Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Blog XML Feeds Are Bad For Your Blog

  • If you publish high quality, thoroughly researched articles in a blog then publishing XML feed is bad!
  • If you want your site to disappear from the Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines then do not publish your content through the feed!!

What are you talking about? The XML, RSS, and Atom are the new buzzwords of the year and these things are hot. Why are you saying they are bad?

This is bad because when you publish your site in XML format, other people can scrap and copy your content, and make money of your hard work.

There are hundreds and hundreds of scrapper sites out there whose webmasters find XML feeds from various blogs, and display that entire original content without any regard to copyright laws. They put Google Adsense ads around these content and make the buck easy way. Some scrappers are so bad that they don’t even put the link to the original site from their copycat site.

One other thing concerns me here is the “Duplicate Content Penalty” imposed by Google and possible other search engines. When the bots of different search engines crawl the web, they also notice the number of sites with the identical content. If these bots find the same identical content on more than one site it may apply ranking penalty to the sites in question. This will bring the search engine ranking down for the original blog, and search engine traffic will slowly dissipate reducing the total number of visitor to the blog. See, the search engine bots do not know which site is original and which site is copycat.

So, what a publisher can do to protect his or her original content?
Well, there are not a lot of things someone can do. Entirely stopping the feed publishing is an option, but I guess not the smartest one. I believe, the XML feed should only consist of the partial content; the title of the post and a little snippet of the post. I believe the snippet should be less than 100 characters or first couple of sentences.

The scrappers can still come to your blog and copy and paste your content to their sites, but at least they are not getting free lunch with XML feeds.

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