At some point in learning SEO, you’ll run into something called RSS. Despite this being one of the core building blocks of modern blog websites, most people aren’t being taught what this is. In this article, I’m going to explain what RSS is and how it can be important for SEO.
What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is basically a feed on your blog website. This is a behind-the-scenes special type of page created automatically. Whenever you publish a new blog post in WordPress, your RSS feed will automatically update.
If you’ve worked with sitemaps before, an RSS feed won’t look as alien to you. These feeds are typically in. XML format, and are designed to be read by apps – not humans. Unlike sitemaps, however, these are automatically created by WordPress if you have a website. (In other words, you don’t need to install a plugin to get an RSS feed set up.)
Now, this may not seem that useful, after all, it’s a list of posts you already have. But RSS can be incredibly powerful for syndication, or sharing your content to drive more traffic.
Interestingly enough, RSS has been around since March of 1999 when it was first released on Netscape – so this technology isn’t exactly new. Yet nobody seems to know what it is. The reality is that RSS is an incredibly powerful technology for a number of reasons.
Yes, RSS Is Old Technology
Now I’m not going to lie, RSS is very old tech. In fact, I would bet that most younger users don’t even know what a RSS feed is. After all, social media has taken over how content is “shared” on the web.
Despite this, however, understanding how RSS works can still be incredibly useful.
How It Applies To SEO
Once you understand the basics of RSS, you can use it to your advantage for SEO. Understanding how content grows is an important part of the overall SEO skillset. Publishing content for your clients isn’t enough, after all. There’s no point if both Google and real humans don’t discover it.
This is where knowing how to get the ball rolling can really come in handy. You can use RSS to do just this, with some easy free to use tools.
Some Real Use Case Examples
Here are some real examples of ways you can use RSS to boost your SEO and overall website performance.
Increase Repeat Visitors
Visitors can actually subscribe to your RSS feed. This way, they get updated every time you publish a new blog post. Google Chrome has an extension people can install for free called RSS Feed Reader.
Users can also download apps for Android and iOS that allow them to easily get updated on new website content.
Google Looks At Them
Interestingly enough, Google actually looks at RSS feeds when indexing websites. In other words, by using WordPress Google has a better overall picture of your website’s content. Additionally, having an RSS feed makes it easier for other websites to link to yours.
Automating Content Sharing
This is the best use of RSS in my opinion. I’ve talked about the importance of content in great detail on this blog, and about how 90% of your SEO process should be focused on creating it. However, I haven’t talked enough about promoting your content.
With all the effort and time you put into content, there’s no reason not to get it in front of as many eyes as possible. After all, if a lot of visitors come to your latest blog post this sends a signal to Google that your content is high quality. This will, in turn, cause the big G to push your latest piece out further than they otherwise would have.
But back to RSS for a moment. The great thing about RSS feeds is that they can be used to automate sharing your content. IFTTT is an awesome free service that allows you to post to social media. Basically, the way it works is it will scan your RSS feed for any new items. When you publish a new blog post, it will then automatically share a link to that content out via your social media profiles.
I recorded an easy step by step tutorial on how to set up IFTTT. I highly recommend checking it out, as it walks you through how to do this.
To close up this article, here’s what you need to know. RSS is technology that is already running in your business if your website uses WordPress. A RSS feed is simply a list of all of the pages and posts on your website. Search engines, apps, and bots read these feeds to index and see your new content.
You can take advantage of your RSS feed to push your content out even further, using technologies like IFTTT. Whenever a new blog post is published, it can automatically be shared to social media – without you having to do anything.
If you’re putting in time and effort publishing content, you might as well get more reach for the work you are already doing.
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