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Brands That Podcast: “How Huckabuy Podcasts” — Show Notes

Podcast Description

Podcast Title: Brands That Podcast

Hosts: Erik Jacobson

Guest: Geoff Atkinson

Summary

Geoff and Erik talk about how Huckabuy has leveraged podcasting to gain backlinks, build domain authority, and gain customers. Geoff also gives SEO tips, and talks about the future of voice search and how to use structured data to have audio content indexed. 

Listen to the full episode here.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • How you can utilize podcasting as an SEO strategy
  • Podcasting can help build brand awareness 
  • Podcasting can increase inbound leads and revenue
  • How you can use podcasting for influencer marketing and networking

Time Stamped Highlights

[0:05] Introducing Geoff Atkinson and Huckabuy

Erik: All right, Geoff, welcome. So, before we dive into the podcasting strategies you’re currently using at Huckabuy, give us little background here is that you were the former SVP of Marketing at Overstock.com, and you’re now the founder of Huckabuy, which is a SEO SaaS startup. And it sounds like — which we’re going to dive into today — you’ve leveraged an interesting podcast tour strategy over the course of like about a year and a half since mid 2019 to grow the business, and you’ve done about more than 50 podcasts interviews to date. And not only that, but given the space that you’re in, which is SEO and what Huckabuy does. What’s interesting is Google has started over the last year or two, started to hint at and then become a little bit more explicit that they’re starting to index podcast episodes, and the content in those episodes in search results in various ways and so those two things, along with anything else that we might, you know, dive into today is what I’m excited to to chat with you about. Yeah. 

Geoff: Likewise, Eric it’s great to be here. Yeah, interesting time in the podcast world I have gone from knowing really nothing about podcasts to having been on over 50 of them and are very successful podcast tour and, yeah, Google’s finally getting wins that podcasts are important, and leveraging them now as content and in their search results so that’s an exciting opportunity I think for everybody. 

Erik: Cool. Yeah, so maybe kind of right before we dive in, if you could give just a super short overview of what Huckabuy, is and why you started it. What led you to start the company?

Geoff: Huckabuy is performance-based SEO Software. Our main goal is to actually not just report on your results, as most SEO SaaS companies do, but to actually move the needle. My background comes from Overstock. We had a really successful SEO channel, from zero to, like, 300 million in revenue. And I learned that just what it takes to grow, and the industry is a kind of a crazy industry so it’s a services-driven industry, about $85 billion was spent with that average net promoter score of zero. So it’s a really rough industry with a lot of snake oil salesmen, it’s really shocking. And so we’re coming at this from a totally different angle than the services angle. Services mean agencies and consultants who can’t fundamentally fix the problems that need to be addressed for real SEO growth, they’re just misaligned with companies trying to grow. So obviously with a net promoter score of zero, it’s an industry ripe for disruption. And that’s what we aim to do so we’re taking the technical angle where Google’s very open and honest about what they want out of websites, and there’s a couple of big sort of macro trends like mobile and mobile-friendliness, page speed, structured data — which is something that we automate — and another trend called dynamic rendering. And so we’ve built products that basically give Google exactly what they want out of a website and, lo and behold, when you do that, companies grow. People spend a lot of time on the UI/UX for a human, Huckabuy optimizes the UI/UX when Google comes in visits and gives them sort of the perfect version of any given site. So, yeah, that’s what we do and we make sites faster, more mobile-friendly, we make the PageSpeed better, we automate structured data and we create this dynamically rendered Huckabuy Cloud product which basically makes a copy of the site, just for Google.

Erik: That’s awesome and for some context there. Could you give us an idea of how big the company is in terms of just team size or customers or revenue? And then we can dive into maybe some of the marketing tactics you’ve used. 

Geoff: Yes, we’re about three years old with about 20 employees right now, we’ve gone over a million dollars in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Yeah, does that give you a sense?

[4:38] How Huckabuy Utilizes Different Marketing Channels

Eric: Yeah, perfect and so obviously being in the SEO space, I’m assuming you use your own strategies that you help companies with with SEO, and then we’re gonna talk about some of the podcast marketing you’ve done. But, before we dive into that, I think it’s good to get a little overview of what marketing levers you have pulled, so that we can sort of compare and contrast those with the podcast tour. Obviously I’m sure you’ve used some of the SEO tactics that you all teach and help facilitate with, is there anything else on top of that you’ve done?  

