Table of Contents
- What is an RSS feed?
- Setting up your RSS Reader
- Are RSS feed SEO Benefits Real?
- Does Adding RSS to My Site Improve Search Ranking?
- What Does Google Say About it?
- Does Google index RSS feeds?
- Are There Any Downsides to RSS Feeds?
What is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed notifies the users about the latest updates on their favorite websites. Like Google search features, RSS feed offers a convenient way to consume content.
An RSS feed is an excellent way for website owners to engage with their readers. If your website has a substantial readership, creating an RSS web feed can help you build engagement and ensure fresh and relevant content reaches your target audience.
Most people think RSS feed is dead, but it’s pretty much alive and kickin’ in the world of search engine marketing. Readers who consume online content of an ever-evolving nature, such as actionable SEO copywriting tips,style=”font-often use an RSS feed to get all their good reads in one place.
As part of the technical SEO, setting up an RSS link on your website allows visitors to subscribe to your blog posts. Suppose you publish a new SEO blog on SEO tips or social media writing advice. In that case, your subscribers will be notified through their RSS feeds. At the users’ end, the SEO blog feeds will display the title and description of the blogs. Some RSS feeds even feature stripped-down images and videos. By clicking on the feed, they will be redirected to your website, where they can read the full story.
Setting up your RSS Reader
Setting up an RSS feed on your website ensures you never lose your ideal readers. It helps you stay on top of the mind of your target audience and attract quality website traffic every time you publish a new blog.
Setting up an RSS reader is a pretty straightforward process. With a free-to-use RSS Builder and a little bit of HTML coding maneuver, you can set up an RSS feed on your website in minutes.
You can add the title, published date, and description of your new post, which will appear in the RSS Reader of your subscribers. Here’s a step-by-step video tutorial to help you set up an RSS builder on your website:
WordPress users can use a plugin to set up an RSS feed on their website. Some common plugins are WP RSS Aggregator, Feedzy RSS Feeds, WPeMatico RSS Feed Fetcher, RSS with Images, and WordPress RSS Feed Retriever, to name a few.
If all of this is too technical for you, consider hiring a website developer or a digital marketing specialist for the job.
Are RSS feed SEO Benefits Real?
Having an RSS feed has no direct search marketing benefits, but it’s one of those nice-to-haves that elevate the user experience. An RSS feed is a two-way street that helps publishers and readers alike.
While readers use an RSS feed to stay updated on the latest news and blog posts, publishers, on the other hand, use an RSS feed to build a loyal, long-term readership. Moreover, readers can have their own news feed reader personalized to their preferences.
RSS feed may not give you an instant search engine ranking boost, but it does help Google and other search engines to crawl and index your new pages. Let’s say your website publishes blogs regularly. Setting up an RSS feed allows the search engines to quickly crawl and index your new pages and show them to your audience.
Another RSS SEO benefit in terms of content marketing is that it drives repeat visitors to your website, which will reflect positively in your Google Analytics. As a result, your website may get a slight ranking boost.
SEO RSS feeds can be highly beneficial for news sites, blogs, forums, and websites like Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land that update their content frequently. Although their primary focus is building engagement, the efforts often translate into better search engine optimization performance in the long run.
Does Adding RSS to My Site Improve Search Ranking?
Ask any Internet marketing company and they will tell you that there’s no direct correlation between RSS and search rankings. However, the RSS feed helps search engines with content discovery. Whenever a website publishes a new page, the RSS feed works as a Sitemap, allowing Google to crawl quickly and index new pages.
RSS is preferred over Sitemap by most bloggers and news websites because Sitemap can handle only 1000 URLs per website, whereas there are no URL caps in RSS.
As far as the search ranking goes, there’s no straight answer.
Since RSS helps build engagement and drive repeat visitors to the website, Google may take notice and reward the website with search visibility. If the visitor pattern continues for a long time, the website may also get a ranking boost.
What Does Google Say About It?
Like it or not, almost all of your search engine optimization activities are influenced by Google guidelines. If Google says it’s the right thing to do, you do it – no questions about it. Regarding using RSS, Google has clarified that it doesn’t improve search rankings. However, Google also specified that RSS helps Googlebot to crawl and index new pages quickly. As a result, Google can show your new pages to visitors based on their interests and browsing behaviors.
According to Google, using RSS feeds can enhance user experience. Websites that are working hard to create content for their target audience can leverage RSS feeds to retain, grow and engage with their ideal visitors.
Does Google index RSS feeds?
