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Have you ever looked at a podcast’s reviews and rating before subscribing?

Having even just a few positive ratings to light up those 5 stars on iTunes can have a dramatic effect over having none at all. Reviews and ratings not only indicate a quality podcast, but also that other people are listening! Potential listeners want to know that others are listening and have confirmed that this is a podcast worth tuning in to.

Looking at two podcasts side-by-side on iTunes, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out which one to choose to listen to, if it weren’t for ratings and reviews. A rating on iTunes refers specifically to the 5-star scale with which users can rate a podcast. A review on the other hand combines this rating with a piece of written text, such as “I love listening to this podcast each week!”


iTunes Podcast Ranking

So we know that from a user perspective, reviews and ratings for your podcast are important. There’s another reason why you would be interested in having a good rating and selection of reviews as well, and that has to do with iTunes’ own ranking of podcasts.

Similar to SEO with a search engine, iTunes uses a secret algorithm to determine and rank podcasts on its front page and podcast category pages. We don’t know the precise criteria for this, but it’s safe to assume that iTunes looks at all-time downloads, downloads immediately after releasing a new episode, how long your podcast has been active, and ratings and reviews!

In addition to raising your profile with potential listeners, by having some positive ratings and reviews, you have an iTunes reputation to earn and the potential to get your podcast in front of more people!


How to Get More iTunes Ratings & Reviews

Now that we’ve established the importance of having positive iTunes ratings and reviews for your podcast, you must be wondering, how do you achieve that?

There are a number of ways, but one important thing to note right now is that paying for fake reviews is not advised!

Here’s how you can legitimately get some ratings and reviews for your podcast on iTunes:

Ask Your Listeners

  • Wow, that simple? Of course! Whether via social media, an e-mail list, or even within your episodes, ask a favor of your listeners. Ask them to go on iTunes and leave a kind review. Your most loyal listeners will be eager to help you out.
  • Be sure to make it easy on them by supplying your iTunes podcast link so they don’t have to search for it. You want to lower the barrier of entry. If it’s too complicated, they may give up!

Run a Contest

  • This is a sure way to make reviewing your podcast a little more enticing! It’s important to note that receiving a whole bunch of reviews all at once can raise some red flags at iTunes (they filter all reviews you get) so be sure not to get too out of hand. Run a small contest and offer up a prize for the first 1-3 people to leave a review. Alternatively, you can encourage this by even offering shout-outs on your episode. This little incentive may be all it takes!

Reward for Review

  • Similar to the contest idea, you can simply offer all listeners something free in exchange for leaving a review, such as an eBook download. You can make things really easy by building a review tutorial page on your website which clearly explains the process of leaving a review on iTunes.

How to View Your iTunes Reviews

One thing you may not know about iTunes reviews is that they are divided by country. That is, if someone in the U.S. leaves a review on your podcast, but you are looking in the Canadian store, you will not see it.

You may want to check your podcast listener statistics and take a look at the areas where your podcast is most popular. Be sure to check out those respective iTunes stores to see all of your reviews, especially if you’re running a contest and need to find an entry!

Services like Podrover and Ratings Catcher can make this much easier.

Happy podcasting!