How to Add ID3 Tags to Your Podcast Metadata

Create and edit ID3 tags to help your podcast stand out

A website's metadata plays an important role in SEO and search results. Podcasts also have metadata in the form of ID3 tags. It's crucial to include and optimize ID3 tags to get your podcast more exposure and give potential listeners information about your episodes.

Here's a look at the ID3 tags your podcasts need and how to add ID3 tags to your podcast using iTunes, your podcast hosting service, or ID3 editor software.

Metadata means data about something. Think about your podcast metadata as the information you use to tell the world about your podcast.

Podcaster speaking into a microphone.
Jasper Cole / Getty Images

What Exactly Are ID3 Tags?

ID3 tags are metadata containers used with MP3 audio formats. An ID3 tag attaches metadata to a file in the ID3 format.

Since podcasts are in MP3 format, their ID3 tags store information such as the title, artist or author, website URL, and if explicit language is used. ID3 tags also include data about the podcast and episode cover art.

When you submit your podcast to distribution channels, such as iTunes or Spotify, the ID3 tag data is displayed to your potential audience.

Your podcast's ID3 tags aren't something you set and forget. As your show evolves, its category might change, the language may get more explicit, and you may add new cover art. Keeping your metadata fresh helps you find the right audience.

What Metadata Do ID3 Tags Hold?

When you submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or other platforms, include this information in your ID3 tags:

  • Title: Your podcast has a title, but each episode has a title, as well. Make sure your title is catchy and descriptive, but not too long. Uniqueness is critical, as you don't want to duplicate another podcast's title.
  • Author: This item could also be called artist or host. It could be your name, the name of your company, or a brand.
  • Description: When you include a description for a podcast episode, keep it simple and descriptive. Don't overload with keywords, and you don't have to include the title of your show or the host's name.
  • Categories: Most platforms let you choose up to three categories, for example, News, Self Help, and True Crime. If your podcast evolves and changes its focus, change its categories.
  • Artwork or Pictures: Add in any show artwork or artwork for an individual episode.
  • Episode number: While some podcast hosts automatically number your episodes, you have to add numbers manually in others. Without a number, your podcast episode can get lost.
  • Explicit: There's usually a spot where you can indicate if your podcast episode uses explicit language. There are no restrictions on explicit language in a podcast, but you do have to warn people.

Even if you let only one minor curse word out during an episode, play it safe and mark it as explicit.

How to Add ID3 Tags to Your Podcast

There are several ways to add ID3 tags to your podcast. Add ID3 tags quickly and easily using iTunes, your podcast hosting service's built-in ID3 tag tools, or a third-party ID3 editor.

Add ID3 Tags With iTunes

iTunes offers one of the simplest and easiest ways to add ID3 tags to your podcast episodes. Here's how:

  1. Open iTunes on a Mac or PC.

  2. From the File menu, select Add to Library.

    iTunes with the Add to Library command highlighted
  3. Choose the file you want to add to your library, then select Open.

  4. Right-click the file you just added and choose Get Info. On other iTunes versions, select the three dots (More) and then select Song Info.

  5. Go to the Options tab.

    A file in iTunes with the Options tab highlighted
  6. Change the media kind to Podcast.

    File info in iTunes with the Podcast option highlighted
  7. Go to Details and enter the requested information, such as title, author, and podcast name.

    iTunes with the Details tab for a file highlighted
  8. Select Artwork > Add Artwork and upload your cover art.

    A file in iTunes with the Artwork heading highlighted
  9. Select Description and enter an episode description.

    A file in iTunes with the Description tab highlighted
  10. Go to the Sorting tab and enter the file title, podcast name, and author.

    A file in iTunes with the Sorting tab highlighted
  11. Select OK to save the ID3 tag information.

  12. Your podcast file and its ID3 tags are now ready to be uploaded to your podcast hosting service.

Use Your Podcast Hosting Service to Add ID3 Tags

Many podcast hosting services, such as Libsyn, make it easy to add ID3 tags to a podcast.

These steps are from Libsyn, but other podcast hosting services will have a similar interface.

  1. Upload your MP3 file to your podcast hosting service.

  2. Add an episode title, number, description, and other information.

  3. Select the Update ID3 Tags check box. All the details you added about your episode automatically became part of the ID3 tag for the media file.

Use an ID3 Tag Editor

If you produce a podcast and want to add the ID3 tags before uploading your MP3 file to a podcast host, there are some excellent ID3 tag editors available, both free and paid.

  • MP3tag is a free download for Windows that adds and edits ID3 tags for MP3 files. Using MP3tag to upload metadata is easy and intuitive. It supports batch editing for multiple files covering several audio formats. It also uses online databases to look up information, so you can use it to tag your existing music collection to find artwork or the correct titles.
  • EasyTAG is another free ID3 editor. It's a simple application for editing and viewing ID3 tags in audio files. EasyTAG supports multiple formats and is compatible with Windows and Linux operating systems. It can be used to auto-tag and organize MP3 collections and edit MP3 metadata.
  • ID3 Editor works on Windows and Mac systems and requires a paid license, but it does offer a 30-day free trial. This editor has a slick interface that makes editing podcast ID3 tags straightforward. It also cleans up old tags and adds copyright, URL, and encoded by information.
  • Prestopod is a browser app that adds and stores ID3 tags for faster publishing. It's simple and easy to add ID3 tags to MP3 files or update existing tags. A free plan allows you to publish two episodes a month, while the standard subscription is $15 per month and allows for up to 20 episodes each month.