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  1. #1
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    Question Ethical to put RSS feeds on your website?
    If I have a website with a datafeed, is it unethical to put RSS feeds on each page? I saw an article on another site that said that was a legitimate way to get SEO. I really didn't know. If the link goes back to the site that published it, it would be free advertising for them. I wanted to get some feedback though. I have not done this. I am genuinely curious. I know I have seen it on blogs, but that's about it. Do you have to ask permission to put an RSS feed on your site?
    Last edited by johnnyWebAffiliate; September 17th, 2006 at 01:06 AM. Reason: wrong title

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Different providers of RSS feeds have different terms and conditions. "No commercial use" is, unfortunately, pretty common.

    But if you find a source that allows their feed to be used for commercial purposes, I would consider it ethical to use it, assuming you leave all the links in that are supposed to be there, etc.

    Many sites don't say one way or the other--ethically speaking, it's probably better to get permission in those cases.

  3. #3
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    I thought RSS does not help in SEO as I was reading it somewhere. Pls correct me if i am wrong.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    I don't know why it would not help SEO. Anything reading the page would not know it is RSS. The RSS portion is between the server offering the RSS feed and the displaying server. The client (webbot/browser) will just see it is as information on the web page. As a matter of fact most people cannot tell if the content on a website is coming from the site or an RSS feed. If you look at the view source it is just HTML. This is because the website you are visiting has to interpret the RSS XML and then display it as it sees fit. 10 different people can be using the same RSS feed and it can look 10 different ways. On your website you are talking about I can probably bet good money you are not displaying the RSS feed. You are displaying your interpretation of the RSS feed. Something on your site is ingesting the XML and turning it into HTML for us to read.

    Now an RSS feed by itself (without being interpreted) will do you no good - it is just xml which is typically not friendly to the human eye.

    I see no problem with it at all. Why would somebody provide as RSS feed if they did not expect you to use it commercially? That is exactly why I WOULD provide an RSS feed. And a lot of the sites I go to say 'here - take and use my RSS feed please'

    Hope this helps,
    Patrick
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick24601
    I don't know why it would not help SEO. Anything reading the page would not know it is RSS. The RSS portion is between the server offering the RSS feed and the displaying server. The client (webbot/browser) will just see it is as information on the web page. As a matter of fact most people cannot tell if the content on a website is coming from the site or an RSS feed. If you look at the view source it is just HTML. This is because the website you are visiting has to interpret the RSS XML and then display it as it sees fit. 10 different people can be using the same RSS feed and it can look 10 different ways. On your website you are talking about I can probably bet good money you are not displaying the RSS feed. You are displaying your interpretation of the RSS feed. Something on your site is ingesting the XML and turning it into HTML for us to read.

    Now an RSS feed by itself (without being interpreted) will do you no good - it is just xml which is typically not friendly to the human eye.

    I see no problem with it at all. Why would somebody provide as RSS feed if they did not expect you to use it commercially? That is exactly why I WOULD provide an RSS feed. And a lot of the sites I go to say 'here - take and use my RSS feed please'

    Hope this helps,
    Patrick
    But won't it depend on how the RSS feed is retrieved? For example, I if I have a RSS feed from another website and it is retrieved in the code, not the regular HTML, then will the search engine ever pick it up. I'm sure I just don't understand, but does a search engine actually run a webpage to get the contents?

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    The only way to get the RSS feed data on your page is to interpret in the code. You cannot just display the raw data in your HTML or intepret with your HTML. You need a program to parse the XML, or you need a XSL stylesheet to parse it. BUt keep telling me more. I may not fully understand what you are doing.
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  7. #7
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    I thought RSS feeds would help with your ranking. If a site displays your feed and links to your site your rankings go up. But if you displays someone elses feed how does that help you but give you some content.

    Unless you speak of RSS feed that display the entire article the RSS feed links to. Then in my opinion thats unethical to display it.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    johnny,

    At first I thought you wanted to offer an RSS service using the data in the datafeeds. This is perfectly legitimate and actually pretty useful if you provide information like reviews and price trackers.

    Now if you want to aggregate information from other sites by using their RSS feeds thats an entirely different beast. Technorati does this and provides a very useful service for searching RSS feeds across the net. I believe RSS reader sites like Rojo are also jumping aboard the blog search bandwagon just as Technorati has done. These IMO are very nice implementations of RSS aggregation.

    What you can do is allow the blog authors to submit their RSS feed to your site so you can start aggregating and displaying their content. If you don't do this you'll have to either manually seek out RSS feeds yourself or create a spider that searches for them. Both of which are fairly time consuming.

