Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML-based format for content distribution. News, information, enterprise applications and weblogs (blogs) can all be published in RSS. When a new article is posted or a change is made to an application, RSS feeds can automatically notify the user. Text, images, audio (including podcasts) and video can be incorporated into RSS feeds.
RSS feeds can help keep you up-to-date on news, information and blog posts, making you more knowledgeable and productive, both at work and at home. According to Technorati as of March 2006, there are more than 30 million RSS feeds available. Most mainstream news and information sites publish RSS feeds.
There are a number of different use cases for RSS since both internal (enterprise applications, blogs, reports) and external (industry news, competitive information, blogs) content can be delivered as feeds. In particular, many businesses see benefits by not having to periodically check Web sites for key updates or wade through traffic on e-mail distribution lists. In addition to increasing knowledge and productivity, RSS feeds can also be used for brand monitoring, crisis communications, internal/executive communications and competitive intelligence.
Media Companies and Other Content/Information Providers, RSS feeds offer readers, visitors and customers a convenient way to read and access their information. RSS feeds can also be incorporated into Web sites to offer a more personalized and rich user experience, strengthen the brand and maximize revenue opportunities.
To view RSS feeds, you will need an RSS reader or aggregator. There are a number of free or low-cost online, desktop, mobile and Outlook–based readers available. To leverage RSS for a large number of users inside of a company, you will likely need an RSS server to handle security and scalability issues, centrally manage users and groups and present a common interface. To aggregate RSS into an external Web site, you will also need a server-based solution, either hosted or customer-premise based.
RSS and ECOMMERCE
Many online retailers like NewEgg.com are utilizing R.S.S. feeds to keep there customers coming back. If you visit NewEgg.com you will see R.S.S. icons near the sites’ products, with messages offering users regular updates on those products. Once a user has indicated a preference for, say, LCD monitors or daily specials, he clicks on the icon telling the company to send the alerts to his personalized page.
If the user directs NewEgg.com to deliver alerts to a My Yahoo page, NewEgg.com will send the alert, typically an item description with a photo, only when it has a new product or a promotion relevant to the specified items.
Customers might not expend the energy to surf through all the merchandise to find items of interest each time they visit. But R.S.S. is a way to basically position highly relevant interest in front of consumers.
Retailers who are employing R.S.S. feeds are ahead of the curve, but not unreasonably so. It’s still a little too early for this to catch on widely, but as something for the future, it can be incredibly rewarding and potentially very lucrative for retailers.
If you are interested in more information about RSS for your company, Bizatomic boosts your site optimization by creating RSS feeds containing top search engine keywords and adding them to your website. Placing “keyword-targeted” feeds on your webpages will greatly enhance your ability to achieve optimum keyword density. A news feed is preferable to a search engine feed for SEO because news feeds are updated more frequently.