Google’s John Mueller says there’s no inherent SEO benefit to adding an audio version of a text-based web page.
This topic is discussed during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on February 12.
The following question is submitted to Mueller:
“Would adding an audio version of a page’s content help with search in any way? Other than the obvious accessibility improvement.”
Adding an accompanying audio recording to a written post is something more publishers have been doing as of late.
Is it helping those publishers in search rankings?
Here’s what Mueller has to say.
Google’s John Mueller On Audio + Text Content
Unlike photo and video, Google doesn’t do anything special with audio content.
Audio content is not processed separately by Google. At most it might be seen as a piece of video content which could result in a video snippet.
Mueller says, as far as what he knows, adding an audio recording to a text post does not help or hurt rankings.
“As far as I know we don’t do anything with audio versions of content. We also wouldn’t see that as duplicate content, so it’s not that you have to avoid that.
I mean, duplicate content itself isn’t something you really have to avoid, but even if you wanted to avoid the situation that you’re suddenly ranking for the same things with different pieces of content, the audio version is something that we, as far as I know, would not even process separately.
At most we might see that as a piece of video content and show that also with a video snippet. But, essentially, it wouldn’t help or detract from a page’s overall ranking.”
Mueller is about to move on to another question when an SEO named Robb Young jumps in to ask for clarification.
He asks: Doesn’t adding an audio recording do anything for SEO?
Is a page not seen as higher quality when it has text and audio as compared to just text?
Mueller stays firm on the answer he originally provided. Google does not view a page as higher quality because it has multiple types of content.
However, there could be indirect benefits such as the page getting shared around more.
“I don’t think we would look at that and say: “oh there are different kinds of content here, it’s a better page because of that.”
It might be that there are indirect effects, like if users find this page more useful and they recommend it more, that’s something that could have an effect.
But it’s not the case that we look at the types of content on a page and say: “oh there’s two types versus five types, the one with five types is better.””
Lastly, Mueller adds there are benefits associated with adding images and/or video to a web page because those content types can each rank independently.
There’s no separate set of search rankings for audio content.
“I think it’s a bit different with video and images in that images and video themselves can rank independently. Like in image search and video search you can have the same piece of content be visible in those other surfaces. But for audio we don’t really have a separate audio search where that page could also rank.
The closest that could come there is the podcast search that we have, or the podcast one box thing, but that’s really tied to the podcast content type where you have a feed of podcast information and we can index it like that. But just having audio on a page by itself, I don’t think that would change anything automatically in our systems.”
Hear the full question and answer below: