How to Use Podcasts to Build Links

Podcasts have gone from relative obscurity less than a decade ago to one of the fastest growing marketing channels available today.

But the power of podcasts isn’t just about reaching the people who listen.

When leveraged correctly, podcasts can also have a powerful impact on organic search.

There are two main reasons for this.

  • Podcasts can entice people to search for a person or business name. This type of branded search can send positive signals to Google that can influence search suggestions, as well as improve overall rankings.
  • Most podcasts are also available outside of aggregators like iTunes and Stitcher – most often, on someone’s website.

This usually leads to two-way links.

The website hosting the podcast will usually link to their guest’s website from the posting of that episode.

The guest, and in some cases their fans, will link to that episode on the podcast’s website.

In other words, having a podcast and being a guest on other podcasts can be an effective way to gain quality links.

Often these links will also generate valuable referral traffic.

Host your own podcast

Hosting a podcast is a great way to get your name out there while retaining your audience.

It’s also a great way to develop meaningful relationships with people in your industry. I speak from first hand experience.

I started my podcast about a year ago and quickly realized that it made communicating with strangers much easier and much more effective.

We’re not going to get into how to start a podcast. That’s way beyond the scope of this article, and frankly, even though I ran my own, I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject.

If you need guidance on this, I encourage you to check out John Lee Dumas’ guide to starting a podcast.

Our focus in this article will be on how to use your own podcast to earn high quality links.

The first step, once you’ve ironed out all the technical details, is to create something that people actually want to listen to. It means sharing useful information, rather than saying how awesome you are.

You can use a monologue format or, as most people seem to do, an interview format.

The choice is yours, but interviewing other people is usually a more effective way to earn links.

It’s also much easier.

My very first podcast episode was a monologue.

That was just me talking about the importance of differentiating your business from its competitors. The topic was useful, but I was alone in my office talking to myself basically – and i felt like a complete jerk.

On the other hand, interviewing someone or having a co-host makes things much easier and more natural. It’s just a conversation, rather than a weirdo alone in a room talking to himself.

Here are some good examples of this format in our industry:

Whichever format you choose, the key is to consistently deliver original and valuable information.

From there, it’s a relatively simple matter to reach out to the people you want to interview. People who have something useful to say that others want to hear.

In many cases, if you interview someone, they will link to their episode as soon as it goes live without any prompting. But you can avoid the uncertainty and just ask them to do it.

A good time to do this is right after you’ve finished interviewing them, while they’re still feeling very emotional.

Obviously, they won’t be able to until it goes live, but you’ll have set the seed, which will make it more likely when the time comes.

You can also ask them to encourage their audience to access it.

Get invited to other podcasts

Being a guest on other podcasts is a great way to create publicity for yourself and your business, but it can also be a great way to earn links. This is because most hosts will link to your website from the episode post.

Most podcasters who follow an interview format are always on the lookout for interesting and knowledgeable guests. This means that if you have special skills, unique knowledge, or an interesting opinion, it should be relatively easy to get invited to relevant podcasts.

This assumes that you can present your story in a way that the host cares about what you have to say.

Popular podcasters usually receive a deluge of emails asking them to interview people. Many of these emails are ignored because they are purely self-serving.

The key here is to present from the perspective of their audience, rather than your own interests.

You need to understand what their audience really cares about, then send a pitch that explains why your story will be of interest to them.

And while you’re at it, avoid fake compliments and share how you came across their podcast. Everyone knows compliments are fake and they don’t care how you found their podcast.

Instead, just keep your tone short and to the point.

And don’t waste your time with constant email follow-ups. If they are interested, they will respond. The only thing you’ll accomplish by harassing them is to make sure they never interview you.

And if you’re particularly aggressive, they might even tell other people, reducing your chances of getting featured on other podcasts.

If you have a large following, perhaps social media, a column in a major publication, or a podcast of your own, it might help to mention it, but don’t go overboard – a brief mention is enough.

When you ramble endlessly on yourself, you turn off the host and kill your chances of being on the podcast.

Which podcasts should you target?

It can be tempting to compile a list of podcasts and sort their websites by one of myriad SEO metrics.

No.

While there may be some merit in targeting high-traffic websites, you’d be much better off sorting them by relevance because hosts will be more likely to interview you.

Beyond that, you might want to sort them by engagement, which you can identify based on reviews and social media activity.

An added benefit is that their audience will be more interested in what you have to say. This means they will be more likely to listen, click, link to your website, and even buy your products or services.

Summary

Time range: This is a fairly simple and straightforward process – compile a list of relevant podcasts and feature them on you (or your client) as a guest. It can take as little as an hour depending on the niche and the number of podcasts you want to launch. Some niches may have only a few

Results detected: You could start earning links in a few weeks, but some podcasts are booked months in advance, so it can take a lot longer. They can start to impact rankings just as quickly, depending on the topics you want to rank for, and the authority and relevance of the websites the links are on, but in most case, you should expect a delay of several months.

Average links sent per month: It will entirely depend on how many podcasts there are in your niche and how many you can fit into your schedule. After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and you can’t spend them all being interviewed on podcasts. Most niches will have at least a dozen podcasts, but some niches, like business or digital marketing, might have hundreds.

Necessary tools:

  • Google or Bing
  • E-mail
  • Thick skin (you will probably be told “no” often.)

Benefits:

  • This can be an effective way to earn the kind of relevant, high-quality links that can dramatically improve rankings. Often, these are links that your competitors may not have considered, giving you an edge over them in search.
  • Podcasts tend to have a highly engaged audience, which means these links are more likely to drive referral traffic.
  • This tactic goes beyond SEO by creating positive publicity. And as more people hear about your brand, brand search will also increase, which can be a positive signal for Google.

Image credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

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