Geoff: So yeah, we’ve done SEO — we’re heavy on SEO, which is an awesome channel. We do display advertising as a means for awareness. It’s really more of a branding channel than a direct response channel. We do some paid search and some LinkedIn — organic LinkedIn is quite successful. We’ve kind of tried out a little bit of everything but we’re pretty disciplined so we really focus on brand awareness, good SEO, good email marketing and podcasting have become our focus. So those are the channels that we are focused on.

[5:48] Podcasting is One of Huckabuy’s Most Successful Marketing Channels

Erik: Yeah, so let’s talk about that then. Since mid 2019, so actually it’s been about a year or so since you started this, it sounds like you’ve done 50 interviews, which is a lot — about one per week. What made you want to test this channel? And what sort of data points do you look at when determining the success of it in order to continue doing it at the rate and velocity that you are sort of doubling down on it?

Geoff: I really didn’t think this was gonna be a big channel for us, it was more just something to do to get backlinks. It’s a fantastic backlink strategy which is a really important part of SEO. So at the beginning I would just go on podcasts, literally to just get a link back to our site from a good domain, was one of our backlink strategies, and Finn, our marketing manager, he saw the bigger picture, I did not. He was like, “This is a channel. This is gonna become a channel for us.” And it’s sort of like you, you work your way up the ladder. You start guest speaking on really small podcasts and if you do well, you can share the episodes with other podcasters, and then you kind of build a little bit of a reputation and become a sort of popular guest, and you start getting on bigger and bigger and bigger podcasts. Once you get on some of these like really large ones that are authoritative, you get a lot of inbound leads and you get a lot of revenue. As a result, people get to know you. They’ve spent like a half an hour to an hour with you, and they trust the host. And so you’re just along for the ride, but you’re speaking authoritatively on something. 

It’s such a unique channel. How often do you get, just in regular business life, to spend, you know, an hour a week with a really intelligent somewhat stranger that probably becomes a friend by the end of it, talking about really interesting topics, and having people listen to it? You develop a ton of content, you develop a ton of relationships, you get a bunch of inbound leads. It’s just been like a really amazing ride that I was not expecting at all. It has been one of our most successful, if not our most successful, marketing efforts over the last year. I’m a marketer right? I was the SVP of Marketing at Overstock — one of the biggest brands in the United States. Never did I think that podcasting would be such a successful channel for Huckabuy, but here we are. I’m honored to be on this podcast because you guys totally get it, listening to past episodes I mean I should have listened to you, years ago. But I’m a fan now, man. I’m a total believer and, yeah, I’m happy to get into, you know specific stories on how it’s worked and how it’s become so successful for us.

[8:39] The Benefits of Using Podcasts for Marketing

Erik: Yeah, there’s a bunch we can unpack here which is sort of the tactics of how you’ve done it, you know just the X’s and O’s of getting on 50 podcasts coming out the time to do it. But I’m also curious about — how soon into this process did that light bulb moment happen? Was there a particular interview that went live or your first few leads that came in that closed, or what was one of those first things that that light bulb went off for you that this is actually going to be a little bit more interesting than than just the backlink strategy — which I also want to learn from you on as your SEO expertise with that backlinks as well because there’s obviously multiple sort of ROI points here with this, is you get inbound leads but you’re also getting backlinks which is helping with SEO, but for you was there, you know, early into the process was it like three months, six months, nine months like what did that look like and what was that initial sort of wave that led you to believe in this as a channel? 

Geoff: So, it was sort of gradual, the very first episode I ever did. I remember it going live, listening to it, and it was great. It was just, we got so much content. There was, you know, we hadn’t done a lot of content marketing, especially from my voice, I’m not sitting down and writing a lot, you know, Finn writes a lot for us which is awesome, but there wasn’t a ton of content coming from my voice, and I think he wanted to sort of pull that out of me. And so, you can kind of set up what some of the questions are, get some great content so we ended up the very first one I was almost like, “Wow, this is great,” because we had generated all this great content. We had a bit more of a voice to the company now we got the backlink, it was a small podcast I don’t think we got any inbound leads, but it was a win right out of the gate and I enjoyed doing it too. It was just a fun experience and it felt valuable. So we continue to do it, and Finn really played such a big role here because he was the one reaching out and booking them and setting up the questions and sort of working up the podcast ladder, if you will, where we create clips and a short little highlight reel and send it to people and they liked what they heard and so they hooked me on that podcast. And so we just kind of worked up the ladder and, I think probably about a month or two in, we did one podcast where we got like a bunch of really good qualified leads, like, really good. And we both were sort of blown away and that we were just all-in at that point I was like, “Let’s do it.” That was when we started to see our domain authority jump. 