Yes, it does. Google indexes RSS feeds as long as the publisher sets them up properly through RSS feed submission. Google will crawl the RSS feed regularly and index new pages as and when they are published. As a matter of fact, RSS feeds get your web pages crawled and indexed faster than otherwise.
Moreover, RSS feed submission benefits publishers in many ways. Submitting RSS feeds to directory sites helps them tap into an audience base that relies on a feed reader to get the latest updates instead of social media browsing. Here are some of the popular RSS submission directory sites:
Are There Any Downsides to RSS Feeds?
Like most things in life, RSS is not perfect. It has its fair share of disadvantages for both users and website owners. Let’s look at some of the common drawbacks of RSS feeds.
Lack of photos and graphics
RSS feed reader offers a no-frill view of articles that generally lack vivid visuals. While it’s necessary to strip down the article to shave off the extra weight, the text-only feed may appear bland and unappealing.
Exposure to content theft
When you put in a lot of effort to create original, valuable content for your readers, you don’t want someone else to take the credit for it. However, RSS feeds open the backdoor for third-party websites to republish your content without giving the credit where it’s due. So, when you use an RSS feed to syndicate your content, chances are someone might try to mooch off your hard work.
Tracking may not be an option.
When you work hard to create content for your readers, you will want to have some sort of SEO insights to find out if your readership is growing. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to track RSS subscribers accurately. There are certain tools that can estimate the number of subscribers, but you can’t rely on those numbers as they fluctuate like crazy every day.
Most online marketing professionals and local SEO experts think that RSS feed is going obsolete, and it is something that you’ll tell your grandchildren about. But even in 2023, an RSS feed is a must-have for a blog, news website, forum, or any SEO strategy that involves frequent publishing.
RSS feeds help Google crawl and index new pages so that the word gets out faster and reaches the intended audience. You can either code it into your website or get a done-for-you plugin.
If you are still on the fence about getting an RSS feed on your website, here are a few things to consider.
First, you don’t need a comprehensive site audit to make out that the RSS feed has no impact on your ranking whatsoever. However, if a handful of internet marketers are to be believed, RSS web feed might improve certain metrics, eventually giving you a slight ranking boost.
Also, an RSS feed will benefit a content-intensive website more than a static website that barely receives an update.
Frequently Asked Questions
Incorporating an RSS feed on your website can be a smart move. But before you do so, you need to define clear goals, understand your audience’s preferences and behaviors, and look at the benefits and drawbacks of having an RSS feed on your webpage.
Here are a few pros and cons that might help you make the decision –
- 1. Content distribution: RSS feeds are an excellent way to distribute your content directly to your audience. Subscribers can receive updates without having to visit your website every time. This can help increase your content’s reach and engagement.
- 2. User convenience: Many people prefer using RSS feeds because they can consolidate updates from various websites in one place. Users won’t miss out on your latest content even when they don’t regularly visit your site.
- 3. Driving traffic: By offering an RSS feed, you can attract readers who prefer to consume content through feed readers. This can increase the traffic to your website, as users may click through to read the full articles.
- 4. Accessibility: RSS feeds are user-friendly and can be accessed on various devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This will help your content reach a wider audience, regardless of the device they use.
- 5. SEO benefits: Throughout this article, you’ve already understood how having an RSS feed can improve your website’s SEO by allowing search engines to easily discover and index your new content as it is published.
- 1. Changing trends: While RSS feeds are still used on many websites, some users have also shifted towards other content discovery methods such as social media and email newsletters. Depending on your target audience, the demand for RSS feeds might be lower.
- 2. Design limitations: Integrating an RSS feed might require design adjustments to your website’s layout. Ensuring that the feed fits seamlessly into your website design might require some technical work.
- 3. Reduced engagement metrics: If users primarily react to your content through the feed without visiting your website directly, it could impact metrics like page views, time spent on the site, and ad impressions.
- 4. Spam concerns: Some users might consider RSS feeds as a potential source of spam if they are flooded with updates. Make sure to offer clear subscription options and allow users to easily unsubscribe.
- 5. Technical setup: Setting up and maintaining an RSS feed might require technical know-how. You will need to generate a feed, ensure it is regularly updated, and troubleshoot potential issues as they crop up.
At the end of the day, the decision to have an RSS feed on your website will depend on your overall content strategy, your audience’s preferences, and your website design. If your audience includes tech-savvy users, journalists, bloggers, or enthusiasts who rely on feed readers, offering an RSS feed can be a valuable addition. It can increase your website’s reach, help you establish dedicated leadership, and make your content easily accessible.
However, the benefits might be less pronounced if your audience is less likely to use RSS feeds and your content distribution channels are primarily focused on social media and email.
