After podcasting for a while and you may see old episodes disappear from podcast directories and your RSS feed. Here are seven things you should know.

Come back for my next episode where I’ll share, “What to Do When You Have Too Many Podcast Episodes in Your RSS Feed.”

1. The episode limit is set by whatever creates your podcast RSS feed

WordPress, Libsyn, or whatever else you’re using to create your RSS feed is also what sets the limit on how many episodes that feed can hold. If you use FeedBurner, it doesn’t affect the episode limit in any way.

Exactly where you adjust that limit depends on how you’re using the tools to create the feed. Here are the three most-common places:

  • WordPress default or category feed: WordPress ➜ Settings ➜ Reading ➜ Syndication feeds show the most recent
  • PowerPress feeds: WordPress ➜ PowerPress ➜ Settings (or your feed under Podcast Channels or Category Podcasting) ➜ Feed ➜ Show the most recent
  • Libsyn: Libsyn show ➜ Destinations ➜ Libsyn Classic Feed ➜ Advanced Options ➜ Episode/Post Limit

2. More episodes make your podcast RSS feed bigger and slower

Be careful increasing or removing the episode limit. Every additional episode will proportionally increase the size and decrease the speed of your podcast RSS feed.

For example, a feed with 200 episodes will be approximately double the size and double the load time of the same feed with 100 episodes.

There are some exceptions and workarounds to this, which I’ll explain in my next episode.

3. Directory limits don’t affect your subscribers

Apple’s podcasts directory currently limits podcast listings to 300 episodes. (There are some rare cases where 301 or just below 300 will display, perhaps due to a bug.) Other podcast directories may have lower limits.

But thanks to the wonderful, decentralized nature of podcasting, these directory limits don’t matter. That’s because most people subscribe directly to your podcast RSS feed, so the directory has no affect on what the subscriber has access to. Thus, it’s possible for your subscribers to see all of your episodes, almost regardless of what app they use, even if the directory shows fewer.

There are some “walled garden” apps that don’t honor the spirit of podcasting and may limit what the user can access because the app doesn’t actually subscribe them to your feed.

4. Your old episodes could be irrelevant

While you may be tempted to offer all your podcast episodes in your feed, you should be realistic about their long-term value. This is often referred to as “long tail.”

A current-events podcast, for example, has little to no value in old episodes after the events have passed. This may be only partially true for fan-based content (TV shows, movies, sports, etc.).

Thus, increasing your episode limit may not provide any extra value to your audience, because you’re only exposing irrelevant content.

5. Your old episodes could be timeless

On the other side of irrelevance is timelessness. When your content has long-term value, it has “long tail.” These are the kinds of episodes that are still relevant today. You may often refer back to them, they rank well for common search terms, or they provide content that will always be valuable.

Here are some examples of timeless content:

  • Comedy
  • Stories
  • Interviews (depending on the focus of the interview)
  • Education
  • Reviews
  • Inspiration

Fan-based content (TV shows, movies, etc.) is most relevant during the release of the stuff your podcast is about. But there’s still some long tail because people may watch the TV show or movie years later and want a podcast to follow with it.

If your content is truly timeless, then increasing your episode limit exposes more valuable content to your audience.

6. Many people will want to binge on your podcast

Easy access to timeless content (via Netflix, podcasts, and more) feeds our present binging culture. Some creators are even publishing entire seasons of content in one big drop instead of slowly over time.

Even if you publish episode over time, it doesn’t take long to build a back-catalog of content. If someone enters your podcast through high-quality, relevant, engaging content, it’s likely they’ll go back to consume older episodes. They may even do this in a very short amount of time (thus binging).

The more episodes you offer to subscribers, the deeper someone can get engaged with your content. And the deeper they get engaged, the more loyal they become.

7. Every episode contributes to your podcast SEO

Lastly, your podcast’s findability (or search-engine optimization (SEO)) within podcast apps and directories is often greatly affected by the episodes in your feed.

Apple’s podcasts catalog, for example, searches not only show-level information, but also episode-level information. Thus, you could be found for a search based solely on a single episode when your show-level information doesn’t contain any of that content.

The more episodes with good titles you have in your feed, the more opportunities you have to be found for various terms, or to rank better for specific terms.

Thank you for the podcast reviews!

  • Lenny Jennison (AKA “Wendellfish”), host of Victim’s Voice, wrote in iTunes USA, “Must listen! This is all the information you have ever pestered other podcasts hosts for…without any luck!! This podcast covers EVERYTHING you have ever wanted to know about setting up your pod, from website to how to appropriately provide worth to listeners BEFORE asking for money!”
  • Eli Persinger wrote in iTunes USA, “Detailed and Delightful! Daniel’s The Audacity to Podcast is THE place to go on a ‘listening tour’ as you prepare to launch your own podcast. Heck, if you’ve already been at it awhile, you should STILL listen because this guy has THOUGHT THINGS THROUGH. Whether talking about SEO, show notes, equipment or URLs, the advice here is SOLID and DETAILED. What a find!”

Your written iTunes reviews encourage me and they help other people find the podcast. If you appreciate the podcasting information I share, please write your own review on iTunes or Stitcher!

Check out My Podcast Reviews to get your own podcast reviews automatically emailed to you and learn how to grow your audience with reviews!

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Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

7 comments on “What You Need to Know about Episode Limits and Your Podcast RSS Feed – TAP302

  1. lenny jennison says:

    Whoot Whoot! Heard my review read aloud! Super excited!

    Please checkout “Wendellfish’s” Podcast: Victim’s Voice! It is located on all podcast platforms, caution, it is a Self-Help show about overcoming adversity and the foster care system! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Lenny! I updated the show notes with your podcast name and link to your show.

      Do you watch Once Upon a Time? The main character (Emma) grew up in a tough foster care system.

  2. Question – limiting the episodes on the feed – they would still be playable and accessible on my website blog posts, correct? Just not in the directories?

  3. Thank you for this post! I’ve been looking for the answer to episode limits for a while! You nailed it.

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