How to Use Feedburner for SEO

Having trouble getting your new site seen by readers and ranked by the search engines? Feedburner can help. This two-part series explains how to use this popular web feed management system, and how to get the most out of it.

One of the most powerful SEO elements that can help your site catch the attention of search engines and get ranked is links. Not just any links, mind you; you need to earn your link popularity naturally, from readers choosing to link to you upon editorial discretion.

The term "editorial discretion" means that readers do examine your web page content in detail versus their main objective/expectation/standards in visiting your blog or website (they may be looking for new information, tutorials, related content to link to, etc).

This editorial nature of readership can sometimes lead to other things, like book marking, sharing the site with friends on Facebook, buzzing it up at Yahoo, other social networking ramifications, and more importantly, providing a link to the source (your content).

In addition, one of the most difficult things in web marketing, a particularly common hurdle for young and developing websites or blogs, is getting attention and increasing blog readership/fan base. This is because such sites still receive very little organic traffic (from search engines) or even referral traffic from small websites with which they partner.

The old/traditional tactics include link building, exchanging links, submitting stories to social bookmarking sites and directories, but things have now changed. These provide almost no organic value to search engine rankings, with the exception of getting trusted/authority back links earned from link building, which is extremely rare (of course, an exceptional link builder with hundreds of trusted connections can do this).

This is where Feedburner comes to the rescue. Feedburner, which is now owned by Google, is the most popular web feed management system on the Internet. Feedburner is synonymous with RSS, though knowing what it is just by associating it with that term is like seeing only the tip of an iceberg. Feedburner is more than that.

This article emphasizes the basic techniques any blog or website owner (or someone who frequently writes and publishes web content) can start using Feedburner to manage their feeds in such a way that it maximizes the readership potential of their website. Think of Feedburner as your "link builder" that has the ability to not only syndicate or share content, but allows your content to be exposed to as many subscribers as possible by being user-friendly, interactive and free at the same time.

Increased exposure + Great content = Organic links.

This tutorial is for complete beginners to the use of RSS for web marketing. It provides information about Feedburner integration with a website that frequently publishes updated content. Included in this article are the technical details for setting up Feedburner in a configuration that will maximize its effects for search engine optimization.

Feedburner offers another way to manage feeds and interact with your visitors. Its convenience increases the chances of converting your visitors into loyal readers, which can help you in getting organic links.

The image below shows how feeds are managed WITH and WITHOUT Feedburner, along with its features and capabilities:

Users subscribing to your RSS feeds basically undergo three major processes. The first one sees them landing on your website posts and reading content. Once they decide to subscribe to your content, they will click the RSS subscribe buttons. Both are available with and without Feedburner (for example, you can see RSS subscribe buttons in the default WordPress installation).

However, full RSS functionality means that, aside from just having your site display only an RSS button (using the default RSS), Feedburner lets you customize it and even allows users to subscribe via email address.

This means that they can receive updated feeds by email. This is free; you will never have to worry about setting up a newsletter, which is costly, complex and takes a lot of time to manage.

The Feedburner email subscription service offers a powerful way users can subscribe to content and receive it in their email in box. By statistics alone, it is possible to have a large percentage of users prefer to subscribe via email rather than use RSS readers.

(Screenshot courtesy of http://wordpress.jdwebdev.com/blog/feedburner-email/ )

One of the most important aspects of modern SEO involves gaining "re-visits." These types of visitors are loyal and can help spread the good things they have learned from your blog, either though links, bookmarks or in forums. Free Feedburner tools like email subscription can help you increase your chances of getting site revisits.

If Feedburner is enabled to manage your blog RSS, every time a user clicks on an RSS button to subscribe, it will automatically redirect to the Feedburner URL. For example, if your default feed URL is http://www.php-developer.org/feed/ , using Feedburner will 302 redirect it to http://feeds.feedburner.com/php-developer. This is now called your new feed URL, otherwise known as your "Feedburner URL."

Feedburner can even let you set up your own dedicated sub-domain just for your feeds. For example: http://feeds.php-developer.org/. This is free, and is important to maintaining your website branding.

A 302 redirect from your feed URL to Feedburner does not affect your ranking, since you are NOT interested in having your feed URL rank in Google. There are tons of free and useful Feedburner services which will be covered in this tutorial series. For now, we will cover the most important ones.

Aside from email subscription, subscribers can read updated content from a Feedburner URL by using RSS readers. Currently the most popular RSS reader is Google Reader

It is obvious that using Feedburner offers a lot of features, advantages and services pertaining to RSS as compared to using the default feed.

Another way Feedburner can help you is by providing statistics about your feeds and subscribers. These user statistics include the number of subscribers, where they come from, and how many individuals click on those RSS feeds going back to your website.

This can be very helpful when you’re conducting an SEO analysis, because if you have a fairly substantial "x" amount of traffic to your website and no one  subscribes after "y" months, then it might mean that your content is poor, not related to your targeted traffic, and needs improvement.

There are a lot of ways subscribers can get the most out of your Feedburner feeds. They can easily share it with others; email it; and more, as Feedburner allows content providers to add free widgets/tools to their website that can increase user content interaction and act as a marketing tool that can lead to link bait.

Before you can use Feedburner, you need a Google account

Once you have a Google account, follow the rest of the steps below:

Step 1: Go to www.feedburner.com

Step 2: Log in using your Google account.

Step 3: Under "Burn a feed right this instant," enter your feed URL. If you are using WordPress to power your blog, it will be: http://www.yourwordpressblog.com/feed/

Step 4: Feedburner will then ask you to provide the "Feed Title" and "Feed Address." Enter the home page title as the "feed title" and in the "feed address," use your main domain name. For example:

Step 5: After clicking "Next," if Feedburner does not encounter problems and you can see the congratulations page, then you have completely set up. Click Next.

Step 6: Feedburner then ask you which stats you would like to be automatically tracked. Check two items. First, check "Clickthroughs" to know how many people click those items back to your website. This is used as a measurement of website content quality aside from number of subscribers. Next, click "I want more! Have Feedburner stats also track: ? "  This will enable you to see detailed statistics that can provide important clues about the quality of your website.

I will be writing a second tutorial that will emphasize the technical details of using Feedburner after discussing this basic setup.

Before you dive deeper into technical details, I highly recommend that you first read this Google item to learn more about Feedburner. 

Google+ Comments

Google+ Comments