I recently came across a business owner who has three separate web sites related to the products and services he sells. The structure and content is similar on each site, though not duplicated to the point that any site would be penalized. They all deal with similar keywords and each site often shows up in the same SERPs at Google, Yahoo, etc.
One of the sites, he says, has much higher rankings than the other two. And the main difference, from his point of view, is that this one site offers an RSS/XML news feed. He's convinced that offering this feed is giving this site more credit and helping it rank higher than the sites without the feed.
I suppose it could be nothing more than this site having more incoming links because of the feed. Or perhaps there's an "authority" trigger because this site offers news about the products/services.
Has anyone seen any evidence of an RSS feed directly helping a site's rankings? Any other theories for or against what this business owner believes to be true?
The key here isn't that they provide a feed service the real value that the search engine probably sees is that the content is constantly updated and fresh.
More and more sites are using news feed services just so that they have new content on their sites.... If the page is new and fresh and the content is RELEVANT to the rest of the meta data then you'll get a better listing.
Two of my websites have been offering rss feeds for some weeks now. One of them doesn't get any benefit, which is probably because it is targeted at a very small audience. With the other one I think that it gets more traffic and backlinks because the daily updated news are now spread via tons of blog- and rss directories.
If you release high quality feeds, how can anyone find them? Visit syndic8 and sort through some of the feeds there. There are some real gems, but I don't think there's an easy way to sort out all the really bad feeds. I even tried a Google search for filetype:rss news and found a lot of garbage feeds mixed in. What's really needed is a major section at dmoz for sites that provide rss feeds.