to Improve News Feeds
RSS feeds are a great communication medium, and when
properly managed, web feeds can bring in significant Internet traffic.
RSS feeds should contain compelling themed content with episodic
titles that are united in common broad theme. Use RSS feeds as an
online marketing and search engine optimization tool. Just as optimizing
an HTML web page will increase exposure, so too will an RSS feed
that is properly optimized and promoted. Use these simple tips to
improve your web feed exposure.
The channel title in your RSS feed is one of the most important
aspect. The channel title should be keyword rich and contain information
related to the general theme of the RSS feed. In order to maximize
compatibility with RSS readers, it is best not to include any HTML
in the channel title. The channel title is a website visitors first
glimpse at the RSS feed, so its important to make an impression
and attract the interest of casual browsers. Additionally, many
of the RSS feed directories and search engines use the information
contained in the RSS feed's channel title and description to index
the feed. In order for the feed to be properly categorized, it is
important that the information contained in these fields be relevant
to the contents contained in the feed. If included at all, the blog,
brand, or company name should be at the end not the beginning of
the RSS feed channel title.
The channel description field provides an opportunity to expand
on the broad theme of the RSS feed. The channel description should
contain related keywords and phrases, but it should be written to
capture the interest of readers not search engine spiders. HTML
can be used to decorate and emphasize specific text in the description
field. In summation the channel description should provide a compelling
overview of the RSS feed's contents.
RSS Feed Item Titles
The item titles should be 50-75 characters with spaces. In order
to increase readability and compatibility with news readers, the
RSS feed item titles should not be encoded with any HTML. Think
of an RSS feed item title in the same way that you would a webpage
title. The RSS feed item title is your opportunity to capture the
interest of your reader. Really an RSS feed item title is nothing
more than a headline. The most effective item titles are calls to
action that grab the readers attention. Include pertinent keywords
or keyword phrases in the items title and this will help any individuals
doing deep feed searches for specific content.
Optimize all aspects of the web feed. While the feed should be optimized
for search engines, using the same techniques a webmaster uses on
a website, the optimization should not be at the readers expense.
The content in an RSS feed is often what leads readers to click
or not click through. Readers will judge RSS feeds on the quality
of the content. This means that grammar and punctuation do matter.
Consistent grammatical errors will reduce the writers credibility
and the number of subscribers.
Using RSS feeds, publishers have the unique opportunity to determine
the anchor text that will be used to link to internal website pages.
RSS feeds are often syndicated, and even more often compelling feed
items will often be re posted by other publishers. With that in
mind, when including links back to a website in the item description
field, use anchor text that is a relevant keyword or phrase. Anchor
text is one factor that search engines use in determining a website's
ranking for specific keywords and phrases.
Number of Feed Items
Routinely prune the old items in an RSS feeds and archive the content
contained in the feed to ensure that feeds load quickly in RSS readers.
If you are using a third party service to host your feeds, keep
in mind that FeedBurner will truncate or not display RSS feeds that
it finds to be too large.
If you are displaying an RSS feed as an HTML web page it makes sense
to use H1 or H2 tags to display the RSS feed's item titles. If the
RSS feed is optimized, the website will benefit from the keyword
emphasis by using the header tags.
RSS Feed URLs
As with HTML web pages, the URLs contained in an RSS feed should
contain keywords if possible. Use hyphens not underscores, to separate
the keywords in the RSS feed's URL.
Add an Image
Consider adding an image to your RSS feed to enhance its appearance
in an RSS reader. The image should be no large 144x400 and it is
recommended that the image be 88x31. Most RSS readers will display
the feed image above the feed contents, this is a great way to reinforce
brand and establish brand recognition. Additionally you can add
images to the RSS feed's description field. In all cases, it is
important that the full URL to the image be referenced, because
if the feed is syndicated it will report a broken image if its attempting
to retrieve it locally.
Some of the RSS feed directories use the feed's website
favorite icons to flag the RSS feed. The RSS feeds containing a
favorite icon stand out from others in the directories so be sure
to include a favicon in the domain's root directory. RSS feeds are
a great marketing tool, but like web pages, they must be optimized
so that you can reap the full marketing benefits. Taking the time
to implement some basic optimization tips will steadily increase
your RSS feeds exposure.
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 NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.