The question of whether to include podcast episode numbers in your podcast titles has been hotly debated in podcasting circles. Some podcasters are firmly in favor, and equally as many are firmly against. Including season and episode numbers in your shows’ titles depends very much on the nature of your show.

Let’s go through a few examples of why you might choose to use podcast episode numbers in your title or not.

When Is Numbering Your Show Helpful?

Bear in mind that you want to help your audience find and listen to your podcast. You don’t want to clutter the show’s title with too much unnecessary detail and make people skip on past. However, there are occasions when it is helpful for your audience to see episode numbers in a show’s title.

  • Seasonal and serialized podcasts. You want to make it as simple as possible for listeners to find where you started your new season, as this type of podcast typically needs to be listened to in order from oldest to most recent.
  • Episode art. If you’re posting on social media to attract attention to new episodes, then it can help your listeners to keep track of which episodes they have listened to and easily navigate new shows. Using numbers on your artwork can make it easier to promote specific episodes and drive traffic to them.

If you need to number your shows but are reluctant to put that number in the title, then you can also leverage the metadata in the backend of your podcast host. You can plug in the data, and that information will still show up on apps like Apple Podcasts without having to put it directly in the title.

Keep in mind that Apple Podcasts actually recommends not putting numbers in episode titles. Read more on that here and here.

Why Ditch The Podcast Episode Numbers

Keep the titles of your podcast episodes as clean and straightforward as possible. Podcast episode numbers don’t actually offer SEO value. Including them unnecessarily wastes title real-estate that could be put to better use by giving more information on what your show is about.

Your title should be a juicy headline that tempts a potential listener to click through and listen. The episode title is also commonly used by podcast apps for search and indexing, helping people to discover your podcast.

Maybe you will decide that episode numbers WILL help your audience, and that’s absolutely fine. Just remember that growth and listener experience should be at the center of what you do as a podcaster. You should provide your audience with a streamlined way to find and listen to the shows that interest them. Also, you should make it easy for them to check out the details of your other podcast episodes.

Again, Apple Podcasts has a recommended best practice for episode numbering that works for their platform, but may not apply to others. Check their best practices on episode numbering here to help determine what you should do to balance things properly across all podcast platforms.

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