The debate over providing a full RSS feed or just a partial (teaser) feed has been going on in the blogosphere for years. Some bloggers swear by full feeds, while others are hesitant to offer more than a few lines of teaser text for each post.
Wait a minute, what’s the difference here?
Some people will only read blogs in RSS feed readers. They’ll visit some web sites directly, but every day they sit down and scan headlines from their favorite blogs in their feed reader.
When you set up and start your new blog, one of the most important configuration decisions you make is whether to give these readers full access to your text content directly in their feed readers, i.e. a full RSS feed.
Your other option is to show them only the headline and a teaser for each article, and to make them click through to your site to read the full article.
Why would you NOT offer a full RSS feed?
There are various reasons bloggers give for not offering a full feed…
Bloggers who focus on making money online usually prefer to have their readers come to the actual site, where they can click on ads, etc.
Readers who consume the content through RSS are not nearly as easy to monetize as are visitors who visit the website directly. Through an RSS feed, they can’t click on AdSense ads, etc.
There are definitely ways to monetize your RSS feed as well, but they’re not as elegant or as flexible as general website monetization options.
Providing a full feed makes it easy for scraper sites (a.k.a. AdSense scraper sites) to suck and republish their content.
The concern here is that if Google stumbled upon your hot new article on these sites FIRST (before finding it on your site), then this “SPAM” site would essentially trick Google into thinking they published it first. That would give them “first content rights”, so that site would “rank” for your article content instead of you.
Theoretically, this could indeed be an issue for small blogs, since small blogs are not spidered by Google nearly as often as the most popular sites are. So, technically Google MAY discover that fresh content on another site that just sucked it down and republished it.
However, that’s only an issue for sites while they’re very small, and frankly it’s not really much of an issue at all.
The good people at Google are very good at sniffing out junk sites and sifting through all the crap to find the truly useful sites. If your site is actually good and useful, then people will be linking to you organically, and your blog value will rise. Not only will Google start indexing your content much faster, but they’ll immediately know that your site has much more value than some SPAM site that nobody has ever linked to without a reciprocal link.
The short version is: don’t worry about this! Stay the course and focus on making your blog the absolute best that it can be. There are also measures you can take to foil these scraper sites.
Deep linking – The secret to foiling AdSense scraper sites?
One simple solution to get around the issue of scraper sites republishing your content by RSS and taking credit for it is to place deep links to your own content within each post. Then when Google scans the articles on these sites, you’ll get free linkbacks from these very sites – very cool!
Note that deep linking is very valuable to begin with, whether you care about scraper sites or not. People naturally click on links, so if you link to your own articles from within articles you write every day, your readers will spend more time on your site and find articles they would not have found otherwise. Definitely a good thing.
Also, Google will notice that you find your own content useful enough that you yourself link to it, so you’ll get SEO kudos for it as well.
Are there any real advantages to offering a full RSS feed to your readers?
Absolutely! To us, it’s all about our readers and getting our content in front of as many readers as possible. Period!
Fact is, some people will only read blogs in feed readers. Not all, but some. That’s just a reality of the world we live in. Those people simply won’t come to your site, and won’t subscribe to your RSS feed unless it’s a full feed.
So we offer our content to our readers the way they want it, and this way we capture these people as readers.
Hogging the full RSS feed is essentially making decisions out of fear and a lack mentality. That’s a very bad place to be if you hope to grow and prosper.
So set your full RSS feed free and watch your RSS readership surge!