A few benefits Huckabuy saw from podcasting:  

  1. Just the pure content of it. We could use that content on our site, for SEO, and put it in audio clips on the site and all sorts of stuff there. 
  2. We started getting revenue, as a result. 
  3. Our own SEO started to benefit as a result of the backlinks from the podcasts and that actually happened relatively quickly. 

We were like, “We’re onto something here. We’ve got to keep doing this.” 

Erik: That’s awesome. And for you guys is your model of self serve model or do you have to get on sales calls with your prospects?

Geoff: We do sales calls.

[12:12] How Huckabuy Measures Podcast Efforts

Erik: Okay, so you’re able. Is that how you sort of quantify this as you ask, you know every potential customer on those calls where they heard about you?

Geoff: Yeah, now we do something where we actually offer a discount to any podcast listener. So, if they just named the podcast on like a Contact Us form, they automatically get a discount as they go through the process of buying Huckabuy. So yeah, we can always attribute it back to a specific podcast. But yes, we measure like the success, well part of the success, there’s other factors too, but part of the success in terms of inbound leads that turn into customers and generate revenue.

Erik: Is there any way to quantify that over the last year or so like off the top of your head? Is there any metric that you’d be able to tie back to it that way?

Geoff: Yeah, I actually don’t have the number off the top of my head, but we’ve had months, throughout this year to year and a half, where 50% of the revenue that month, or even more, has come from podcasts. I’d say it averages maybe around 20%-30% of our new revenue is driven through podcasts, so that’s pretty significant. And we have a lot of other marketing engines doing well but yet it’s a significant portion of Huckabuy’s revenue.

[13:46] How The Podcast Channel Helps Other Marketing Channels and Builds Business Partnerships

Erik: Right, which on top of it, you know, helping the domain authority, helps I’m sure, some of those other marketing channels you’re using, too.

Geoff: Yeah. Another thing that we’ve done is we have sometimes — we don’t do this all the time — but if we’re talking to like an influencer or someone that we really like and we want to stay in touch and be partners with, perhaps we’ll give podcasts hosts Huckabuy for free, and sometimes even we’ll do it before I go on the podcast. So, we’ll give it to them for like three months. They’ll get, like, basically a free trial, and they get it kind of forever. And then I’ll pop on and we’ll look at the results and we’ll talk about how it went and, you know, what their sites experiencing what their SEO channels experiencing what their revenues doing. So, that’s kind of an interesting twist as well where we’ve probably given it away to, you know, a half dozen influence/podcasts hosts who could benefit from it, and we could benefit as a result of them having it. So that’s an interesting little twist as well.

Erik: That’s super interesting. How does that play out? It’s not necessarily an assumption that they’re going to then go talk about the product outside of your interview in the way of an ad spot or anything like that, but how does that actually play out to benefit you? Is it just basically allowing them to have more context and knowledge of the product for your guys’s interview or is it some other way that that is carrying forward after your interview?

Geoff: I mean we could use Lemonpie as an example. I don’t know how much SEO you guys do, but you probably do some or we’d like to be doing more and would like to be getting more inbound leads through SEO. And so we would essentially just give you the software, and let you you know run with it — it doesn’t really cost us anything — and we would specifically work with you on podcast SEO. So, we’d ask, “How do we make podcasting SEO successful?” That would be a collaboration that we could do. And then if you liked what happened, you probably would start recommending us to your customers. You’d say, “Hey, not only do we bring to the table…” (I’m sure I’m gonna sell you guys short) “…fantastic podcasting, and all these things, but you’re also going to get an increase in organic search traffic as a result of your podcasts efforts.” You’d say like, “Let’s make those podcast efforts go further than what they normally would.” Then we have a potential partnership. That’s how it usually works. 

