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3 Ways to Make Your Podcast Rank Higher in iTunes

Dan Lyons

Dan Lyons

Today’s guest post is from Dan Lyons over at

My name is Dan Lyons and I’m a Radio DJ (wow am I at AA?). I’ve been a Radio DJ now for over 15 years. As well as being a Radio DJ I also have a blog and teach people how to podcast. In this post today I thought I’d write about how to make your podcast episode stand out in ITunes.

My Podcast Like A Radio DJ podcast is relatively new to the iTunes store but over the years I’ve released several podcasts through the Radio stations I’ve worked on. Some of these podcasts ranked really well in iTunes and others not so well. So what can you do to help a podcast rank higher up that page when someone does a search?

Recently I asked some world famous podcasters what they do to optimize their feed to give their podcast the best chance at a better rank in iTunes, and here’s what they said:

Be Smart With Keywords

Almost all the podcasters I spoke to kept talking about adding plenty of keywords to their feed. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a keyword is a word or phrase that someone might punch into Google to search for the same topic you’re podcasting on.

So optimizing your feed for keywords means going through your Feedburner feed and setting it up so you’ve got keywords in each field, in the subtitle, summary and keyword sections. You can also add some extra keywords in the author section.

So instead of just putting your name.

  • Eg. Dan Lyons

Add some relevant keywords

  • Eg. Dan Lyons – podcaster | blogger | new media

Every keyword helps. But don’t go too far the other way and end up re-writing your podcast summary (what your show is about) with just keywords. Remember your show summary is a pitch to get someone to listen, and you don’t want to dilute the strength of that pitch by jamming in as many keywords as possible.

I’ve found a great bit of software that can help you see what keywords people are using to search for topics within your niche. It’s called Market Samurai. Otherwise you can always use the free and very easy to operate Google Keyword Tool.

Ask For Listener Reviews And Comments

Rumor has it that iTunes relies heavily on listener reviews to determine the rank of a podcast. If listeners are leaving comments in ITunes about how much they enjoy your podcast then it makes sense that ITunes will give you a better position and expose you to more people.

iTunes reviews

Always ask for listeners to leave you a review and comment on iTunes during each episode (although make sure that you’re podcast is good cause you don’t want bad reviews! Yikes!).

What I’ve started doing in my podcast is soliciting for reviews at the end of my show and also on my blog when I post the episode there.

If you’re the type of person who finds it’s a bit hard to ask for something then this might be a challenge. But look at it this way – if you’re giving away free, valuable content in your show, then a listener should be more than happy to write a few nice words about you.

Make Sure Listeners Subscribe To Your Podcast

There’s a big difference between someone listening to your podcast and someone subscribing to it, and understanding what sets them apart is the difference between having an excellent ranking and a mediocre one.

The difference is this:

Listening to a podcast means a listener clicks play, then when they’re done, turn off their computer with no commitment of whether they’ll listen again (it can be a one off experience).

Subscribing means a listener clicks on a button that says “I like this podcast so much I want ITunes to automatically download a new episode when it’s released.” This is telling the content maker (you) and ITunes that you’ve got a fan and a regular listener. It’s the ‘regular listener’ bit that ITunes loves, because it means this person will keep coming back to ITunes to listen to your show. And on the way ITunes are hoping that this person might even see an album, TV show or movie that they’d like to buy in the ITunes store. You get the idea (oh I am so cynical).

To make things even more interesting what you probably don’t realize is that most listeners don’t know that they can subscribe to your podcast. After all they don’t have to subscribe when they:

  • Play your podcast off your blog (usually off a flash player)
  • Download the mp3 from a link in your blog post
  • Play it directly from iTunes

It can be really easy for the subscription thing to fall ‘off your radar.’ The bottom line is subscriptions are what iTunes really pay attention to. So in every episode of your podcast you should encourage your listeners to subscribe (they do this by pressing the subscribe button on your iTunes page).

iTunes subscribe button

But don’t just ask your audience to subscribe to your podcast, make it a no brainer for them. There’s so many benefits with subscribing, like how every episode is automatically downloaded so no episode is ever missed, the convenience of going through previous episodes, etc.

So I really hope these tips help increase the ranking of your podcast in ITunes. I’ve just applied some of these principles to my feed and will let you know as soon as I start seeing some promising results!

Don’t forget to check out Dan’s blog at

About Dan Lyons

Dan Lyons has been a Radio DJ for over 15 years. He loves teaching people about podcasting from his blog, and his podcast, Podcast Like a Radio DJ.

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