Search Engine Optimization for
Tips for Helping Your RSS Feed
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. See Displaying RSS
Feeds for additional information - http://www.small-business-software.net/display-rss.htm
3.) Internal & external
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
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
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 ability 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 optimizing feeds
for search engines.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
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.