Google's Blog Search has already one benefit : it appears that the debate about "full content" or "partial content" feeds (i.e. reproducing in your RSS feeds whole posts, or just the 50 first words) is back. Indeed, Google indexing only feeds at the moment, it appears much smarter to make it read the whole text instead of some irrelevant introduction if you want referral hits in return. This is good news. Spread the word : partial content feeds suck.
Five reasons why full content syndication is better than coitus interruptus syndication :
- Introduction = untargetted keywords.
Relevant content and keywords are not in the 50 first words (or if they are, your posts are too long :). When a bot indexes whole posts and not just first words, it will know what you are blogging about. Otherwise, it just won't. Don't expect it to send you referrals in return.
- RSS users don't click ads
Readers who use RSS aggregators with your feed are regular readers. Regular readers don't click ads. Forcing them to check the web version of your site won't increase your revenue, it will, at best, increase your bandwidth usage, and at worst, make readers unsubscribe from your feed and read someone else on the same topic who gives them full content, cream, and topping.
- Other bloggers on the same topic give full content feeds
So why would readers bother to check your feed then check your site, when they can have all the information at once from another site ? Maybe unless you are the only expert on earth about some uberniche topic, think about this. You have competitors.
- Short feeds don't spare bandwidth
I swear I've read this argument in favor of partial contents. But obviously, producing short content feeds to spare bandwidth is dumb : you're asking readers to check the HTML version of your posts, and "a HTML page with 1/3 the traffic is using over 30 times the bandwidth" (photmatt's experiments)
- There are better ways to make readers come to your site
You want readers to check your nice hand crafted CSS layout as well as reading your writing ? You want them see your shiny ads ? You simply want them to meet and interact with others readers ? Ah ! That is the key. Create discussions, ask your readers what they think about some subject, request feedback on a particular concern. Unless someone smart spreads a new technology that allows reading and commenting from within an RSS reader, this will make readers visit your site, not just your feed.
Actually, there is only one reason that looks sensible and compatible with short feeds : avoiding automatic reblogging of your content on another website. There are some content stealers over there, but honestly, if I really wanted to rip your substance, would a truncated feed prevent me from doing so ?
Of course, WordPress users could simply install Better Feed plugin and add a copyright notice to each feed item.
Spread the word. Short feeds suck.
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