Sometimes, we use it as, like, a carrot to get me on the podcast. Almost every company needs organic search traffic, and needs Huckabuy, in some way shape or form. And so just give it to them and be like, “Hey, give this a try. You know I know you’re not ready to have Geoff on the podcast yet.” Then, it’s a great product so they see success and they’re doing well and they feel sort of indebted, you know, so they’re like, “Absolutely. We’ll have fun.” So it works in a few different ways but these very organic relationships form as a result of podcasting, like, just speaking with you today, Erik, is such a pleasure and, you know, I bet we’ll figure out a way to help each other at some point in the future. And so, if giving someone the product helps that relationship and helps the potential partnership, you know, there’s really no downside for either side. So, I’ve also had companies — I’ve gone on a podcast by a company — that end up buying our software like just straight up buying it. That’s always fantastic, too. So, yeah, that’s been kind of a fun, a fun twist to it, is that we can actually build partnerships. We’re software company, so we can do people favors with our technology.

[17:50] Long Term Marketing Benefits of Podcast Guest Appearances

Erik: That’s super interesting. I really like that approach. Are there any other surprising ways that you’re either landing these podcasts — I’d like to learn a little bit more specifically about how you and Finn are landing the shows — but any surprising ways you’re landing shows or having a ROI on the back end of it, that maybe aren’t necessarily that obvious at face value when you first got into it?

Geoff: You know, we’re almost straight ahead Finn join us because he would know more about interesting ways that we’ve landed podcasts, but, you know, doing people favors definitely has helped. Past episodes that are successful or kind of went crazy always are good stories. We’ve had a few that have really gotten a lot of attention, which helps a lot. On the back end, there’s so many things. The network, just the pure network that I personally, and Finn, have built through interacting with podcasters and being on podcasts has so many successful variables that you wouldn’t think about. It’s almost impossible to even track it all. So, if you’re on one, you know, six months later, you could get an inbound lead. That was just referred to by a podcast host. SEO came up and the person that had me on their podcast said, “Oh my gosh I talked to Geoff Atkinson for an hour, I had him on my podcast, his technology is like revolutionary it’s totally different from SEO. You know, I know you’re struggling with your agency,” or whatever, and we’ll just get an inbound lead that we can’t source it back. We won’t hear from the potential customer that they heard about us through this person, you know, over drinks one night. So, when I say that inbound leads is, like, 20%-30% from podcasts, that’s probably under what it actually is, because who knows how many people have just come to our site, filled out a Contact Us Form, or reached out on LinkedIn or whatever, and landed in our pipeline.

There’s a bunch of really healthy SEO things that happen. One thing that I’m always shocked about is that podcasts, it’s not like live radio, so you can have an inbound lead come from a podcast that first was aired nine months ago, but all of a sudden it’s getting more and more popular and so people binge listening as they first touched this podcast and they just keep listening and listening. And so we get leads from podcasts that I’ve done like a year ago, which is just wild, to me, I didn’t expect that happening. So, yeah, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. I just think there’s a lot of — it’s a really rare channel like if you compared it to like paid search or any sort of paid channel, when you turn it off, you turn it off. This is, it’s almost like SEO, it gets an organic thing that lives on forever. And so time Huckabuy spends investing on me going on podcasts is just going to keep benefiting us and benefiting us so even if I stopped going on podcasts, tomorrow, and then go on for three months — which is actually kind of the plan because I’m just about to have a baby —  then we still are going to get like a bunch of inbound leads because I’ve built up all these podcasts that I’ve done. 

What I’ve found is that people listen to them no matter when it is. That’s an interesting thing that I wasn’t expecting — the benefit over time. I always thought, “Well it got released today. It’s getting shared around LinkedIn, and that’ll be it.” But, no, if someone’s just discovered a podcast and they really like it, they’ll listen to all the podcasts, going back for like a year. And so, yeah, we get this long term benefit that I was not expecting.

Erik: Yeah, to your point on, having some potential customers come through that maybe came through the podcast host network that you’ve built up. I can definitely understand how that could be tough to track. I mean, like, maybe they’re in Facebook groups, and someone needed an SEO platform and your name came up and, but they’re not really gonna necessarily mention that it sort of how it got in front of them and how they ended up talking with you. But that was actually a byproduct of doing that podcast.

