Today, iTunes is without doubt considered one of the top platforms for podcasting. That being said, it would be safe to assume ranking high in the iTunes chart can give your podcast the much-needed attention.
With numerous podcasts being published every week, it can be challenging for a newcomer who is just starting out to make their mark. However, it is reassuring to know that while difficult, it is possible even for a new podcast to make it to the top of the iTunes charts.
If you want to snag a place at the top, it is necessary that you understand how the iTunes algorithm works.
Here are three possible factors that can affect your ranking on iTunes.
In iTunes, more emphasis is placed on words as opposed to phrases. For instance, podcasts with the article "the" on their titles will show up when a search is made including the said word. While it will give your show title the opportunity to be seen by more people, you will also be competing with a lot of other podcasts with the same word in their titles.
The number of downloads your podcast and each of your episodes gets can also significantly affect your ranking. Understandably, when you get more podcast and episode downloads, you'll have a bigger chance of ranking high compared to other podcasts with only few downloads.
Of course, the number of subscribers your podcast has can also have a huge impact on your ranking. Also, one aspect that can affect your ranking in the search results would be your show rating. If you marked your podcast as explicit, it will not appear on searches with parental restrictions. Obviously, this can limit the number of people you are able to reach.
These descriptions can be the title of your episode, author, artwork, and others. However, one key aspect of the metadata that you should give ample thought to is the artwork. Remember that iTunes can be particularly picky when it comes to the episode and show artworks.
If your artwork does not meet their standards, your podcast will not be updated properly. With that in mind, make sure that your artwork not only has the right size and format but its quality should also be at par with the standards they want.
Although all the factors mentioned are believed to have an effect on how the iTunes algorithm works, there’s still a big chunk off other things that have not been figured out.
As expected, iTunes is keeping their algorithms a secret. So no one can tell for sure what they really take into account when they handpick featured and top podcasts.
Even if you make it to the "What’s Hot" or the "New and Noteworthy" sections, it's no guarantee you will get a high number in terms of downloads.
Where you are located in the section can also affect your downloads and subscriptions. Those on the first page will definitely get more views as opposed to those in the succeeding pages but again, will still not guarantee you'll be an instant hit.
However, if you make it to the Top 100 in your genre, it will make a huge difference and can give your downloads and subscriber base a significant boost.
Since no one is really sure what the iTunes algorithms really take into account, it would be wise to bank on the quality of your podcast more than anything else. When you are able to present something that is of high quality, more often than not, the rest will just fall into place.
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