RSS Search Engine Optimization
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 search engines:
1.) The title should contain important search
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
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 NotePage http://www.notepage.net
a wireless text messaging software company.