[22:21] How to Leverage Podcasts As a Backlink Strategy

Erik: What about the backlink strategy so maybe we could talk a little bit about anything you’re doing. Are you doing anything to ensure that you’re getting backlinks for every episode like do most podcasters all put backlinks on their website? And if they are you proactively mentioning anything to them, or giving them anything — it sounds like you have some codes that you use for different hosts — and then maybe we could talk a little bit about what Google is doing now with indexing these podcasts and podcast episodes and what you’re seeing on that front as well?

Geoff: Yeah. So in the backlink strategy, almost every show has show notes, and every podcast I’ve been on is totally willing to link to us. I don’t think we’ve had a single one that hasn’t. We do ask for it, too. We’re specific. I’m just open and honest about it with the hosts. It’s part of why I’m going on. Most hosts will do whatever you want. So yeah, you can actually put specific links with specific anchor text. We don’t really do a promo code or anything like that. It’s more like sometimes they put it in there, that they get a 20% discount or something. But as a guest, it’s more about just asking for what you want. There’s no other way to really do it so we’re just upfront and honest and say, “Hey, do you mind linking to us here, here, and here,” and usually the answer is yes.

Erik: Do you do that after the recording, after you have that conversation, or do you do it kind of leading up to it. 

Geoff: After. Finn does it. We always look at like, what’s getting posted right away, and most likely we’ve already asked so it’s like a follow up, or like a “Yeah if you don’t mind linking to us here, here, and here.” And then, if it isn’t, then we’ll yeah ping them again and say “Hey, Awesome episode. By the way, would you mind like inserting a link to Huckabuy here,” and 99% of the time, the answer is yes. So that’s been, you know, awesome. And so we’re actually thinking about starting a podcast — it’s probably not going to happen till later this summer — but we would do the same thing, you know, why not? It’s sharing the love. If someone puts time and energy into spending time to chat with me, I’d love to do them a favor. 

Erik: How does that compare to other backlink building strategies? I mean I’m no expert here, like, this is your world, but comparatively getting 50 backlinks over the course of a year, using a podcast guest approach, versus the other approaches there are, how would you rank those and compare them?

Geoff: For us, it has been the best backlink strategy by a long-shot. Nothing even comes close to it. Backlink SEO is a really strange game, you know there’s different ways to do it. You can try to generate a piece of content that ends up going viral or you can do a podcast and host it on your own site and people will link to it. There’s some scalable ways, like you can build embeddable players and things like that, that just automatically every time someone embeds something links back to you. So there are lots of strategies, and, you know, I did a lot of strategies at Overstock and I’ve seen a lot of our customer’s different strategies and fortunately, I’m not really in that world anymore, which is great, we’re just technical software we’re just doing it ourselves. But from our experience we started when I started podcasting, we probably had a domain authority under 10, actually I know we did. So the domain authority, just so your listeners know, is a scale of zero to 100. It’s basically how important Google views your site to be and it’s completely based on backlinks. Backlinks are like votes but not every vote is created equal. So, you know, if the homepage of New York Times links to us, it’s a lot more powerful than just a random blog that links to us. So for us, with podcasts, we’re now, I think like in the 40-45 or something like that — it was probably 43 the last time I checked. And 95% of that growth and domain authority is happening through podcasts. So for us it is by far the most efficient and successful backlink strategy we have done, and I was not planning on that, like I didn’t see that coming in. Sometimes I’ll do like five podcasts in a week and just boom, like, all of a sudden we get five great links so it’s been very effective. I highly recommend it.

[26:50] How Domain Authority Correlates to Organic Search Traffic, Inbound Leads, and Revenue

Erik: And what does that equate to then so going from a domain authority under 10 to a domain authority in the 40s or 50s. What does that then correlate with with your lead I guess volume.

Geoff: Yeah, when we were below 10 it basically meant we had zero rankings, no SEO traffic, and nothing happening because Google just could care less about Huckabuy. Now we’re getting, I think, like 30,000 visitors a month to our website, and a good chunk of those are coming from SEO. So yeah, it’s all the difference in the world. If we hadn’t done guest podcast appearances, there’s just no way we would be getting these rankings and this inbound traffic. So, yeah, night and day. It’s just like we were nothing, and now we’re significant.

