cousin when it comes to structured data.
And as an increasingly well-trodden platform, podcasts will now provide a structured data pedestal from which to seriously boost crucial elements like click-through rates and SERP presence. Rich snippets also help out at the other end, providing search engines with useful guidance when they crawl your content.
With Google Authorship narrowing your options considerably, rich snippets are one of the few remaining ways to distinguish your results from the competition. Perhaps now that Google is bringing the party to podcasts, we can expect to pay attention to transcripts and other related podcast metadata too.
For your guide to indexing podcasts, and to find the list of tags that the podcast’s RSS feed will require, visit the Google post and get cracking. You’ll need podcast- and episode-level tags to claim your place in rich results, and that’s the area in which developers will have to put in heavy duty effort as they familiarise themselves with the function.
Based on these details, Search Engine Watch predicts the typical podcast listing will be structured similarly to the lay out below.
And the key podcast statistics (in the US alone) make it clear that this a platform worth investing in:
- In 2015 there were 3.3 billion download requests
- On average, the US population spends 2.4 hours and 10 minutes a week listening to podcasts – that’s a lot of airtime
- 55% of Americans over the age of 12 are aware of podcasting as a concept and product
- 60% of podcast listeners frequent social media platforms several times a day (which is higher than the national average)
And the podcast following is growing with corresponding enthusiasm in the UK.
The feature is a very fresh entrant to the rich snippets game, so it’s no surprise that most brands have yet to jump on the band wagon, particularly since Google hasn’t exactly rolled out the red carpet or hired a brass band to advertise the development. But considering the steps forward in voice search technology and rich snippets in mobile and personalisation opportunities, podcasts seem like fair – and welcome – game.
Remember that all kinds of Google Rich Snippets training courses are available if you’re looking to sharpen your digital marketing tools. Or you could give meta data a run for its meta money, and listen to a podcast on how to include rich snippets… in podcasts. There’s bound to be one out there.