Creating a podcast isn’t always about being the best, but being highly ranked in podcast rankings certainly helps keep the lights on and lets you continue to create the content you love.
As with any venture, the more successful you are, the more awareness people have and the better you’ll be able to do. Podcasts are no different in this sense. The bigger your audience, the more you can monetize and the more resources you’ll have to create quality, engaging content. So how do you move up in the rankings and stand out among literally hundreds of thousands of other podcasts?
One of the keys to getting more listeners is to move up in the podcast rankings. But how do you do this? It’s not necessarily simple, but having some idea of how these podcast ranking factors work can help you make your way toward the top. In this blog, we’ll break down how some different podcast ranking algorithms work and what you need to do to affect those rankings.
How Podcast Rankings Are Calculated
Each podcast hosting platform is going to have its own algorithm to determine how to rank its podcasts. This means something that’s important to one podcast chart might not carry the same weight in another chart. With that being said, there are definitely consistencies across platforms that you can target.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important podcast ranking factors to consider by exploring a few different algorithms from the big players in the podcast hosting game.
Something you’ll likely notice when trying to crack the podcast ranking algorithms of the major players is that there aren’t going to be any absolutes. Just like Google with its ranking algorithm, companies like Apple and Spotify don’t reveal how their algorithms work. However, with analytics and observation, you can notice some trends that indicate the factors they consider important. With some trial and error, you’ll be able to see what affects your rankings the most and how you can optimize your podcast to help you reach the next level.
Here are a few factors that Apple’s podcast algorithm cares most about:
- Genre: First, as with any podcast platform, it’s easy for you to organize and search through podcasts by genre. The more crowded the genre, the harder it’s going to be to break through to the top. If a genre is more of a niche, it might be easier for you to crack the upper numbers of the charts. There are several other factors that you’ll need to get there.
- Subscriptions: One of the factors Apple considers most important is subscribers and the weekly growth of your subscriber numbers. The more subscribers you get and the higher your growth percentage of subscribers on a week-to-week basis, the more likely you are to move up in the rankings.
- Downloads: Apple also cares about downloads, and so do advertisers. The more downloads you get, the more likely it is that your audience is engaged with your content. This is attractive to sponsors.
- Quality technical work: Make it easier for potential subscribers to understand your podcast and the content within. Make sure you have high-quality descriptions, engaging episode names and descriptions, good images and an aesthetically pleasing logo. This will make your podcast more enticing and help it appear more professional.
- Ratings: The algorithm likely doesn’t place a ton of importance on the actual ratings of a podcast, but the better your ratings are, the more likely new listeners will be to give your podcast a chance. With good ratings, you’ll definitely see a correlation with good rankings. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a good rule of thumb.
It’s likely that Spotify uses a lot of similar metrics for ranking the podcasts on its platform, but it also has the Discover feature, which uses machine learning to suggest new music and podcasts to users based on their preferences. By clearly defining what your podcast is about and making sure you appeal to your target demographic, you can possibly get suggested to users who are going to be interested and engaged with the content you’re putting out. In short, one of the best ways to stand out is to make sure you continue to create excellent content that listeners will care about.
How Does Backtracks Rank Podcasts on Our Charts?
Here at Backtracks, we have our own proprietary ranking system as well. As you can see on our charts, it’s easy to find the top 500 podcasts on our platform and find the top podcasts in a multitude of different genres. You can even see how podcasts have moved up and down in the rankings.
The Backtracks charts also allow users to post parts of podcasts or embed episodes on their social media timelines. This function lets users share the sound bites that move them most and gives publishers exposure like never before. In short, the Backtracks charts are beneficial for both listeners and publishers. Publishers get much more visibility and brand awareness by making their way up the rankings, and listeners get a clean user interface and useful functions to make their listening experience that much better.
We colloquially refer to our podcast ranking algorithm as a PodScore, and it measures a variety of factors and data points to determine the rank of a podcast. One of the biggest benefits of the Backtracks platform is we have a wide array of different podcast genres to choose from. This means if you home in on your niche and appeal to your target audience, it can be easier for you to move up in the rankings with quality content. Of course, we use similar metrics to what you’ll find in a lot of ranking algorithms, but with such specific genre options, you’re able to stand out more to the listeners you want to reach most.
Use Backtracks to Improve Your Podcast
Backtracks is a suite of tools that are great for content publishers and advertisers alike. One of the most powerful features of Backtracks is its robust podcast analytics capabilities. With Backtracks, you’re able to view actionable, useful data and metrics that let you perfect and optimize your podcast for listeners. This in turn will help you grow your listener base and move your way up through the rankings on all podcast hosting platforms. Start using Backtracks today to bring your podcast to the next level.