[27:42] How Google Indexes Podcasts and Audio is About to Change

Erik: That’s awesome and then yeah, so how does Google from your vantage point, Geoff, how is Google currently indexing and placing an emphasis on podcasts in search results and like where do you see that going, how do you see that being important to to companies who are using podcasts as a growth and marketing channel? 

Geoff: Yeah So Google actually announced last year, in 2019, at their io conference — which is their big technical conference where they come out and say what they’re up to — that the audio vertical will be searchable and they’ve committed to making audio files part of their index. They actually say they’re gonna make audio, “a first class citizen,” in terms of content. So, just the way that when you search for stuff and you see videos, you’re being shown YouTube videos, I would expect the same thing will be happening with podcasts. I personally haven’t seen it happening a lot, but they’re committed to it and they’re going to make the content just as relevant. And just as sort of indexable as any other form of content.

There’s lots of different forms of indexable content. There’s just pure text, there’s stuff like recipes, there’s sports scores, there’s all sorts of stuff — and by the way structured data is the way to communicate this stuff and it will be very important when it comes to audio as well. Think of it as like when you search for stuff and you’re asking “how to” and whether it’s you’re using an audio query, you’re actually asking a device, whether it’s your phone or Google Home or something, it is going to be, that’s really why they’re doing it. There’s always reasons why they’re doing stuff but much of voice search is becoming a really big thing. It’s going to be enormous. And they need to have content to play back to users. And that most likely will be audio content but they’re now indexing. I don’t see a ton of it today, but when they make a commitment like that, they will follow through. And so getting ahead of the curve when it comes to making sure your audio stuff is queued up for them to be able to crawl and index and also thinking about how they are going to use it so shorter clips are probably going to become important. Who knows, it’s gonna be really interesting, but having structured data to communicate what’s actually happening on any audio file will be important. 

Yeah, they’re committed to it. I think there’s a certain amount of real estate when it comes to a search, and we think of it as just those blue links that come back when we search for something, and now they’re not just 10 blue links they’re, what are called, rich enhancements. The search results are enhanced. When you search for that sports score and Google just gives it to you, or the weather or a recipe that just shows up, or a product review that comes right through. All those enhancements are powered by structured data. And now, just like any other type of content, audio is going to be part of those enhancements in search results and those enhancements are a part of voice search. When it comes to voice search, all that Google’s doing is just reading back to you the answer. So, if you search like “how to make a margarita,” and a rich result shows up with step by step instructions at the top of page, and then you go to your Google Home device and say, “Google, show me how to make a margarita,” and step by step, it just reads it back to you, that’s being powered by the structured data. I think the same thing is gonna happen with audio, because they’re now just going to be, just like a recipe is or a YouTube video, it’s going to be part of the mix now. When I say it’s going to be part of the real estate now, it’s gonna be part of the real estate on the page. But it’s something — a real estate — that you can’t actually see because it’s just voice activated. Voice search, you can’t actually see it. It’s just talking back to you. So, it’s going to be a big part of that, I believe, and that’s sort of the future of search. It’s changing really fast and they’re committed to making audio, as they say, not a second class citizen. That’ll be exciting and it’ll be huge for your world and for mine as well, to be honest.

Erik: Yeah, and especially as like, people get more use to the use case of audio search voice search, you know the way that they ask questions might change, and that might that might actually bring back specific podcast episodes or clips, to your point, you know, “Hey, how do you start a business?” or, “I’m a B2B company. I need to improve my sales,” you know, like those results may actually be pulling from podcast episodes in the future.

[32:36] How Can Companies Plan and Format Audio Content For Google to Index?

Erik: Is there anything you think companies who are using podcasting now should be doing on offense right now? Or is it enough to be aware that this is going to be important and to try to potentially have your podcast content time stamped out, and the archives be easily navigable now via written so that when it is time to maybe put these in the format that Google needs it, your data is already sorted structured in a way that’s pretty easy to do that? Is that fair is there anything else to be thinking about there you think right now?

