Friday, February 23, 2007

RSS Feeds and Google AdSense: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

by Casey Yew


For a couple of years now one of the top SEO tips for webmasters and content providers has been to combine the power of RSS with context sensitive ads to increase your revenue. RSS works nicely with Google AdSense in a number of ways.

Syndicate Your Own Content with Teaser Posts

Since people don’t have to come to your site to read your content, people subscribed to your RSS feed don’t see your AdSense ads or click on them – which is why the recommended way of using an RSS feed with your Google AdSense pages has been to use your RSS feed as a teaser. Rather than posting the full text of your article or blog entry to the feed, offer your readers enough to give them the gist of the article and whet their appetite to read more. A well-written teaser is worth its weight in gold. Crafted carefully, it will not only draw people to your website to read your article – it will actually help draw targeted traffic to your web site. People who click through to learn more are more likely to click through on the AdSense ads that relate to your content.

Another Way to Blend AdSense and RSS

The second way to increase your revenue using RSS feeds is to syndicate content from others on your web site. Using RSS feeds to add content to your site means that you get regular, fresh content to feed the search engines and bring people to your site. There are some simple rules to follow to avoid losing your readers to one of your feeds:

  1. Offer more value for reading the articles on YOUR web site. One way is to aggregate several feeds on the same subject to offer your readers a one-stop shop to catch up on their favorite subjects, or add your own commentary.
  2. Focus on RSS feeds that offer the entire article – or enough of it that your visitors aren’t leaving your site to finish the article elsewhere.
  3. Follow any terms and conditions of using the RSS feeds.

Adding AdSense to Your RSS Feeds

About a year ago, though, Google raised a tempest in the blogworld’s teacup when they unveiled their new AdSense for RSS Feeds. The reaction was immediate and loud, and divided into two camps: those readers and publishers who were horrified at the encroachment of ads into a formerly ad-free way of getting news and those publishers who’d been eagerly awaiting another avenue of AdSense revenue. On the one hand, opponents predicted that subscribers would object to Google ads in their feeds to the point of dropping subscriptions. On the other, advocates of the system saw another way of giving readers the opportunity to click on ads and increase their revenues. A few voices stood out, though, notably industry guru Dave Taylor, who offered practical, common sense best practices for including Google AdSense ads in your RSS feeds. In a nutshell, they are:

  1. Syndicate the whole article. Since the ad is going WITH the feed content, you don’t lose anything by including enough content to balance the ad.
  2. Don’t include more than one AdSense ad in your article feeds.
  3. Include a terms and conditions page on your site for using your feeds on a website. The Google terms and conditions make YOU responsible for violations of their terms and conditions by your subscribers.
  4. Add a channel specifically for your RSS ads so that you can track their performance.
  5. Offer TWO feeds: one ad-free that offers summaries and teasers, and one with ads that offers the full article.

AdSense Money Guide for AdSense profits. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Google AdSense at http://www.ppcdollar.com.

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