educational

Search Engines and RSS Feeds

Anand Ramchandran

Starting from 10,000 computers at Google, the Googlebot wanders around the Internet, blindly indexing whatever it finds. The level of interaction between the crawled Website and the bot is so limited that it's highly improbable that you can get across to search engine users the exact message you want to convey. Let's take a look at what could be done to introduce a little more of the human element into this process.

An Introduction to RSS Feeds
For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a brief introduction: “RSS” is a format for syndicating news and content (think of it as a snapshot of what’s new at your Web site). All you need to implement an RSS feed is your content, and one RSS text file.

The following sites will help you to understand, create and publish RSS feeds:

2RSS.com
myRSS.com
RSS Tutorial

Once you've created your RSS file, add the file to various RSS directory services and enjoy the traffic coming in. Any website can integrate and update your feed periodically; so any changes you make on your site are automatically posted on to the Internet. Update your RSS file, and all the external sites that subscribe to your feed will be automatically updated as well.

How RSS Feeds Benefit Search Engine Ranking
Normally, you will have a bot come into your site and just follow the links around, ranking the site based on a highly debatable system. If the bot were to look for a specific RSS file which the Webmaster updates with information on what's new in his site instead, the Webmaster would be able to convey exactly what he wanted to the search engine's end users, and the bot doesn't need to come back to your site unless you put something new in your RSS file.

Since your RSS file automatically gets updated all over the Internet, the ranking could be based on what's new; meaning your site gets better ranking if you have new content on it. This is better for the users because they want new content, better for the search engines since they don't have to come back to your site unless you post something new, and better for the Webmaster since you now have a quick and efficient way of telling the bot what to index – with no need to rely on the dubious “how to” tips that many SEO's give you.

A Huge Free Traffic Source
RSS feeds are a huge source of free traffic that will bring in new users, so I find it surprising that there are hardly any adult sites now using RSS feeds to promote themselves. One of the few exceptions is Adult Industry News (others can be found here).

Considering the total number of online adult service providers (do you have any idea how many?) and the huge advertising budgets they have, I find it amazing that only a handful of people are using RSS feeds as a means of getting people to visit their websites.

It's a huge untapped market for high quality traffic.

How many of your members visit your site everyday to check if you have anything new on it? Do you send mailers to your members about what's new at your site? Is it possible for you to contact each and every member, even those who haven't renewed their subscription? Think again.

All you have to do is create an RSS feed and inform all of your members, current or not, to use their RSS reader to update themselves about changes to your site. These readers automatically pick up updates in your feed, and inform the user that you have made site changes every time he opens the reader.

Get a free RSS reader to understand this concept. I'm sure RSS will increase your renewal rate.

The success or failure of any technology or concept or invention depends on the number of people using it. If a lot of people begin using this amazing tool, it would increase the benefits this tool offers tenfold. The least you can do is give it a shot. I just updated my RSS file with information about this article, and in 30 minutes, that information will be found all across the Internet. Welcome to the blog world.

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