Lee Odden

SES Chicago: RSS Blogs and Search Marketing Panel

The last session I attended on day two of the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference was RSS Blogs and Search Marketing moderated by Danny Sullivan.

Speakers included: Dick Costolo – FeedBurner, Nan Dawkins – RedBoots Consulting, Greg Jarboe – SEO-PR, Stephan Spencer – Netconcepts, Amanda Watlington – Searching for Profit

First up was Amanda Watlington:

Blogs Good and Evil
Shows quotes from
BusinessWeek: Blogs Can Change your Business
Forbes: Attack of the Blogs

Offer platform for businesses to provide a more personal method of communication.
Can provide feedback through comments and trackbacks
Advertising opportunity

Can put out negative information

Blogs Continue Grow
70,000 per day as of Oct.
13% updated weekly
1.2m posts per day

Blogs are a threat to mainstream media

Blogs are changing roles of search marketers to be able to:
Brand and reputation monitoring/management
Content strategy and deveopment
Link development and site publicity efforts that include consumer generated media

Total use:  aware RSS user 4%, unaware RSS user 27%, 69% do not use
Many users of RSS don’t know they’re using RSS.

Benefits of RSS:

  • Build stronger customer relationships
  • Avoids email spam
  • Easy to maintain
  • Proven traffic generator

Uses of RSS Feeds:

  • Affiliate
  • Syndicating your content
  • Product announcements, uses, tips, articles.
  • Customer communications
  • Press room
  • Career channel

Example of sites that offer content to syndicate on your web site.
LifeTips – 1 tip per day

RSS drives traffic – 6.8% CTR on RSS feeds to site (simple feed)

Manage your RSS Feed:
1. Create the feed
2. Validate the feed
3. Disseminate
4. Eliminate old content

Optimize your feeds:

  • Use kw in the title < 100 characters
  • Write description as if it were for a directory < 500 characters
  • Use full paths onlinks and unique URLs for each item
  • Each feed should have a keyword theme
  • Include images for branding
  • Submit your feeds
  • Claim your feed at Technorati and subscribe to your own feed
  • Make your feeds available for syndication – FeedRoll
  • Use media specific feeds for iTunes and Yahoo! Media

Measure Circulation, Viewership, Readership

RSS Advertising
Pheedo – RSS Ads outperformed email by over 26%
Shortage of online ad inventory, creating an interest in new sources
Rss advertising is complex (user driven) and compelling


Next up is Stephan Spencer, a self proclaimed “RSS Junkie”.

RSS is a Killer app.

Example:  Google search for “TrustRank”. #1 result is from Slashdot RSS feed. Ranking due to the number of links to the feed.

Take RSS to the Next Level

Give it Away:
News alerts, latest specials, clearance, upcoming events, arrivals, tools, search results, book revision history, top 10 best sellers, project management activities

For blogs:  latest posts, latest posts by category, latest comments per post

– Full text, not just summaries
– Watch out for SEOs using your feed content as search engine fodder and hoarding the link gain.

Shows examples of ecommerce feeds.

Make it easy to Subscribe:

  • 1-click add to your favorite aggregator
  • Add autodiscovery tags

Make your listings in the Yahoo SERPs display the Add to My Yahoo link – by adding your blog to your My Yahoo page. Then use Pingomatic after you post.

Track Subscriber Behavior: Feedburner

Capture Link Gain:
Encourage links through RSS directories/engines
Keep your RSS feed url uses your own domain
Clicktrack your links and pass link gain by using 301 redirect to se friendly url

Personalize the Content

Best practices:
Customize – through checkboxes on signup page
Allow user to be anonymous
Give them the option of subscribing via RSS or email

Recommended Resource:  Rok Hrastnik’s “Unleash the Marketing Power of RSS”


Next up was Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR.

My battery is almost dead so I don’t know how much of this I’ll get.

18.5 m feeds (feedster), 22.2 m blogs (technorati)

My PC battery died, ugh. Greg’s presentation was similar to what he did at Pubcon 3 weeks ago which I covered here:  RSS Feeds and Podcasting.  Also, I interviewed Greg recently on SEO and PR.

Also on the panel was Nan Dawkins from Red Boots Consulting as well as Dick Costolo from FeedBurner, who promised to help me convert my http://feeds.feedburner.com/OnlineMarketingSEOBlog feed url to use the toprankblog.com domain.

Note to self: buy another battery or a new laptop!


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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Hope your enjoying the cold Chicago temperatures, though I cannot say Minnesota is much warmer these days. I was unable to attend this conference since I have other projects I am working on and I am headed to SF next week to another event. So I appreciate the flow of updates from the conference. Our Metrics Manager who sits a cube away is also attending the SES conference so I will have to get some updates from him as well.

  2. Hi Frank,

    Yes, Chicago was very cold – very much like home in Minneapolis. If you’re going to SES in New York or Toronto next year, drop me a note.



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