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How to Rank on Apple Podcasts Search Results in 5 Steps screenshot showing analytics to help podcasters rank on Apple Podcasts

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Having your podcast rank on Apple Podcasts search results is a great way to get your podcast in front of new listeners. But, ranking on Apple Podcast’s search results, like anything, requires strategy.

When you search for certain keywords on Apple Podcasts (more on that in a bit!), The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting ranks in the first few search results. You might be thinking “So what? Why is that a big deal?” But, getting your podcast to rank highly on Apple Podcasts for the keywords your audience is searching for is absolutely vital.

Think about it this way – when someone heads to Apple Podcasts and searches for something like “podcasting tips”, they have no clue about your specific podcast. They’re just looking for helpful content on that topic. If your show pops up at the top of those search results, that’s a golden opportunity to get discovered by tons of new potential listeners. It’s how you take your podcast from being a tiny blip to a major hit!

So let me walk you through exactly how I was able to pull this off and rank on Apple Podcasts for those juicy keywords. Maybe you can replicate my strategies for your own podcast!

How to Rank on Apple Podcasts Search Results in 5 Steps

Step 1) Figure Out What Your Audience Wants

This is priority number one. You can’t just blindly guess at what keywords to target – you need real data on what your listeners are actually searching for.

For me, this intel comes straight from my podcast hosting platform’s analytics (I use and seriously love their data). Their reports show me exactly how listeners are finding my show, what they’re searching on different platforms, and where they’re dropping off during episodes. Absolute gold!

An example of analytics from showing where people listen to The Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting. These analytics are useful when strategising how to rank on Apple Podcasts
An example of analytics from showing where people listen to The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting. Get a free 7-day trial of >>

If your host offers it, I’d also highly recommend connecting your podcast to Google Analytics. This gives you a filtered look at what people are searching to find your show specifically. Those popular search terms are likely great keyword opportunities.

Don’t overlook this crucial analysis work! Figuring out what your audience wants is step one to giving it to them and to rank on Apple Podcasts.

Step 2) Apply Those Keywords…Everywhere

Once you know what your people are looking for, it’s time to thoroughly implement those popular keywords across your podcast’s metadata and content. I’m talking about your show’s title, description, episode titles, show notes – everything!

For example, one of my podcasts is called “The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting: Podcasting Tips for How to Start and Grow a Show”. I purposely packed relevant keywords like “podcasting tips” right into that extended title metadata. My show description hits terms like “how to podcast” and “how to start a podcast”. You get the idea!

I try to naturally work high-value keywords into every single episode’s titles and show notes too. So an episode about how to rank on Apple Podcasts would name-drop that keyword a few times throughout the copy.

It’s all about giving Apple’s search algorithm as many relevant signals as possible. The more you use those popular search terms, the higher your chances of surfacing when people look for that content.

Step 3) Create Legitimately Awesome Content

Here’s the hard truth: You can optimize for keywords all you want, but if your podcast itself isn’t any good, you’ll never earn lasting listeners or move up in the ranks. Apple looks at engagement metrics like listener retention and download numbers to determine ranking potential. If people are tuning out quickly or ignoring your show, you’ll remain stuck in the depths of search oblivion.

That’s why my number one priority is creating consistently outstanding content that my audience seriously values. I put tremendous time and effort into researching, scripting, and recording episodes that deliver insights, entertainment value, or whatever it is my podcast audience wants to hear.

Solid content turns first-time listeners into raving fans who subscribe, binge your backlog, and leave glowing reviews. Those are the signals that get Apple’s attention and allow you to climb up the charts.

Don’t cut corners here! Your podcast’s success relies on a quality show that keeps people engaged from start to finish.

Step 4) Design a Super Compelling Podcast Cover

Looks may not be everything, but they sure do matter a lot – especially on Apple Podcasts. Even if you nail the keywords and have an amazing show, you’ll get passed over if your cover art doesn’t grab someone’s attention.

People form split-second judgments when quickly scrolling through search results on their phones. If your artwork fails to stand out or intrigue them, you’ll never get a chance to wow them with your incredible content.

That’s why I invested serious time and money into getting custom cover art designed for my podcasts. Each one has a unique, visually-striking design that quickly communicates what the show is about. The colors, graphics, and text all work together to catch a potential listener’s eye and make them start that all-important journey into checking out an episode.

If your current cover isn’t cutting it, consider paying a professional designer to elevate your branding game. It can make a massive difference in getting people to actually click on your show in the first place.

Step 5) Be Patient and Keep Experimenting

Here’s the tough part about attempting to rank on Apple Podcasts: It takes considerable time and a lot of incremental experiments to figure out what works best. There’s no immediate, surefire formula that will shoot you to the top overnight.

My best advice? Choose a set of keywords to prioritize, update all your metadata accordingly, and then stick with it for at least 2-3 months to gauge the results. If you don’t see any positive movement, it’s likely time to change things up and experiment with new keywords or phrasing.

The same goes for things like your show’s title or cover art. If you swap it too frequently before giving each version a fair chance, you’ll never get accurate data on what’s truly resonating with your target listeners.

Constant iteration and analysis are the paths to ranking success. Be scientific about trying new approaches, giving them a legitimate window to work (or not), and keeping what creates positive momentum.

Grow Your Audience👇

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    Concluding thoughts on how to rank in Apple Podcasts

    Those are my top tips for ranking your podcast on Apple Podcasts! It’s no easy feat, but absolutely worth the effort to get your show discovered. Stick to these strategies, create outstanding content, and remain persistent in your quest for those top keyword spots. With time and consistency, you too could find yourself ranking your podcast in those coveted search results.

    What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

    Verity Sangan

    Hey! I'm Verity. I love all things podcasting and am passionate about getting more women find their voice through podcasts. When I'm not in work or busy with mum-duties, I host The Lazy Girl's Guide to Podcasting.