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Optimize RSS Feeds for Search Engines
Tips for Helping Your RSS Feed Perform!
In some ways RSS is very similar to HTML, the language
commonly used to create websites. Just as with HTML,
webmasters using traditional search engine optimization
tactics when creating an RSS feed will find that their
RSS feed receives additional exposure and interest.
Simple steps to optimize an RSS feed for
1.) The title should contain important
To state the obvious, the title should be relevant
and not misleading, while still emphasizing keywords.
Ultimately, the title should entice the reader to read
on, not mislead them.
2.) Display RSS feeds.
Most webmasters display their feeds as content
on their website. When displaying a feed be sure to
use PHP, ASP or HTML so that search engines will spider
the contents of the feed displayed. If using a template
to display feeds, use header tags to define the appearance
of the Channel Title and Item Titles. Many search engines
weight header tags with more importance. See Displaying
RSS Feeds for additional information - http://www.small-business-software.net/display-rss.htm
3.) Internal & external Links.
Within a feed you should always use the full
path of any links, keeping in mind that other sites
may syndicate the contents of the RSS feed. Links that
are not local to the site should launch a new browser.
While this is not specific to search engines it will
help keep visitors on your site.
4.) Link text should emphasize keywords.
It is no longer a deep, dark secret that the
text used for incoming links will help a site contextually
define the keywords that the site appears for in the
search engines. Keeping that in mind, be sure to use
keywords in any link text that points back to your website.
5.) My.Yahoo and My.MSN.
This is surprisingly simple to do but often
overlooked by publishers and webmasters. The fastest
way to have an RSS feed spidered by Yahoo or MSN is
to include the feed on a personal my.yahoo or my.msn
home page. Simply create an account on the respective
search engines and customize the home page to include
your RSS feed. This is done by adding content and listing
the URL to the RSS feed. Typically, within 24-48 hours
the feed's contents will be spidered and indexed by
Yahoo and MSN.
6.) Theme feeds.
Feeds should be themed. This will help with
themed links back to a publisher's website from anyone
syndicating the feed's content.
7. ) Link popularity.
Increase link popularity by submitting the RSS feed,
blog or podcast to the appropriate directories. The
following directories allow submissions of specific
kinds of RSS feeds. Be sure to follow the guidelines
of each site and choose categories wisely.
Submit Podcasts - http://www.podcasting-tools.com/submit-podcasts.htm
Submit RSS feeds - http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm
Submit Blogs - http://www.blog-connection.com/submit-blogs.htm
8.) RSS feed descriptions.
RSS feed descriptions are generally summaries or introductions
to other content. Often, feed creators will provide
additional information on an HTML site, enticing the
reader to click through for the full information if
it is a topic that is of interest to them. Provide enough
teaser copy that the reader can easily discern if the
contents are something that is important to them.
9.) Subscribe to feeds.
This might seem obvious, but a surprisingly
large number of publishers do not subscribe to their
own feed. This is a great way to visualize what your
customers see, and experiment with formatting and integrating
HTML into feeds.
10.) Image ads.
Add your corporate logo to your RSS feed. Create
a brand and enforce that brand by including the image
in the RSS feed. The image will enhance your corporate
identity and dress up the look of your feed by adding
your corporate logo.
11.) Alphabetical rank.
Many feed readers list feeds alphabetically
in the reader. Feed channels that begin with A will
naturally appear in the top of the feed list in most
feed readers. If you wish to appear in the top of list
of feeds that a reader has subscribed to, keep this
tip in mind.
12.) Meaningful Links
Each item in your feed should contain a unique
URL associated with it. This will direct users to associated
information. Many find using target URLs with the "#"
symbol in the link to identify specific content useful.
Most marketers have a love-hate relationship
with search engines. Search engines have the abilitiy
to make even the most confident webmaster feel powerless
. Let's face it - all of us have felt the wrath of the
search engine powers-that-be at one time or another,
and while it may be difficult to know what line was
crossed or how we fell out of favor, following some
basic guidelines will be helpful in optomizing feeds
for search engines.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
a wireless text messaging software company.
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