Here are a few of the many benefits of RSS feeds in digital marketing –
- 1. Content distribution and reach: RSS makes it easy for you to distribute content across different platforms and channels. Readers who subscribe to your RSS feed can receive updates every time something new is uploaded. By delivering content directly to your subscribers’ feed readers or emails, you can reach a wider audience.
- 2. Automation and time efficiency: You can use the RSS feed on your website to automate content distribution. For example, you can set up an automated Tweet or Facebook post to go out whenever a new blog is published on your website. Setting up automation will save you time and effort that you can then use on more important things—such as brainstorming and executing ideas to grow your business!
- 3. User engagement and retention: By offering an RSS subscription option, you can keep your audience engaged and encourage repeat visits to your website. Providing a convenient way for users to stay updated with their favorite websites or topics will help you build a loyal reader base.
- 4. Content curation and aggregation: You can use RSS feeds to curate and aggregate content from various sources relevant to your industry or niche. You can position yourself as a subject matter expert and a trustable source of information in your industry by sharing specially curated content with your audience.
- 5. Industry monitoring: You can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your competitors and the thought leaders in your industry to stay up-to-date with industry trends, relevant news, and competitors’ updates.
- 6. Enhanced blogger outreach: Bloggers and influencers are always looking for fresh and informative content to share with their audiences. RSS can be a game-changer for blogger outreach strategies. Your website’s RSS feeds can offer bloggers a direct channel to access new posts and updates. This will encourage them to engage with your content, leading to collaborations, mentions, or shares.
- 7. Personalization: You can customize your RSS feeds to deliver content based on your users’ preferences and interests. This personalization can help enhance user experience and increase engagement on your website, as subscribers will only receive content that aligns with their specific needs.
- 8. Email subscriptions: Users can also subscribe to RSS feeds via email marketing platforms. You can use this feature to maintain an active email list and keep your subscribers engaged by sending them updates whenever new content is published on your website.
Even though RSS is not as widely used today as it was back in the day, it still offers a wide variety of benefits and can be added to your website’s digital marketing plan. With RSS feeds, you can efficiently distribute and share content, engage your audience, and stay updated on industry trends.
Apart from the more common uses of RSS feeds in marketing, like boosting SEO, increasing content reach and engagement, influencer and blogger outreach, and social media automation, here are a few more ways in which you can use the RSS feed for marketing –
- 1. Cross-promoting your content: You can consolidate content from multiple websites and blogs into a single RSS feed, so your audience can get a bird’s eye view of all your content in one place. This is a great way to not only keep your readers engaged but also showcase your brand’s diversity.
- 2. Creating content roundups: Want to curate a weekly or monthly content roundup? You can quickly and easily do it with RSS feeds! By subscribing to various industry-related fields, you can compile a collection of the latest and most valuable content and then share the roundup with your audience.
- 3. Communicating with internal teams: RSS feeds are not just limited to external communication – they can also enhance all your internal communication. You can set up an internal RSS feed to share important updates, news, and announcements with internal teams. This way, you can keep everyone on the same page without cluttering their inboxes.
- 4. Promoting upcoming events: Your RSS feeds can help you promote any upcoming events, webinars, and conferences. You can create a dedicated feed for event updates, sneak peeks, and announcements and send real-time announcements to your subscribers to create a buzz about your events.
- 5. Informing about product launches and updates: You can keep your audience in the loop about upcoming product launches by using your RSS feeds to share updates, teasers, and behind-the-scenes content. This generates excitement and anticipation among your subscribers, increasing the chances of a successful launch.
- 6. Rewarding loyal subscribers: You can also use RSS feeds to deliver exclusive content that is only available to those who subscribe to it. You can offer early access to articles, exclusive content, special downloadable resources, and additional discounts as rewards to your loyal subscribers.
- 7. Showcasing user-generated content: Encouraging user-generated content and spotlighting your audience’s contribution is a lesser-known use of RSS feeds. You can collect content shared by your customers or followers and feature it in your feed periodically. This engages your audience and fosters a sense of community around your brand.
- 8. Boosting authority in your niche: An RSS feed can also help position you as an industry authority. By curating and sharing high-quality content from other thought leaders and experts in your field, you can establish yourself as a go-to brand for valuable information and insights. This will boost your brand’s credibility and will help attract an interested and engaged audience.
- 9. Gathering user feedback: By using RSS feeds to share surveys, polls, or quizzes, you can not only keep your audience engaged but can also collect valuable feedback and insights about user preferences and behaviors. You can use the results from these feedback forms to better understand your audience and guide your future marketing strategies.