Thursday, December 20, 2007

Experimenting with Feed Syndication

I've been doing some research lately on search engine optimization (SEO). One of the components necessary to increase one's ranking (at least, as far as, Google's algorithm is concerned) is having lots of relevant inbound links. So the question is -- how do you get other sites to link to you? Google PageRank experts seem to agree that link exchanges do not really work well anymore.

One of the SEO "tips" sites I came across talked about syndicating your articles or news to third party services like FeedBurner. These services take care of passing your feeds further to other sites who also use feeds published there. Very popular sites that publishes feed by other people is Technorati. So by publishing your feed to FeedBurner, you can indirectly get articles or mentions in high profile websites like Technorati. Marshall Kirkpatrick gives some general idea as to why you would want to use FeedBurner.

Syndication is mostly done through one of two formats: RSS and ATOM. Both are based on the XML specification, with ATOM being the newer standard and seems to be the more preferred one as of late. RSS is simpler so I decided to take a stab on it. Since I regularly maintain a news page for our online photo printing service, Picatoo, I decided to automatedly make an RSS feed out of it. The resulting feed can be found here. The Feed.aspx code basically reads the HTML output of News.aspx; extracts the relevant line items; and reformats them to RSS/XML. Then I created a FeedBurner account and linked the feed to it. So hopefully soon, our Picatoo news details will be syndicated by other sites like Technorati!

Incidentally, Google's Blogger (which is what I'm using) has excellent integraton with FeedBurner. This comes perhaps as to no surprise as Google recently bought FeedBurner for a rumored amount of US$100M. So if you want to subscribe to my blog's feeds via email, just fill-up the form on the right-hand side of this blog with your email address, or click on this link.

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