The Importance Of Reviews
As you may know, Verbu is currently running a '6 C's Of Podcasting Challenge' on Facebook... one of those C's is 'commercial'. Of course, commercial means getting revenue - either from the podcast itself or through increased awareness and long term listener loyalty and investment to your 'real world' product.
But it can also mean you getting your name out there, beyond your existing client base and/or listeners. That can be done at some cost to you (I'll perhaps put together a case-study of effective Instagram promotion or the like in coming weeks) but also through 'organic' social media reach and search engine optimisation.
Which is why reviews of your podcast, especially on Apple Podcasts, are so important. For a start, there's Apple's own algorithm for ranking podcasts - taking in subscribers, download numbers, star ratings, reviews and so on. Algorithms are always difficult to crack but in a world where it seems a slog to get just five written reviews, if you do achieve those five, you'll already be doing better than the majority of your contemporaries. Just one review is many, many, many times better than none at all. And of course, in addition to SEO, anyone browsing your podcast will be encouraged by a bunch of positive reviews from like-minded listeners.
So that's got you boosted on the likes of Apple Podcasts. Great stuff. What else?
Which search engines are scoping through the written elements of your podcast? (and I'm not talking about transcriptions, which is another topic for another day). We've discussed in previous blogs the importance of good descriptions for both the series and the individual episodes, with suitable keywords in the text (but not so many that it is seen as "keyword stuffing"). But reviews will surely add to that search engine optimisation - especially if the reviewer picks up on some of your keywords and uses them in their words. If you say"relax" enough in your audio, there's a good chance that they will write "it helps me relax" - and, bang, you're standing a better chance in the internet rankings.
I'm not going to claim to know the ins and outs of every algorithm going - without proprietary knowledge, it's almost impossible. But it's a logical approach and just another potential step towards improved presence on the web.
Just one caveat. Those reviews need to be genuine and genuinely 'different'. If there's one thing that a web crawler hates, it's seeing the same text popping up numerous times with exactly the same wording. So whether you've got a whole bunch of reviews just saying "good job" or a lengthy, manufactured spiel that you're persuading friends and family to post verbatim as a review, it's likely to work against you.
Many swear they never read their reviews (file under Hollywood Stars, West End Actors, rock bands with their difficult second album) but in our online world, reviews count. And sometimes in surprising ways.