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How Apple Podcasts Search Works

How Search Works on Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts is an important directory when you have a podcast and when you are a consumer of podcasts. Looking at the last 13 months of available data, iOS (Apple devices) make up 27.83% of the world market of mobile devices. (Statcounter. June 2022.) This means nearly 30% of your podcast’s possible audience is using an Apple device. It also means you should understand the basics Apple has published about how search for Apple Podcasts functions so that you can better optimize your podcast’s metadata to drive results.

Apple Podcasts Search 101

Search finds the best possible match to your search term and presents the most relevant results at the top. (Apple. June 2022) Some of the main factors that Apple Podcasts uses to order your Search results include:
  • Metadata: this includes the show name, channel name, and episode title
  • Popularity: podcasts with large followers and plays in Apple Podcasts
  • User Behavior: podcasts with high engagement, such as those that are played or followed from search results

Playing The Rankings Game

Like most tech giants, Apple is giving us just enough information to know how to improve, but not confirming the entirety of how their algorithm performs. 

For your podcast show pick a unique title that is also a description of your show. The same applies to your episodes. Episode titles should be a description of the episode. Think about the listener, would they understand the topic of an episode by reading your title?

If your hosting tool allows, make sure you have a full show description and keywords entered into the show and episodes (or wherever the hosting service will allow). This plays into the popularity and behavior. As you promote your podcast via social, email, and SMS, search also helps to drive listeners to your channels.

My personal take on this is that Apple is confirming they are mainly focused on podcasters who are driving listeners. Yes, the meta data (titles) matter to a degree, but you will need to be doing the promotion of your how to get ear buds in ears and clicks on your episodes to drive yourself up the ranks and and the search results.

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