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Google Reader Can Now Follow Any Website

Even Without a Feed

     
6:49 am on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It appears that Google Reader can now let you track changes on any site, even if they don't have their own RSS feed. They say that they will make their own custom feeds for the site.

Follow changes to any website [googlereader.blogspot.com]

Feeds make it easy to follow updates to all kinds of webpages, from blogs to news sites to Craigslist queries, but unfortunately not all pages on the web have feeds. Today we're rolling out a change in Google Reader that lets you create a custom feed to track changes on pages that don't have their own feed.

1:47 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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this will make it more difficult to block scrapers from getting access to your content and is one more example of google's pattern of disintermediation.

all your content are belong to us...

4:10 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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OK, let's get practical: CAN THIS BE BLOCKED?
4:14 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It says website owners can opt-out, which means Google has again, opted sites in by default.

Just wonderful.

4:30 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sure you can opt out- according to google by blocking google in robots.txt or adding noarchive to every last page in your site. good grief.
4:41 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In other words, if you want Google to spider your site, you effectively must "opt-in" to this.

While normally a loyal Google supported, I must say that I am disturbed by this new "feature."

5:16 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well.. It saves me from creating a RSS feed. And as all pages are already in their index for everyone to see and read in Google.. Its just another way of publishing pages and follow changes on those pages.
5:24 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the trick is to provide a RSS feed, and to limit how much content is displayed.
5:36 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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this is just another good example of Google trying to keep users on their own site, instead of visiting our webpages.
...maybe the user visited our site once or twice a week to check up, but now they can just use google reader instead.

google already allow adsense ads to be placed inside feeds hosted by feedburner. i wonder whether ads will appear in these as well.

5:42 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Looks like the trick is to provide a RSS feed, and to limit how much content is displayed.

Yeah, this looks like the best solution. At least for now, Google Reader only offers the "track this page" if it doesn't find a valid

<link type="application/rss+xml"
(or whatever) in the source code of that page.

So, if you have a blog anyway or any other RSS data stream, just add the <link> to that in the head of every page of your site.

Of course, eventually Google will just give users a different means of accessing this feature. :/

7:02 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Easiest solution, add the below to every page of your website:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" href="http://www.yoursite.com/some.rss" title="Your News">

Google reader won't let you add a page that has that in the HTML, it will just grab the feed.

9:33 am on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The opt-out page says you can opt out by blocking Googlebot in robots.txt (Yeah, right. Watch everybody rush to do that ), or add a <meta name="googlebot" content="noarchive"> tag to pages you don't want included (i.e. all of them). I already have <meta name="robots" content="noarchive"> on all my pages, which appears to be honoured for the SERPs so why does this need a Google specific tag?
9:41 am on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The robots tag may be sufficient. I tried adding the homepage of one of my sites and got

Google was not able to access this page to check for updates. This page may be unavailable or have other restrictions that prevent Google from getting updates.
12:58 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google doesn't fully search every page they visit on the first pass and then only scans for fresh materials on subsequent passes so it's not a surprise that RSS isn't needed to fuel this service.

It does make their feedburner purchase a little redundant however.

1:21 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Can you opt-out with meta robots noindex? It doesn't specifically say.
1:28 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sure you can opt out- according to google by blocking google in robots.txt or adding noarchive to every last page in your site. good grief.

Adding the NoArchive would be my very first and only choice. We've been using NoArchive for years now across all sites. You can utilize the NoArchive Meta or serve an X-Robots-Tag in the server headers globally. :)

2:07 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Gee, I wonder if it will pick up price changes on ecom pages?
2:08 pm on Jan 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We've been using NoArchive for years now across all sites.

Any negative impact on rankings?

6:23 am on Feb 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the heads up, NoArchive goes on all important pages ASAP.
4:38 am on Mar 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys,
I'm very new to this RSS stuff. What is this about NoArchive and how does one implement it in a web site?

Thanks,
Bill
4:52 am on Mar 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The NoArchive meta tag prevents Google from showing the Cached link for a page. We've had several threads about NoArchive [bing.com]. You can pick up some good information there.
6:28 am on Mar 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi Bill,
Thanks. I'll check those out.

Bill Pitts