This is a one million dollar question most writers keep asking all the time, though I’m not the best person to answer this questions since I don’t have the SEO knowledge and experience of top guns like Search Engine Land and more; but I’ll try my best to look at the issue in question from a street wise view (wonder what means?).
So how important is RSS?
Before we go neck-deep into this topic, we need to first of all look at the importance of this technology pre-panda/penguin. I’ll list some basic uses of RSS feed and how many sites and bloggers took advantage of this tool before Google’s package to its users.
- It helped parsed contents in seconds making them available to your subscribers.
- You can syndicate your contents in multiple RSS feed sites and directories.
- RSS feeds was and still commonly used by top media houses and news prints like New York Times, CNN, FOX and so on to parse news feeds of their various bulletins to their teeming subscribers who happen to be in their millions.
- This technology made it a lot easier to import contents from place to place without the content in focus losing its relevance and search engine standings.
- Blog directories, article directories, bookmark sites like dig.com, reddit, stumbleupon etc.; employed this tool to enhance effective sharing and bookmarking of links and contents.
- Search engines love fresh contents and the feed technology made it easier for these search bots to pick up fresh contents as they get published.
- And so on and so forth
The emergence of the panda and its effect on this technology
For some time now, we’ve been threatened with one Algorithm change by Google time and again, and each time this occurs, many sites and bloggers lose face. But one technology that got strongly hit when the first algo-change referred to as the panda struck was the RSS Feed.
Why it became so inevitable that the RSS will be getting struck by panda became clear, remember this technology was built to function as a tool employed to effectively spread varied samples of one or more contents written or published from its primary source (blogs, article directories, social media sites etc.) to various destinations, unfortunately for it, the panda had a thing for duplicate contents so it subsequently took a huge swing on sites who heavily relied on this technology to make their contents more visible to subscribers, hitting them so hard and in some severe cases(like that of Hubpages), to SERP-Irrecoverable heights ; and when this happened, it sounded an inevitable death knell on this wonderful tool.
This is why Article directories who are notorious for employing the services of this tool were hit the most; ezinearticles.com for example had a feed syndication tool that enabled various content publishers looking for contents for their blogs, sites, ezines etc to easily parse the contents from their directory (ezinearticles.com and co), to wherever these contents are needed. But with the punch on the site, I doubt if this tool is still in use today and even if it is, I seldom see people trooping to article directories for contents like it used to be in past, for no one will love to be penalized for duplicate content which the panda was assigned to take care of.
Then what else did the Panda do to this technology?
With the Panda now in check, pandalizing em sorry penalizing sites with duplicate contents, RSS sort of became a pariah to many publishers and content manufacturers; below is a list of the damage suffered by the ‘victimized’ RSS feed technology reliant sites;
- A site like Hubpages that got hit so hard decided to remove the RSS capsule, which subsequently enabled Hubbers to include feed links from other sites, and in the process of disenabling the capsule, it became quite hard for most of these hubbers who used this tool to enrich their contents to import feed links from content rich sites like Wikipedia. The good thing about adding links from content rich sites is that it adds more credence and authority to their hubs, making them Search friendly and more. Many Hubbers fumed over the loss of the RSS capsule, and with this capsule permanently gone, hubbers lost a potent tool for marketing their contents, so sad one will say.
- Ezinearticles.com and other top directories lost a significant amount of traffic that originated from the strength of this tool. Many ezine publishers and content seekers lost interest in these directories since they (article directories) no longer served their purpose which was providing easy contents for these publishers. Again RSS became a victim owing to the fact that it was used by these so called publishers for seamless importation of contents from the directories to various platforms it was needed. It became certain that it was no longer wanted by these sites in question; and from what I know most of the directories retired the tool (I stand to be corrected if this is not the case).
- The Panda again hit this technology below the belt when many bookmarking sites like xomba who also used this technology to its fullest to serve the users on its platform decided to ban many users and also began censoring contents of publishers who used the site for content promotion to the dismay of these publishers who made a massive exodus since it no longer served their interest. Though I don’t know what happened to this site later on (because I feel so lazy typing xomba.com on my url bar, and is not even worth the trouble anymore).
- The massive closure of blog directories: I remember when Blog directories held sway in the lives of bloggers; top directories like blogcatalog and so on made sure your contents where more visible, and guess what? They employed the RSS to make this happen. Now enter the panda, another loss for the RSS became unavoidable as most of these directories lost their essence making it a waste of time to include them in your blog promotion and marketing plans.
- Then enter Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms that even served information to users faster and also had a human touch to add to the whole beauty. With all these in place an inevitable end for the RSS technology became very clear.
Are you saying this is the end of RSS?
Well this is one declaration or should I say conjecture that I can never make at the moment, regardless, the feelers on ground shows that trends are changing and people are migrating from reading feeds to reading Tweets and Re-tweets, sharing more Facebook links and soliciting for Likes, dropping more Pins and Re-pins and more.
But before we say it is truly the end for RSS, we are yet to talk about one more important algo-change that heavily impacted on this technology making it plausible to arrive at the conclusion that it has indeed neared its inescapable end; what I’m talking about here is the Penguin.
So what did the Penguin do that helped kill this tool further?
The Penguin from what we know was regarded as the web-spam update, it primarily handled sites who spread spam and lean contents; now remember most feed links where half feeds, though some where published full but even at that spam was spam and the penguin again acted up and promptly swept all defaulting sites from Google’s SERP.
These is what finally killed many blog directories since most bloggers via these directories used half-feeds to send traffic to their s-plogs (spam blogs), don’t forget the RSS feed tool made this syndication from blog directory to original content source (blogs in this case), quite easy and possible. With the penguin succinctly doing its job on weeding the web of spam generated from feed links and other spam sources, the RSS was at its foreseeable end; but Google was not yet finished in its bid to see the end of this technology, Google again announced that it will be closing its famous Feed reading Service- the Google reader, and effective from July 1st 2013, Google Reader will be a thing of the past.