    To answer your question it is generally okay to display RSS data on your site as long as the original content remains untouched and you link back to the author's blog. In all things it's best to consider your users and whether or not they'll find value in what you're doing. If it's just for SEO purposes I might reconsider.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    The slight benefit for SEO is the fact that it is content on YOUR site. Now... usually in that content there is a link back to the originating page. But if it a newsfeed for example then when the originating website changes their content your content changes. If they post a new story you get new text on your website, so your site will have different content than it did last time someone or something looked at it. Typically however it is only a blurb about the article with a link back to the originating site and article. But it is a content change on your site nonetheless.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    johnny,

    At first I thought you wanted to offer an RSS service using the data in the datafeeds. This is perfectly legitimate and actually pretty useful if you provide information like reviews and price trackers.

    Now if you want to aggregate information from other sites by using their RSS feeds thats an entirely different beast. Technorati does this and provides a very useful service for searching RSS feeds across the net. I believe RSS reader sites like Rojo are also jumping aboard the blog search bandwagon just as Technorati has done. These IMO are very nice implementations of RSS aggregation.

    What you can do is allow the blog authors to submit their RSS feed to your site so you can start aggregating and displaying their content. If you don't do this you'll have to either manually seek out RSS feeds yourself or create a spider that searches for them. Both of which are fairly time consuming.

    To answer your question it is generally okay to display RSS data on your site as long as the original content remains untouched and you link back to the author's blog. In all things it's best to consider your users and whether or not they'll find value in what you're doing. If it's just for SEO purposes I might reconsider.

    - Scott
    "Just for SEO purposes" is not my intent. It is one of my intents. I'd be lying if I said that I do nothing on my sites to gain SEO, but I also believe it benefits the user. If they can to my niche site and get info on the all the other niche sites, then that serves them and the linked do websites. When the customer clicks the RSS link, they go to the other site, the other site wins. Maybe the user will come back to mine because they know that I've sought out the RSS feeds that matters to them. I also would have my own affiliate products too. It'd be a cross between selling my own stuff and providing a research service. I see this all over the place with RSS feed aggregation. It's a huge thing.

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a good intent in mind. The one thing I would suggest is making the link in the RSS feed open up in a new window i.e. target = "_blank" in the href. This should be very doable by whatever code you have that is ingesting the feed and creating the href.
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  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    If thousands of websites display your feed with a backlink, the search engines only give credit for 1-2 back links, the rest is duplicate content, which the se's ignore the content.

    If you display rss feed on your website, the search engines will give you credit for your page being updated.(when the rss feed is updated on your site). If your feed is updated every day the se's crawlers will visit that page more often, which tells the crawler your page is being updated and to revisit your site

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    Is this right:

    1. I supply an RSS feed with 10 distinct stories and 10 distinct links in it.

    2. 1000 people use that same RSS feed of 10 items and backlink to 10 distinct items on my website. So in reality I have 10 x 1000 backlinks.

    I really only end up with credit for about 10-20ish back links?
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  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Yes that is correct

  15. #15
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Right. But still, as you said yourself earlier, you are providing content (and frequently updated content at that), so you should get a leg up SEO-wise. Search engines are designed to give a user the information they need. So, if you are trying to give your users useful information you should see some help in the search department.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINDsprinter
    Right. But still, as you said yourself earlier, you are providing content (and frequently updated content at that), so you should get a leg up SEO-wise. Search engines are designed to give a user the information they need. So, if you are trying to give your users useful information you should see some help in the search department.
    Not necessarily, you are providing duplicate content which the se's will ignore however if the duplicate content is updated every day(with more duplicate content) you will have a leg up because the se's will recrawl your site more often, which is ideal situtuion

  17. #17
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    Not necessarily, you are providing duplicate content which the se's will ignore
    True about the duplicate content. However, my understanding of seach duplicate content is they look at things slightly more holistically. For example, if your entire website was just a recreation of someone else's RSS feed, then that is duplicate content.

    However, if your site combines multiple feeds in interesting ways, plus adds its own links, articles, images, forums, or any other kind of content, then the search engines do recognize some originality...

    That's just the way I heard it explained.

  18. #18
    Affiliate Manager MINDsprinter's Avatar
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    By the way. I just re-read the thread title again.

    Of course it is ethical to put RSS feeds on your site. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. That's the whole idea!!

  19. #19
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINDsprinter
    .

    However, if your site combines multiple feeds in interesting ways, plus adds its own links, articles, images, forums, or any other kind of content, then the search engines do recognize some originality...

    That's just the way I heard it explained.
    It doesn't matter, duplicate content is still duplicate content, if you add your own links, articles,images,forums and they are unique then of course the search engines will pick that up

  20. #20
    Full Member markschok's Avatar
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    I'd say ethical, unless, as someone is doing to one of my published feeds, stripping out the links back to my site. Grrrr.

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