ID3 tags can be used to further optimize your content by loading more keywords into your podcast than meets the eye, AND they’re free. Nobody sees your ID3 tags, except search engines, but don’t underestimate the power of the ID3 tag for podcast SEO.
What is an ID3 Tag?
ID3 tags are a storage house within an MP3 audio file. This data commonly contains the Artist name, Song title, Year and Genre of the current audio file. are additional metadata that you apply to your MP3 file. ID3 tags provide the Title, Artist, Year, Genre and other great information when you’re listening to music. Here you will find the current standards documents; pointers to software libraries in just about every language and other information you can use to enhance your MP3 audio library.
If you are editing your own podcasts, as I am, you can attach the ID3 tags before you click “save.” It’s very easy, you just have to know the relevant keyword phrases that you want to apply to the podcast episode.
History of the ID3 Tag
Originally, the system ID3 tagging system was created in the early ‘90s when digital music was born. Music started streaming through MP3 players and streaming music services, which decoded the music as it played.
More fields became added to ID3 tags, which gave podcasters (who use digital streaming services, i.e. iTunes) the ability to embed relevant keywords, that are not as evident as your podcast title, description, or your episode title and description.
ID3 tags give you another chance to be relevant, by helping people find you when they are searching. Your keywords are embedded in the metadata in the MP3 file, that only ID3 tags can offer beyond the very visible fields you are given when uploading your podcast to a podcast directory, feed, or hosting service like Libsyn, which I use.
Here’s a VIDEO I made of just how easy it is to add your keywords to ID3 tags:
ID3 tag categories
All of these ID3 categories might not match what they contain exactly, however, including your keyword phrases within them where they count, matters. Artist Name, for example, would be you, and all the keywords that you associate with your brand in your podcast. Track Title is the name of the podcast episode. So just because it doesn’t say exactly what it should contain, don’t worry about it. Just make sense out of the space you are given.
Remember, these ID3 categories were created originally to make sense out of music files digitally, so the category might not seem to match exactly what the contents contain.
How to SEO ID3 Tags
Which ID3 Categories to Use
There are a lot more ID3 tags that you will never need to use as a podcast show host, but here are the 8 categories I recommend paying attention to for SEO:
1. Artist Name: (You.) Keywords are yours to use here, after your name. I use Pipes to break up the content, but don’t go overboard.
2. Track Title: (The podcast episode MP3 file name) Your file name should also match this track title, so you can boost additional SEO into your podcast. Everything counts.
3. Album Title: (The name of your podcast show) Use your keywords here, too. They will show up in search when people search for you, but it never hurts to be the most relevant as possible with your keywords. It doesn’t cost a thing but your time!
4. Track Number: (Episode number) Check out my previous post on this – you don’t have to include the track number in your podcast title, wasting space for more important keywords – the podcast service will number them for you and give your listeners the convenience of knowing just where your podcast lies on the listening continuum. Just attach the number for the hosting service and to make sense of it when you need to look for a particular track you did.
5. Year: I use this field for the year to keep everything chronological, but you could use this field, too, to post more keywords that have to do with the episode. It’s up to you. The podcast host is not going to take your episode down, but just make sense of the data for people who are looking at the content beyond just the actual listening platform, like iTunes.
6. Genre: (Your category and keywords) I am in the online marketing category and I want to be aligned with other brands who are in that category, as well. I use this category as well as the next two ID3 categories to load my relevant keywords specific to the podcast episode. See the video above.
7. Comments: (String of text) I simply repeat of the keyword-rich content of Genre, with a control-paste.
8. Other: (Keywords or URL) This is the last keywords storage container I recommend using within the ID3 tags. This is all of the keyword space you are given in Audacity as your editor, and all I need to use. I like to keep it simple, and it’s definitely a plus for smarter online marketing.
ID3 Tag Editors
I use Audacity to create, edit, add ID3 tags, and make it simple for upload. If you are creating your own podcast show, too, then you probably will be using some kind of editor, as well.
There are other ID3 Tag Editors out there that can help you make more sense out of your podcasts for organization purposes. People use these editors for their music libraries, but since we are on the topic of ID3 tags, it wouldn’t be complete without giving credit to them, if you should ever have a need to know they exist.
You can check out Lifehacker for 6 of top-rated ID3 tag editors:
The Future of ID3 Tagsz
The latest version of ID3 is ID3v2.4.0 and replaces ID3v2.3.0. To see the document, it’s at http://id3.org/id3v2.4.0-frames.
To keep on top of future changes, take a peek at http://id3.org/RecentChanges. Developers will always be on top of making this global phenomenon make sense as society’s needs change, and digital audio formats make improvements.
ID3 tags are a global phenomenon and there are developers who are constantly trying to make improvements of the medium that help us to sort, organize and make sense out of our digital libraries and digital world. The crowd-sourcing of ID3 tag improvements will continue to make improvements on all of our lives, especially podcasters, who many, create great content for those who which to consume by ear, rather than voice.
Podcast Titles, Descriptions and ID3 Tags, That’s a Wrap!
I hope this 3-part series gave you a different perspective on how you can make your podcast content count with SEO. I have shown you the three most important, yet overlooked, places to include your keyword phrases for the benefit of having people find you when they are searching for that great content you work so hard to create.
From my own experience, it’s way more worth it to put in a little extra time to have your content be evergreen, and live on, rather than being time sensitive, and just not relevant anymore. So, make sure your keywords live on with your podcast and make them count. It’s really not that hard, just a little work up front!
Good luck and keep me posted on your progress. If you enjoyed this podcast, please post a 5 star review for others to be able to learn more about smarter online marketing, and tell your friends. And leave a comment below.
See you next time!
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