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. For example, if you usually begin your new season in the Spring and finish at Christmas, and always take the time in between as a planned break, then adding season and episode numbers makes more sense for your listeners.
- 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.
Why Ditch The Podcast Episode Numbers
You should keep the titles of your podcast episodes as clean and straightforward as possible. Podcast episode numbers don’t actually offer SEO value. If you put them in unnecessarily, you’re wasting 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. As podcast apps are getting more sophisticated and individual episodes begin to be recommended by algorithms, your title will be the first impression someone gets of your show as they’re scrolling on the tiny screen of their smartphone. Don’t turn listeners off with an alphanumerical soup at the beginning of the title.
If you’re podcasting on a regular schedule without planned breaks, then you definitely don’t need season numbers in your title. It may look to you like your podcast is a cool Blacklist-style Netflix show, but just take a moment. Does it actually help your listeners?
Maybe you will decide that episode numbers WILL help your audience, and that’s absolutely fine. It’s a personal choice. Just remember that 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.
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