RSS Feed Tips to Help Search
RSS feeds are a great communication
medium, and when properly managed, web feeds can
bring in significant Internet traffic. RSS feeds
should contain compelling themed content with
episodic titles that are united in common broad
theme. Use RSS feeds as an online marketing and
search engine optimization tool. Just as optimizing
an HTML web page will increase exposure, so too
will an RSS feed that is properly optimized and
promoted. Use these simple tips to improve your
web feed exposure.
The channel title in your RSS feed is one of the
most important aspect. The channel title should
be keyword rich and contain information related
to the general theme of the RSS feed. In order
to maximize compatibility with RSS readers, it
is best not to include any HTML in the channel
title. The channel title is a website visitors
first glimpse at the RSS feed, so its important
to make an impression and attract the interest
of casual browsers. Additionally, many of the
RSS feed directories and search engines use the
information contained in the RSS feed's channel
title and description to index the feed. In order
for the feed to be properly categorized, it is
important that the information contained in these
fields be relevant to the contents contained in
the feed. If included at all, the blog, brand,
or company name should be at the end not the beginning
of the RSS feed channel title.
The channel description field provides an opportunity
to expand on the broad theme of the RSS feed.
The channel description should contain related
keywords and phrases, but it should be written
to capture the interest of readers not search
engine spiders. HTML can be used to decorate and
emphasize specific text in the description field.
In summation the channel description should provide
a compelling overview of the RSS feed's contents.
RSS Feed Item Titles
The item titles should be 50-75 characters with
spaces. In order to increase readability and compatibility
with news readers, the RSS feed item titles should
not be encoded with any HTML. Think of an RSS
feed item title in the same way that you would
a webpage title. The RSS feed item title is your
opportunity to capture the interest of your reader.
Really an RSS feed item title is nothing more
than a headline. The most effective item titles
are calls to action that grab the readers attention.
Include pertinent keywords or keyword phrases
in the items title and this will help any individuals
doing deep feed searches for specific content.
Optimize all aspects of the web feed. While the
feed should be optimized for search engines, using
the same techniques a webmaster uses on a website,
the optimization should not be at the readers
expense. The content in an RSS feed is often what
leads readers to click or not click through. Readers
will judge RSS feeds on the quality of the content.
This means that grammar and punctuation do matter.
Consistent grammatical errors will reduce the
writers credibility and the number of subscribers.
Using RSS feeds, publishers have the unique opportunity
to determine the anchor text that will be used
to link to internal website pages. RSS feeds are
often syndicated, and even more often compelling
feed items will often be re posted by other publishers.
With that in mind, when including links back to
a website in the item description field, use anchor
text that is a relevant keyword or phrase. Anchor
text is one factor that search engines use in
determining a website's ranking for specific keywords
Number of Feed Items
Routinely prune the old items in an RSS feeds
and archive the content contained in the feed
to ensure that feeds load quickly in RSS readers.
If you are using a third party service to host
your feeds, keep in mind that FeedBurner will
truncate or not display RSS feeds that it finds
to be too large.
If you are displaying an RSS feed as an HTML web
page it makes sense to use H1 or H2 tags to display
the RSS feed's item titles. If the RSS feed is
optimized, the website will benefit from the keyword
emphasis by using the header tags.
RSS Feed URLs
As with HTML web pages, the URLs contained in
an RSS feed should contain keywords if possible.
Use hyphens not underscores, to separate the keywords
in the RSS feed's URL.
Add an Image
Consider adding an image to your RSS feed to enhance
its appearance in an RSS reader. The image should
be no large 144x400 and it is recommended that
the image be 88x31. Most RSS readers will display
the feed image above the feed contents, this is
a great way to reinforce brand and establish brand
recognition. Additionally you can add images to
the RSS feed's description field. In all cases,
it is important that the full URL to the image
be referenced, because if the feed is syndicated
it will report a broken image if its attempting
to retrieve it locally.
Some of the RSS feed directories
use the feed's website favorite icons to flag
the RSS feed. The RSS feeds containing a favorite
icon stand out from others in the directories
so be sure to include a favicon in the domain's
root directory. RSS feeds are a great marketing
tool, but like web pages, they must be optimized
so that you can reap the full marketing benefits.
Taking the time to implement some basic optimization
tips will steadily increase your RSS feeds exposure.
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.