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Optimize your audio files to increase their popularity, just as you would optimize a website. Audio search engines are becoming more advanced as audio files become more commonplace on the Internet. Here are some tips to optimize your audio offerings...

1. Optimize Landing Page

Create a landing page for the audio files. The landing page should explain the audio content and encourage subscriptions. Outline the steps the visitor should take in order to subscribe or listen to the audio file. Make an effort to interact with the visitor on the landing page, and make it as easy as possible for them to subscribe or listen to your podcast.

2. Provide Online Player

Provide an online player so people can sample a show or audio file. There are a number of vendors that allow you to imbed audio players into a website. Take a look at Wimpy Player for example, to see a few different options for imbedding an audio player into a webpage.

Wimpy -

3. Keyword In URL And File Names

When linking to the audio file, use important keywords in the URL and in the audio filename. If you use multiple words to link to a file, hyphenate them. Search engine spiders take notice of file names, so rather than using a random numerical sequence, give the audio file a meaningful filename that relates to the content contained in it.

4. Optimize Audio Files

Optimize the actual audio file itself. The audio file should be clean and easy to understand. Use an audio editor, like RecordForAll, to remove any background noise or unwanted segments, and to add transitions from one segment to another.

RecordForAll -

5. Transcribe Show In RSS Feed

Assuming the audio file content is "spoken word" rather than or in addition to music, transcribe the spoken content into an RSS feed. If you have a series of audio files, you should distribute them in a podcast. This means creating an RSS feed. Include the transcription of the podcast show in the Item Description field -- this will increase the exposure that the audio file receives. The keywords in the transcription will also help get the file indexed and included in related searches performed in the various RSS search engines or podcast directories.

6. ID3 Tags

Use ID3 tags to further optimize the audio file. ID3 tags contain meta data that relates to the audio content.

ID3 Optimization -

7. Promote Podcast In Audio Search And Podcasting Directories

There are a number of new audio search engines and a large number of podcasting directories that freely accept podcast submissions. Take the necessary time to go through the process of submitting your audio files and podcasts into these channels.

Submit Podcasts -

8. Include Graphics

Include graphics with your podcast, and especially if you are submitting your podcast to the iTunes Directory. Such graphics, similar to "Album Art" for audio CD covers, are standard and expected in the iTunes directory. The graphics can also draw additional attention to your podcast when its displayed with the listing.

9. Include iTunes Tags

In order to have a file included in the iTunes Music Store, you must include some additional tags in the RSS feed. The extra tags are specific to Apple iTunes. The easiest way to handle them is to use software like FeedForAll (Win and Mac versions available). The software has a tutorial that will walk you through the process of setting up an iTunes-compatible podcast.

Web-based tutorials can also be found here:

10. Subscribe To Make Sure All Is Well

Once the audio file is finished and uploaded to the server, be sure to download and test a copy to insure that the sound quality is decent and the volume is acceptable. Additionally, if promoting the file in a podcast, you should subscribe to the Podcast feed yourself -- this will allow you to see exactly what your subscribers see, and will also help confirm that the feed is properly formed.

11. Define Audio Properties

If distributing the audio file in a podcast, be sure to declare the audio file MIME type and the file size in bytes. Some podcatchers (i.e. software such as Juice and jpodder, which manage and download podcast subscriptions) use these settings, and leaving them out may mean some subscribers will have difficulties subscribing.

If you are investing in audio content, be sure you make the most of the opportunities it offers by optimizing the audio file and podcast. Spending a little extra time and effort here will increase the exposure and opportunities available.

About the Author:

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Published - January 2010

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