So what will this imply? What? I mean the closure of Google reader?
The loss of having a big thing like the closing of Google reader by Google far outweighs the gains since most people who subscribe to feeds of many internet services rely greatly on this service to enable them read their feed subscriptions.
Though many RSS feed alternatives is looking at this as an opportunity to extend the outreach of their services, since the king of the RSS Feed monopoly (Google reader) is going out of the picture making the competition less stiff. I personally don’t use Google reader, rather I’d prefer subscribing to any service via email and only read the newsletters and promotions through my inbox, so I can’t say how much this (Google reader closure), impacted on me.
But for those who this affected, below is a list of RSS feed Alternatives you can use for the moment;
- News Vibe
- Tiny Tiny RSS
The above services I can never vouch for because I have never used them personally, but for a more detailed info on the aforementioned services, you can read this article on Lifehacker.com.
You are yet to answer my question on the Negative implication of closing the Reader on The RSS Feed technology?
Sorry for digressing a little, like I explained above, Google reader will be a thing of the past and if you are reading this after July 1 2013, then it is already over for the reader. With the reader gone, RSS chances of making it out of this ordeal, becomes a daunting task- the reasons for this assertion are enumerated below;
- With the Reader gone Google is trying to redirect the future trends to Social Media Networks, not forgetting that Google might be trying to make its own Social Media Network Google Plus a household thing. You can easily notice this with the way the Giant is forcing users to plus everything these days. The implication of this is that Google does not give a damn about what might be happening to the RSS technology as all that matters to Google at the moment is taking Facebook off the ladder and claiming the number one spot (which I don’t see happening anytime soon).
- The G-Reader made the RSS thing more popular because people tend to be more comfortable with any service owned by Google, but this closure will these same folks especially the less-techy ones believe that using Feed reader services is obsolete since Google says so.
- With less emphasis on the Reader services even if there are many viable alternatives out there, new trends that will be emerging will further hurt this service rendering it dead even before the target date of July 1 2013 approaches.
These are some probable things that might be happening the coming post-Google reader days; but then we are still yet to answer the big question which is- is The RSS feed thing important? or should we just send it to the cyber-dustbin and arrange a funeral for it to send it off to nirvana.
But before we even do that, we are still yet to consider the more dangers that are lurking around waiting to claim the life of this Technology which at the moment is on life-support. Dangers like Twitter who keeps gaining more mainstream acceptance even when most pundits are claiming that the micro-blogging service is losing some cyber-cred or whatever it is.
Then there’s Google Plus prodding the RSS thing the more, secretly coercing it to jump off the cliff and fall into oblivion. Facebook on the other hand is taking the Social thing a little off and introducing business models that look and sound social to its platform, telling the RSS “please it is time I took your spot and share information to real people who trust each other”; then some random and unknown service feeding people info from unconfirmed sources, still under the radar doing their own brand of harm.
However, we can never say it is over for this Technology, as we finally answer the question -What is the Importance of RSS Feed Post-Panda/Pengun?
The Importance of RSS feed Technology in a Post-Panda/Penguin Cyberspace:
- Importing: till this very moment there’s no alternative I know when you want to import from one blog CMS to another; like transferring your Google hosted Blogger to a self-hosted Wordpress, Drupal, Typepad CMS, if there’s another way of doing it by ignoring the Blog’s feed URL I don’t know so can someone please tell me?
- News Networks still need to send news by the seconds and get their sites updated by the second, I wonder how that will be done without the feed thing involved, does anyone have a clue?
- What of the all these third party social media apps and other web 2.0 or it 3.0 that needs to easily sync their services, I know they still do that with the feed URL. For example I was using a service the other day and all I wanted to do was sync my Blogger and Tumblr blogs so that the articles in blogger will appear on Tumblr. The service I was using asked me of my Blogger’s feed URL which I supplied. Before you say bingo! The whole importing thing was over. That is the power of this technology.
- Not forgetting Bloggers who still need to deliver contents to their subscribers, and come to think of it, if truly this technology is at its twilight I wonder why Google’s FeedBurner.com service that helps bloggers deliver contents to their feed and email subscribers is still in service? Or is Google planning to take this service down as well? I don’t see that happening anyway so no need for the panic.
- One other thing I really love about the feed thing is that it also has the ability to filter contents niche by niche so that the contents you subscribed to don’t get mixed up making things all clogged up.
- Then we cannot forget how this has helped many top companies from getting inundated with phone calls, fax and email messages and all of that from subscribers looking for one service or the other and requesting for information on everything feasible. But with this service in place, delivering timely information to those who need it becomes an easy task to accomplish. Do you still how far this technology can go?
- Information remains the most expensive apparel and people will pay anything to get quality information, but the process of disseminating this information seamlessly could become tedious, but with the coming of this technology it became easier to filter through millions of information niche by niche and sending it to where it is needed (thought I said that before?).
I can go on and on with other things this technology can still do in a post-panda/penguin world, but this will suffice for now.
The summary of the whole thing we have talked about here is that regardless of Google’s scheming like frequent algorithm changes, TOS changes, shoving its social media network Google plus down the throat of users, closing down of Google Reader and more; this technology has come to stay all it needs is a little modification here and there and like the email that has withstood many upheavals, this RSS thing will surmount every obstacle on its way.
If you have any contrary view to the one expressed above, make sure you drop your comments below, also if you have anything more to add feel free to also do that via your comments, thanks for stopping by and having the patience to read this piece to this point.