When you submit your podcast to Apple Podcasts (formerly known as iTunes), you'll need to choose at least one podcast category.
You can choose two categories in Apple Podcasts, but the most important is your primary category. Here, you should choose the most accurate category for your show. This will be indexed by Apple Podcasts and other directories. It's the one that will appear most frequently, so make it count!
Dan Misener's written a great guide on the most crowded categories. In his research he found:
"Christianity, Music, and Comedy are the most crowded primary categories. If you’re trying to decide between two different podcast categories, and both seem like a good fit… pick the less-crowded one."
His advice is to choose the most specific category you can find. For example, the less competitive "Arts: Food" category is better than "Society & Culture."
And, if you can, avoid picking Christianity, Music, or Comedy as your primary category.
From time to time, Apple will introduce new categories. In July 2019, they added new top-level categories such as Fiction, History, and True Crime — as well as dozens of new subcategories. (You can see the updated list of supported categories in Apple Podcasts help). Transistor supports these new categories.
Once you've chosen your podcast's main category, you'll want to make the title of your show and your cover art stand out.
To do this, you can use this utility. It compares your show's listing up against other podcasts in that category.
There are a few different ways to differentiate your artwork:
Your podcast category is important, but don't stress about it too much. Many other factors will define your show. Regardless of category, the golden rule of podcasting still applies: "Make it interesting, and ensure your audio quality is high."