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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 terms.
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.

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.

Display RSS Feeds on Websites

Displaying RSS

RSS offers webmasters a unique opportunity to display fresh content on websites. While publishing an RSS feed is a great way to generate site interest and increase communication, syndicating and displaying feeds from related relevant sources can also generate interest, increase traffic and improve search engine ranking.

RSS Radars

Webmasters with limited time or capacity can syndicate related content. In a nut shell, webmasters can create RSS radars by combining a mix of content from related sources by grouping similarly-themed feeds. RSS feeds are updated at different intervals, providing an ever-changing collection of related information.

RSS is a form of eXtensible Markup Language or XML. Viewing an RSS feed in a web browser generally produces code that is not easy for website visitors to decipher. As a result, webmasters use tools to display the content contained in an RSS feed.

Content contained in RSS feeds can be added to websites a number of different ways. Each method for displaying the RSS feed has pros and cons associated with it. Webmasters will need to determine which option will best meet their hosting and technology needs.

Using Javascript to Display RSS

Javascript is the easiest way to display RSS feeds on a website. There are a number of sites that will allow you to generate code that can be inserted into a website. The javascript will auto-update, showing the latest headlines as the feed is updated. Each time a visitor visits the website the javascript pulls the data from the feed. Often, the various scripts can be customized so that the look of the feed can be made to match a specific websiteeeds with hopes that the search engines will devour and spider the contents, you will be disappointed. When javascript is used to display RSS feeds, search engines do not actually “see” the contents of the feed, meaning that the search engines will not index the contents of the feed within the website.

Feedroll – Feedroll is a free service for syndicating RSS and ATOM news feeds on your website. Simply select a feed, customize the design, then copy and paste the code provided onto your page.
http://www.feedroll.com

Using PHP to Display RSS

PHP is a slightly more complex solution for displaying RSS. Like javascript, as the contents of the feed updates, the web page contents will update as the page is refreshed. The benefit of using PHP to display RSS is that the contents of the feed displayed with the webpage can be spidered and indexed by search engines. The result is a feed that always displays the most current information from the RSS feed and the web page content is considered search engine spider and robot-friendly.

rss2html.php – The rss2html.php script allows users to create web pages that will always display the most current information from the RSS feed, and because the resulting page is pure HTML, it will be in a format friendly to search engine robots. Using rss2html.php, webmasters can customize the format and look of the web page created from the feed. The RSS feed’s contents can easily be integrated into an existing website’s theme. The rss2html.php script parses the RSS file, extracts the pertinent information, formats it, and serves it up as regular HTML.
http://www.feedforall.com/free-php-script.htm

FeedRoll Pro – FeedRollPro was really designed to enable publishers to syndicate their own content on other sites. But it can be used to syndicate news feeds from other sites on your own pages. http://www.feedrollpro.com

Using ASP to Display RSS

ASP is similar to PHP. The free ASP/ASP.NET scripts can be used to convert RSS feeds into HTML and display on ASP/ASP.NET web-server.

rss2html.asp – ByteScout has implemented a guide for displaying of RSS/XML feed using free RSS2HTML.ASP script in ASP or ASP.NET environment. This script can be used free of charge on any ASP or ASP.NET web-server and generate HTML from RSS feed. This free ASP script uses MSXML to load RSS feed from URL and display it. You can use it as a standalone or call from script on HTML page to generate HTML content from RSS feed and then display on your HTML page.
http://bytescout.com/how_to_display_rss_using_asp.html

RssFeed – RssFeed is an open-source custom ASP.NET server control that displays the contents of a specified RSS feed in an ASP.NET web page.
http://www.scottonwriting.com/sowBlog/RssFeed.htm

If PHP or ASP is used to update feeds, the website will have free fresh, relevant content each time the feeds referenced are updated.

Export RSS to HTML
If you wish to dress up the feed’s appearance you can use a template exporting the feed as HTML or an HTML table. Publishers can incorporate exported tables into an HTML template using a server-side include. Each time the feed is updated, the feed will need to be exported to HTML and uploaded along with the feed. Though this only takes a few moments, exporting RSS to HTML does require webmaster intervention to update the content. The end result, though, is a complete web page with an RSS feed in it that will be search engine-friendly.

FeedForAll – FeedForAll allows users to export RSS feeds from RSS to HTML. The look of the HTML can be modified to match an existing website’s design.
http://www.feedforall.com

Using Services
There are a number of services available that host and display RSS feeds, in many cases free of charge. Because these services operate on a different domain server there is little benefit to end-users displaying their feeds in this fashion. That said, the services are generally free of charge, so you get what you pay for.

RSS2HTML.com – Select a layout, color scheme and enter the URL of the feed. A web page URL will be generated that will display the feed in the selected scheme.
http://www.rss2html.com

FeedBurner – FeedBurner provides a number of online services. Among them is a service that displays RSS feeds on a website.
http://www.feedburner.com

Using XSL to Display RSS
Although using XSL and CSS stylesheets to display XML directly is easy to understand in theory, it is rather tricky to implement in the real world and is very tough for novices to use successfully. Webmasters must be fairly familiar with CSS and XSL to have the formatting work well, and webmasters then have to address browser incompatibilities and exceptions. As a result, not a lot of resources or services yet exist to display RSS using XSL.

Using highly targeted feeds, webmasters can enhance their websites with themed content. Ultimately, providing relevant, educational or newsworthy information from reputable related sources will establish expertise in a specific area.

 

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