Why RSS feeds could influence the SEO of a site
Our team questions the influence of RSS feeds on Google results and mainly on the results of the Google News vertical. A few specialists have already addressed the issue, but there are very few case studies and articles surrounding this topic in the SEO industry.
Can RSS feeds influence the SEO of e-commerce sites or corporate sites? We believe not.
Can RSS feeds influence the SEO of news sites or news blogs? We believe so.
WHY RSS FEED COULD REPRESENT AN ASSET FOR SEO
A news site publishes several new articles a day. Google must therefore constantly index new URLs and quickly understand the content of each page to properly list it in its index. It is true that Google and Bing robots are excellent at naturally "crawling" sites via internal links and discovering new pages. However, certain tools such as XML files allow them to more easily crawl and index the thousands of new URLs published during a day.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SITEMAP.XML AND AN RSS FEEDS
SEO specialists advise creating sitemap.xml, a protocol accepted and encouraged by the three main search engines.
In fact, an RSS feed is no different from a sitemap.xml. Comparing the two, we see that an RSS feed offers much more information (Metadata) and is probably more useful than the sitemap.xml to help search engines quickly understand the content of an article.
Take the example of the following article – Explanation of (not provided) in Google Analytics reports – Organic results
METADATA FROM OUR SITEMAP.XML
METADATA FROM OUR RSS FEEDS
THE IMPACT OF RSS FEEDS ON GOOGLE NEWS RESULTS
We can therefore assume that Google can use an RSS feed to help it quickly index and understand the content of a URL. Then, the factors influencing positioning in the Google News vertical come into play.
In the last year, we have seen some interesting situations with a cardiology news site having good visibility on Google News. This site sometimes edits the TITLE tag of its articles to highlight certain important keywords for the positioning of the article. In summary, sometimes the TITLE tag and the H1 tag (Title of the article on the page) are different.
- TITLE tag (page metatag): The tag normally used to generate the fragment of a page in Google results. This site's RSS feed does not use the TITLE tag.
- H1 tag (Article title): A tag that is not normally used to generate the fragment of a page in Google results. This site's RSS feed uses the H1 tag as the title of the article.
What is interesting in this type of situation is that Google News uses the title provided in the RSS feed (the H1 tag), while Google Web (standard version) uses the TITLE tag.
THE IMPACT OF RSS FEED ON NEW SITE LINKS
Over the past few months, Google has been introducing new "site links" for major news sites. It seems that RSS feeds are also influencing these new "site links".
OUR OPINION ON THE IMPACT OF RSS FEED
We believe that RSS feeds can be beneficial for sites where the rapid indexing of articles and where visibility on Google News are factors of success. If you run a news or current affairs site, here are some recommendations for optimizing your RSS feeds.
1 – SUBMIT YOUR RSS FEED TO GOOGLE WEBMASTER TOOLS
Google Webmaster Tools allows you to submit sitemap.xml, but also RSS feeds. By using this service, you ensure that Google will "crawl" your RSS feed.
2 – USE THE FEEDBURNER SERVICE
If you have a choice, we recommend using the Feedburner service to manage your RSS Feeds.
Remember that in 2007, Google Inc. acquired the Feedburner service. By using this Feed service, Google has direct access to information and statistics from the RSS feed (e.g. number of subscribers, number of comments, number of views, click-through rate in aggregators, etc.)
3 – ACTIVATE THE PINGSHOT SERVICE
If you use the Feedburner service, we recommend activating the PingShot service.
Pingshot is a feature of FeedBurner that automatically updates aggregators, search engines and other web services whenever there is new content on your RSS feed. More explanation of PingShot and the PubSubHubbub protocol.
SHORT…. CAN RSS FEEDS INFLUENCE SEO?
We believe that they can indeed influence the SEO of certain sites by helping the indexing of new URLs and providing crawlers with important metadata to understand the content of the article.
However, we do not assume to have the absolute truth on this point and we are interested in knowing your opinion on the subject.