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RSS: Real Simple Syndication for Serious Internet Marketers

Aug 18, 2008
RSS, or "Real Simple Syndication," allows for the streaming of Web content both to your web site (from other publishers) and to other web sites (to publishers who publish your content). To make maximum use of RSS, you should use it both ways to some degree in your web site marketing campaigns.

Streaming content from other publishers onto your web site is a great way to keep your web site updated with new content. Search engines and human beings both love new content. The way this process works is not that complicated, although some programming may be necessary to implement the technique.

First, the publisher of the content posts an RSS file to his server, which is just an XML-formatted text file that describes the content and supplies links to where the content is located. So the content that gets streamed to other web sites may not be complete articles, but titles, summaries, and links to the full article content.

The owner of the web site that is going to make use of the publisher's content has to know the URL of the RSS file. He can then write some code using his choice of scripting language that will open the RSS file, read its content, and display it on the web page. The web site has to make use of some kind of scripting language, such as ASP, to turn the information in the RSS file into HTML that can be displayed on screen. The code will need to loop through a certain number of items in the RSS file, extracting the required information for each item and displaying it on the page as appropriate.

The benefit of having your content streamed to other web sites is that it results in links back to content on your site. Web site owners looking for content can use your RSS file to place links to interesting content on their site, with that content residing on your web site. This drives direct traffic as well as helping improve your search engine rankings.

It is easy to create streamed content by publishing a blog with a blogging platform that creates automatic RSS feeds. An example is Blogger, which automatically creates a URL to an RSS file. You can also create an RSS file manually using nothing more than Notepad. For instance, you might choose to publish original articles on your web site, and then create an RSS file that contains information about those articles. Every time you publish a new article, you will need to update your RSS file.

For maximum exposure, you should publish your RSS URL to RSS directories. If you publish your content in blog format, I suggest you use a web site called Pingomatic, which will automatically ping a number of popular blog and RSS directories about your updated blog for free.

RSS is a technology that can help you quickly spread your original content across the Web and generate lots of new links back to your site. It is a tool that should be used by every serious Internet marketer.
About the Author
Jerry Work is president of Work Media, LLC, http://workmedia.net, a search engine marketing firm based in Nashville, and author of Scientific Search Engine Marketing: Maximizing Your Pay per Click Return on Investment.
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