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Friday, March 03, 2006

Raise Your Website Traffïc with RSS - Blogs and Yahoo!

In our first part of this article, we raised the question of whether blogging and its distribution tool, RSS feeds, are really useful for Internet and Search Engine Promotion. Are RSS feeds and blogs really the next big thing in web marketing, distribution, and content creation — or are they just hype?

There is a lot of hype around RSS, blogs, and derivative technologies like podcasting. But are they really useful to the serious Internet marketer or are they just the subjects used by marketers looking to create new products to grab our hard-earned marketing dollars.

We also covered the objections and reservations from some Internet marketers about the usefulness of RSS feeds and blogs to the bottom-line of their ebusinesses. This can be contrasted to our discovery of people like Willie Crawford and companies like Weblogs, which generate 6- and 7-figure incomes from blogs, RSS, and related technologies with Google Adsense.

To illustrate, if the typical Internet marketers — not just web gurus — can benefit from blogs and RSS feeds, I promised to share my experiences with my new sites not yet optimized for the search engines.

With virgin websites, I could observe the traffïc pulling power of blogging, pinging, and RSS. If you would like to read or familiarize yourself with Part 1 of this article, you can read it at... http://www.searchengineplan.com/articles/feb06-rss-prt1.htm.

To test the effectiveness of the ability of RSS feeds and blogs to attract and drive traffïc to my web properties, I did some quick and insightful research on the topic. Brandon Hong's Marketing Rampage with Blogs and RSS was the resource which best enabled me to understand the techno-jargon associated with blogs and RSS feeds. Believe me, I have a 10-year background in information technology, and I can't make heads or tails out of the alphabet soup served up by tech geeks on blog and RSS media.

Plus, I run a very busy SEO consultancy and virtual real estate (VRE Adsense™ and Affïliate Sites) side business, so I don't have the time to muck around in nebulous articles on these topics.

If you even remotely feel like me about the complexity of blogs or RSS, do yourself a favor and obtain Brandon Hong's multimedia ebook of screen-capture videos.

You can read a full review of the book at... http://www.searchengineplan.com/articles/hongrss.htm.

I have been blogging for almost 3 years, but RSS feeds have been harder to grasp in terms of development and marketing. The easiest way to start blogging is to setup an account with www.Blogger.com or www.Bloglines.com. Blogger will actually walk you through the process.

Experienced web designers should not have a problem setting up a www.Blogger.com account. Blogger.com is actually a good initial choice because it provides an easy setup for RSS feeds. The setup can be done by going to the Settings Tab in Blogger, clicking the site feed link, and filling out the forms.

The next issue to consider is the complex RSS compatibility issue. You can sidestep the decision about whether to go with RSS version 2.0 or Google's Atom standard by "burning your RSS feed" or making them more compatible with all popular RSS formats with a third party service like Feedburner.com.

After creating your RSS feed in Blogger, you should have it burned in the Feedburner.com service; it will guide you through the process. The optimized Feedburner.com RSS feed is then ready to be submitted to the major RSS directories.

I would suggest creating a few descriptions of your blog and then submitting both your blog and RSS URLs to the appropriate RSS and blog directories. My firm fast-tracks blog and RSS feed promotion by submitting them to about 90 directories that specialize in this type of media — including Yahoo! and MSN RSS content services.

Both the Blogger.com service and, more extensively, Feedburner.com can be configured to ping the major RSS and blog directories. This means they signal or alert these directories whenever you update posts on your blog in real time. Perhaps most importantly, you get traffïc statistics about your RSS subscribers and readers.

The results of my RSS and blog traffïc research over the last 3 months are amazing! I have been totally blown away by the research. I am excited about RSS and blog usage, despite the good and bad news:

The bad news: According to a White paper on blogging, sponsored in part by Yahoo!, 88% of Internet users don't know what RSS technology is and 96% of Internet users stated they do not use it!

The good news: 27% of Internet users experience RSS feed content on their My Yahoo and MSN web accounts, although they don't realize it! Moreover, 4% of Internet users actively use RSS feeds. This means 31%, or almost one-third (1/3), of Internet users in the U.S. read RSS feeds.

With almost 150 million U.S. Internet users and 600 million net users worldwide, you do the math on the large numbers of people reading RSS feeds even if unwittingly).

More positive stats on RSS and blog usage, according to the Pew Internet & American life project:

- (1) Fully 19% of online Americans ages 18-29 have created blogs
- (2) 11 million American adults say they have created blogs
- (3) 27% of Internet users reported in November that they read blogs

This translates into 32 million American adults who read blogs. This information shows that RSS and blogs are growing technologies for serious Internet business people to adapt into their marketing mix.

My personal research over three months showed that when I regularly updated my blog sites, burned RSS feeds pinging the major directories increased my traffïc a whopping 25%!

Blogs, RSS feeds, and articles distributed regularly to major host sites and distribution services actually rivaled the traffïc of my highly optimized top-ranking SEO and VRE sites. More importantly, traffïc from blog, RSS, and article-driven traffïc actually made twice as much income in sales and Adsense™ revenue than my traditional SEO sites.

Needless to say, once a skeptic, I am now a big believer in the power of RSS feeds and blogs to boost my bottom-line. I will leave you with a controversial statement from a SEO and Searchpreneur©.

Dr. Jakob Nielsen recently referred to search engines as "the leeches on the Internet." He feels "Search engines extract too much of the Web's value, leaving too little for the websites that actually create the content. Liberation from search dependency is a strategic imperative for both websites and software vendors."

With Yahoo! and MSN soon to enforce email postage, according to a recent article by the New York Times, RSS and blogging may become the best and latest arsenal for small business to continue to survive and thrive in the Internet economy.


About The Author
To stay informed on the latest blogging, RSS, and SEO developments, visit www.searchengineplan.com/blogs/seoblog.htm. Kamau Austin is publisher of www.eInfoNEWS.com and runs www.SearchEnginePlan.com. He is author of Always On Top -- How to Get the Highest Search Engine Ranking for your Website. See more about his strategies at www.AlwaysOnToptheBook.com.

posted by Scott Jones @ 9:42 am

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