RSS Feeds and Search Engine Optimization
RSS Feeds need to be optimized just like your HTML web pages. If you're already doing any level of search engine optimization, then you'll find it easy to include your feeds into your projects. Better optimization means better exposure and more subscribers.
Here are some simple steps to optimize your RSS feed for search engines.
Like your articles, web pages and blog posts, the titles you use in your feeds should be keyword rich for search engines, while attracting people to read more.
Links within a feed must use the full path, not a linked shortcut to ensure the link remains valid. If someone else is displaying your content, then there is always the risk that the link gets lost. If you've shown the full path, then a reader can copy and paste.
Keywords are not only for titles and within your content. Search engines like links to have keywords too. Ensure that any links to your website use keywords too.
There is a secret to getting your feeds spidered fast by the major search engines. Create a personal account on My.Yahoo, My.MSN and Google+ and link your own feeds on the home page. Once you've done this, you can expect your feeds to be indexed by the search engines in around forty eight hours.
Make your link popularity increase by submitting your RSS feeds, blogs and podcasts to directories. Go to http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm for a list of places to submit.
RSS feed descriptions are short summaries of the article or blog content being listed. The purpose of the summary is to entice the reader to click on the link and visit the site containing the full article or content piece. Make sure you take the time to create quality summaries of your blog posts and articles.
You can use ads in your RSS feeds. Start with your logo on every feed. Branding is important, so make use of your RSS feed as another way to use it. If you're using Google Adsense, then add it to your feed. Go to the "ads" section and click on "feeds". Use a service like Feedburner to "burn" your feed, then use that URL as your reference, to ensure the ads get displayed in most readers.
A no brainer? Not really. Make sure you subscribe to your own feeds. An alarmingly large number of publishers do not take this one simple step, so they do not know what their subscribers are seeing. Subscribing to your own feeds lets you not only see how it looks, but you can work on formatting and adding other elements to your feeds.
A IS FOR SHOWING UP FIRST!
Feeds in aggregators are often listed alphabetically, so if your feed is called Zooligist Digest, it's probably going to be at the bottom. You might not want to rename your site, but you might consider adding a keyword at the beginning of your name that moves it up the alphabetical list. Consider that you may rename the example to A Zooligist's Digest to get it better placed.
Optimizing your RSS feed is no more difficult than optimizing any other part of your website and following these simple guidelines should help you get your RSS feed placed better. Like all optimizing, it's an ongoing process and subject to the whims of search engine placement.