Google to Start Transcribing Podcasts
You listen to a great podcast at work, but it's on someone else's phone. It really sticks with you, and you want to tell other people about it later. The only problem is that you have no idea how to find it. You don't know the name of the host, the show or the episode. You do not know when it was recorded or when it aired. For all you know, it could be from last Tuesday or from five years ago. What you do remember is what the podcast was about, the questions it raised or the ideas you want to revisit. You know how the content impacted you, and you have a fundamental understanding of the topics it covered.
Even so, it may be nearly impossible to find that show again without more specific identifying details. If you search for the content itself, you may find it if you get lucky and type in the title or find an article written about the episode that uses some of the same wording. But there's no guarantee. You may never find it a second time.
That's all going to change in the very near future. Google knows how frustrating this is and so they're beginning a new program to transcribe full podcasts. This means that you can now search for episodes based on actual things that were said during the course of the discussion. As long as you remember a few words or a key phrase, you'll be able to find it.
An Ongoing Process
It is worth noting that this is an ongoing process, and not all episodes of all shows have been transcribed as of the latest reports. This is also only for those episodes that are on Google Podcasts, so those who use other services will be out of luck. Some massive producers, such as the BBC, have been moving away from Google in favor of their own apps.
On top of that, like any new technology, it's not flawless. Transcriptions may not be 100 percent accurate. It could become more refined as things move forward, though that remains to be seen.
What Does This Mean for You?
This is going to do a number of things for search traffic. It changes the way that users search for audio content, perhaps giving you another way to add valuable information. On top of that, it may mean that you want to carefully script out the podcast content you create. If users can now search for them based on keywords within the audio itself, you want to make sure that you hit relevant keywords and phrases that they'll remember, making it easier for them to find the content again in the future.
It also demonstrates how everything that Google does is geared around search traffic. They're constantly trying to adjust with shifting user patterns. Google wants people to be able to come to them and easily find any type of content that they are after, no matter how it is presented, whether they're searching with text or using voice search. As everything becomes more and more inclusive, you have to decide how that fits into your marketing and SEO plan.