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What are the SEO benefits of RSS?


1:28 pm on Apr 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

With my limited knowledge on the subject, all I know is that syndication is 'really good' for websites as it helps increase their popularity. What actually 'really good' is in technical and SEO terms. I think I get the 'popularity' bit as more people would have access to my website's content but aren't there disadvantages at the same time? For example if another website one or more items from my RSS feed, they would also qualify in terms of PR, using my own keywords (in other words competing with my website)!?

Another thing still unclear in my head is what type of content should go in as an item in the RSS file? I.e say a website with a subject of sightseeing in Egypt: There would be several categories under sightseeing such as 'nile crouse', 'pyramid of giza', 'Neferchichi's Tomb ' etc. Say each of these attractions were listed on a seperate page. Is it these pages that an RSS should contain? Obviously not every page on the website would worth syndicating, but how do we get to choose which pages are applicable/suitable.

Any thoughts welcome - and please correct me if I am wrong somewhere!


2:11 pm on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My take on feeds is that they are great in the sense that they get your content 'out there' using an established network that to some extent is distinct from the normal methods (in particular searches on SEs).

The downside, from an SEO point of view, is that it is even more dependant on relevancy and freshness than traditional approaches.

So you increase your reach, but have to invest more in terms of interesting and updated content. After all a feed is meant to be used to send changeable data to a user, as opposed to the tradtional method of searching to see what's out there. The classic example of this is of course news headlines. The attraction of a feed (for a user) is that you can see the most up to date stuff at a glance. The challenge for someone like yourself is to have that data updated regularly enough that it is attractive.

In my view it is a mistake to assume it works in the same ways as traditional SEO (a source of extra links etc). The overhead of finding fresh material may not be offset by extra visitors.

That said, it does no harm, which makes it attractive from an SEO point of view.

I think the best advice for how to use RSS for SEO purposes is to use it as it was intended, namely a channel for information, and not an end in itself. Using RSS for a list of product pages, for example, is boring to end users, and unlikely to find subscribers. An RSS feed used to publicise commissioned articles is much more useful.

1:11 am on May 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree with Zoltan: the purpose of an RSS feed is to get updated, newsy content out to users (either in their own aggregators or as links on other sites). It's not primarily an SEO tool. If you don't have content that can keep being updated, it's probably not worth doing.

For your Egyptian example, you could do "New tour of Aswan", "Museum changes hours", or even "updated Luxor page".


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