Do RSS Feeds Impact SEO?

Should you or should you not include an RSS feed on your site and if you do/don’t will it impact on your SEO strategies? It’s an interesting question in that RSS is really just a delivery system for the content on your web site, blogs in particular. If it is just a delivery system, should it have any impact on your rankings in the SERP’s? One would think not – but then…..?

Since acquiring Feedburner there have been numerous rumours about how Google will use some of the information that came with that acquisition. For example, subscriber numbers. Does or will Google include that data when determining your search ranking?

I have a feeling that either they wont, or if they do, it will have such a small effect that it will hardly be noticeable. Why? For one, the more popular your site is, the more likely you are to have scrapers subscribing to your feeds. These are not what you might call legitimate subscribers so unless Google can discount for these numbers, you will never get a reliable number to judge a site on.

There was a report I read recently that cautioned the use of RSS feeds as Google can ‘read’ links in these feeds. Unless you are doing something a little differently, as I mentioned, your RSS feed is really on a delivery system for content that is already on your page. Those links will be read anyway when the search engines index your page.

There are times when certain statements are made that, with careful analysis don’t make much sense. Rather than ask whether or not an RSS feed would impact your SEO, the question should rather be – would an RSS feed help your readers and, more importantly, would that feed help your business?

RSS feeds can be a little like Twitter. They can deliver important information to those that do not have the time to visit your pages regularly. Your daily traffic may stay the same, but you could wind up with twice as many readers with an RSS feed. That is potentially doubling (or more) the number of potential customers who can read your content.

If you don’t publish content on a regular basis, for example, your site is mainly full of static pages then a Twitter account could be a better way to go. If you have a blog and publish regularly then making those posts available for both RSS and email delivery is a must. It may not do much for your SEO efforts directly, but everyone who views your content has the power to affect to your search engine optimization efforts just by adding a link to your page(s)! Why not tell them when you publish a new one?

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