More show level details are going to be vital for podcasts to be eligible to appear in Google Search and Podcast recommendations.
Google has announced some big changes to their podcasting requirements coming by September 21, 2021. A document updating the RSS feed guidelines for Google Podcasts has recently been posted on their support site, however Google is also reaching out to those who own podcasts on their Google Podcasts platform to make them aware of the upcoming changes directly via email to inform them:
"On September 21, 2021, Google will begin enforcing updated information requirements for all podcasts on the Google Podcasts platform. A podcast that does not provide the required information cannot appear in Google Podcasts recommendations. The podcast can still appear in Google and Google Podcasts search results and users can continue to subscribe to it."
Those changes are centred on the information that RSS feeds must include at the show level (elements directly beneath the channel tag) in order to remain eligible to appear in Google’s podcast recommendations.
Some of the (strongly recommended) changes that users need to make, or ensure they already have are things such as:
- A valid image to associate with your podcast, one that isn’t blocked to Googlebot or one that requires a login
- A user-friendly plaintext and accurate description of the show itself
- A correctly formatted email address for the (one, single) podcast owner, in order to demonstrate ownership of the feed to Podcasts Manager (this will then be verified via email)
If you use a 3rd party hosting provider however, you may need to contact them to change the email address if needed
- A valid show homepage, linked to your feed to make it easier for listeners to find a given show and provide extra context when users search for content (Discover how to link to a homepage in code here)
- The podcast creator’s name to display in Google Podcasts as the author, (this does not have to be the same name as the owner if applicable)
You can find a full, detailed breakdown of all the RSS tag specifics, including both Podcast-level tags and Episode-level tags, example feeds for best practice and a wide range of other feed requirements and recommendations here.
It is clear that Google is already doing a lot to inform those affected by the upcoming changes which currently are more than a month away, there’s good reason for that.
On September 21st any podcasts that are still found wanting regarding any of the requisite changes will lose eligibility for Google recommendations. However the podcast will still be displayed on user’s existing subscription lists in Google Podcasts and will remain searchable.
Podcasts will continue to be crawled regularly post September 21st, just as they are currently, meaning they can and will surface in recommendations within around 48 hours of implementing these new requirements.
Podcast publishers can find more details and help on how to check if podcasts have everything they need in this Google Podcasts Help thread