News, RSS, and Blog Search – Feedster, Topix.net, and Yahoo
After returning from Search Engine Strategies today I realized their were a couple of sessions I noted, but forgot to publish. News Search, RSS Feeds, and Blog Search was one of them, I entered late so I hope that Mark Fletcher of Bloglines forgives me for the shortage of coverage. Scott Rafer of Feedster introduced the audience to the integration of advertising in RSS feed aggregators and blog / feed search listings. Feedster offers paid sponsored links in its search results which are powered by Yahoo (or Overture). Feedster, along with Bloglines, has also pioneered RSS feed advertising, which is a touchy subject since the aggregator (Feedster) is serving advertising based on the content of a specific feed entry.
Chris Tolles of Topix.net was next to speak on the use of algorithms in news related search. Topix is a news search engine which provides categorized and regionalized news results to queries. Unlike Google News and/or Feedster, Topix.net is not restrcited to spider crawling news sites or the monitoring and the ranking of RSS feeds and blog entries. Topix.net monitors normal HTML based web sites along with blogs, news, and RSS driven content management system based sites. So, by doing so, if a user searches for news in Baltimore, they are sure to find not only news from the Baltimore Sun or Orioles blogs, but also Inner Harbor Tourism Sites, Health Departments, and local government sites.
Chris focused his demostration on the importance of algorithms and the targeting of news stories and the dynamic forms of user deliverability such as cell phones, RSS feeds, and partners including Ask Jeeves, AOL and SmartPages.
Other news channels include RSS aggregator distribution on My.Yahoo.com, BlogLines, NewsGator, and over 25,000 iframe powered links on smaller web sites.
Jeremy Zawondy of Yahoo covered RSS and traffic driving, search rankings, how Yahoo exposes feeds, and News Search. RSS feeds are the ultimate opt-in interface now that email newsletter subscription rates are dropping and inboxes are full of spam. RSS readers also check multiple times a day and look for new content frequently. Adding a “My Yahoo” button or “Add to Bloglines” button to the RSS or blog options.
Can RSS help search ranking? Sometimes, if bloggers like what they read via an RSS feed, chances are they will link back to you, improving your ranking in search engines.
What’s Yahoo doing with RSS? “We’re trying to make this understandable for normal people [is Yahoo’s goal]” Zawondy added. Yahoo has also added the “Add to My Yahoo” link in normal Yahoo search results. Additionally, Yahoo introduced a Yahoo Firefox Toolbar which includes the “Add to My Yahoo” button at the top of the Firefox browser.
Yahoo News indexes over 7,000 sources now via RSS feed ranking and also now offers the ability to subscribe to search queries via RSS on My.Yahoo.