Hosting Your Own Podcast Feed Via Simplecast

December - 2021

I'm using Simplecast to host my podcast. I want to use them for hosting the MP3s and images, but not the feed itself. I want the feed to be on my site so I've got control of it and can point it somewhere else if that becomes necessary (e.g. Simplecast goes out of business or start inserting ads or whatever).

The way I'm going about that is by grabbing a copy of the original simplecast feed and posting it on my site. There are a few things to do to make this work in a way that plays nicely with Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast directories.

Here's what I do on the Simplecast site:

  • Under "Settings - Site Settings - General Settings" - Check the box for "No Index"
  • Under "Settings - Distribution - RSS Feed - Advanced Settings" - Set "Override Feed URL" to the feed location on my site (i.e. https://www.alanwsmith.com/thepodofalan.xml)
  • Under "Settings - Distribution - RSS Feed - Advanced Settings" - Change "Feed Status" to "Unlisted" (This add <googleplay:block>yes</googleplay:block> and <itunes:block>yes</itunes:block> tags to prevent those services from accessing the feed on Simplecast)
  • Under "Settings - Site Settings - Advanced" - Set the URL for "Alternate Show Website" to the podcast page on my site (i.e. https://www.alanwsmith.com/the-pod-of-alan)

That gets the base XML file setup on Simplecast. The next step is to move it to my site and make a few more updates in flight.

The changes I make are:

  • Change the https://feeds.simplecast.com/xxxxx link in to point to my feed (i.e.`)
  • Remove <googleplay:block>yes</googleplay:block> to let Google access the feed
  • Remove <itunes:block>yes</itunes:block> to let Apple access the feed
  • Remove <meta content="noindex" name="robots" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"/> to let other search engines access the feed
  • Remove <generator>https://simplecast.com</generator> - I don't know if this really matters, but I don't want any simplecast URLs other than the images and MP3 files to be in play

Without doing all this, Google kept picking up the feed on the simplecast site and wouldn't let me point to the version on my site. I'm still trying to fight through that. Right now, the feed link in the Google Podcast Manager is saying "Not Served" and when I go to the preview link it says "This RSS feed is not recognized as the authoritative feed for the show.".

I just made the change to "Unlisted" detailed above. Hoping that helps in a couple of days. I could try deleting the podcast and starting over, but I'm hesitant to do that for fear of something getting gunked up on the back end.

Note: Originally, I removed <atom:link href="https://simplecast.superfeedr.com/" rel="hub" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom"/> but it doesn't look like that's there anymore after switching the site to unlisted.

Reference: https://help.simplecast.com/en/articles/2701611-block-your-rss-feed-from-search-engine-indexing