Geoff: We’re doing something interesting here where we’re giving them a shortcut by just transcribing every podcast I’ve been on and making it available on our site, so I don’t know how good they are at crawling the audio files, like it’s a pretty challenging task. And so we’re just like giving them a shortcut, because it’s processing time on their end to do that, and so with us, we always think about how do you just queue up for them, and give them what they want. So we basically, with structured data, say “Yeah this is a podcast, here’s the topic, here’s the host, here’s the guest, here’s what happened, here’s how long it is,” like all that information you can put into structured data so they can just come to the page and be like “Okay there’s the podcast episode.” And then we’re actually just just transcribing it and just giving it to them as a shortcut. So that’s something that we’re doing.

Erik: And you guys put that on, on your site? 

Geoff: Yep. Then we like to link to the host on their site. But yeah structuring it in a way that’s easy for them to understand is really important so that’s one suggestion, and just having good structured data is probably the biggest step, just to help them. There’s podcast structured data and it’s pretty straightforward and obviously Huckabuy does it but there’s other companies that can help you do it. And if you can get that information to them, you know, when they start using it, you’ll be positioned to capture that search traffic and those answers and such. 

Then also it’s similar to keyword research. What are people actually searching for, what would they actually ask a device about that’s relevant to your business? Maybe nothing, but you can probably start to get there. For us it’s stuff like, “What is structured data?” “What is dynamic rendering?” We want to be able to answer those questions. So, yeah, think a little bit about what your customer is searching for with voice search. It’s kind of weird to ask because most adults don’t really do all that well, but kids boy, they ask everything via voice search now and so it’s gonna be a lot like when mobile took over. Right now the user experience just isn’t quite there yet, but it will be very soon. And, you know, I don’t know if it’s gonna be like the 90/10 flip but it’s happening. 

One crazy stat is that 50% of searches now are zero click, meaning there’s either a question and answer, or you typed in like “Park City weather” or, you know, there’s just no reason for a click. So, with audio obviously, there’s no place to click. The search world is changing, obviously very fast and we just like to be out ahead of it. You know, shameless plug like this is what Huckabuy works on, we’re all about like how do we align our customers for where Google’s going.

I think podcast optimization and audio file optimization is really important, and so to summarize the tips I just gave:

  1. Have good structured data 
  2. Maybe transcribe the audio 
  3. It’s coming, so be prepared to adjust. 

When Google does start to leverage it, we’ll all be figuring out the best way to optimize it.

Erik: Yeah, and it might feel sort of like a slow change or shift, and then all of a sudden, a quick one to your point, like, it may, it may just kind of flip and be a primary use-case for a lot of people once that switch happens. So, yeah, being prepared for sure.

[36:37] Get on Podcasts, You Won’t Regret it.

Erik: Cool. Well, Geoff, this has been awesome, man. I really appreciate all the insights you dropped today. I guess the last question before we head out is, do you think that this is a strategy that all brands, all companies — no matter what industry, what vertical, what personas they have — it is a valuable strategy for any brand and if so, like, what would be one piece of advice you’d have for them to get started on it? It doesn’t necessarily have to be just with the podcast tour did, it sounds like you’re gonna start your own show, maybe you guys have tested advertising a little bit, just podcasting as a channel in general, do you think that this is something that all brands should look at or just some and then if so, how should they get started?

Geoff: I think you just gotta get started, get on a podcast, see how you do. You’ve got you know personalities in your company, think about who would make a great guest, and probably the biggest thing is like, have fun with it like it is supposed to be a fun channel and be interesting. You know, it’s like, it’s still kind of entertainment like, I think of it that way, as it’s still sort of entertainment. Yes, people are learning stuff and, but you’re not gonna get a lot of people listening or tuning into you, if you don’t make it fun and have a good time with it it’s like any piece of work like if you’re not enjoying it, it’s just not going to go well. It’s something that I’ve come to really enjoy. I look forward to podcasts. I think they’re some of the highlights of my week, so make sure that’s fun and enjoy it, it shouldn’t be like a burdensome task. It should be something that you enjoy and can shed light on what your company does and it’s a whole community, too, which is fun. Once you’re kind of doing it and getting to meet people, you make friends and people that you want to do favors for and I think that’s such a great part of life especially now when we’re all just isolated. It’s great to be able to make connections and help people out and. So yeah, I’m a huge fan. I can’t encourage your listeners enough to get activated and do it.

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