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Joomla! Blogging and RSS Feeds : Using Google's FeedBurner for SEO

1/15/2011 6:10:45 PM
The preferred choice for burning your feed was www.feedburner.com, and they were so good at it that Google bought FeedBurner. So now if you want to Burn your Feed you have to login to Google with your Gmail account. Once logged in, look for the service FeedBurner and click on it. You will find a small screen in the middle of the page that says:

Here you can paste the link that you got after clicking on Feed Entries on your Joomla! site. That is the public RSS Feed link that is shown by your syndication module. Once you click on the Next button you have a lot of options to improve your blog feed. The first thing you have to do is to make sure you have a nice feed URL.

I wanted it to be TheGardenBlog, but it was already taken so I settled for TheCrazyBeezGardenBlog, which is also good. You can also adjust your Feed Title, if you think it will be better, this title will be shown in a RSS reader to identify your feed. Click on Next and there you are:

Are you done? No way, now we get to the best part of the FeedBurner by Google service.

Choosing your FeedBurner options for optimal results

The Google service has a lot of options in store that will improve our RSS visibility and provide us with some blogging features that Joomla! doesn't have. One of the most important services is the PingShot that we will be looking at later. Let's take small steps and see what we can configure to get the best of the best.

First we will go through the option tabs and check what you should really use:

  • Analyze: This is where you will see how well you are doing looking at your feed reader's stats

  • Optimize: Here are two services you need to activate, BrowserFriendly and SmartFeed

  • Publicize: Most of your work will be done here with Email Subscriptions, PingShot, FeedCount, and NoIndex

  • Monetize: Only if you want AdSense advertisements into your Feeds

  • Troubleshootize: A great place to start if your feed doesn't work the way it should

From the tabs mentioned, we will be looking more closely at some of the settings in the Optimize and Publicize tabs.

Let's take a look at the Optimize tab settings:

  • BrowserFriendly: This makes your RSS Feed that comes out of Joomla! a lot better, because it turns the not-so-nice looking feeds into human viewable HTML pages. For this, compare the following two screenshots.

And all you have to do is activate the service!

SmartFeed is all for your visitors, it will give them the choice of viewing your feed into their favorite feed reader. There are a lot of feed readers out there. If you activate this service you give your visitors an easy choice to import your feed with a single click. If they click on your RSS Feed button, they get a list of services to which, they can add your feed with just a click on the button.

Now, let's take a look at the Publicize tab settings:

  • Email Subscriptions makes it really easy to offer an email subscription to your RSS Feed.

    After activation of this service, copy the code from the Subscription Form Code field, and paste it on your site in a HTML module. To create such a module, go to your administrator panel. Choose Extensions from the top menu, then choose Module Manager. Then click on New and choose Custom HTML, give it a Title, Position, and publish it after you paste the code. The subscription form and fields are now ready for use.

You can also configure the time when you want those emails to be sent to your visitors using the Delivery Options setting.

PingShot: PingShot does something that Joomla! cannot, but is essential for a blog.

It sends a ping after you publish your post to several services such as Technorati, My Yahoo, and Bloglines.

Make sure you activate the other two and add up to five extra options. For example, Ping-o-matic which will ping several other services for you, and Newsgator, which is another good service.

From the drop-down list you can add a few extra services of which Google Blog Search Pinging Service is one.

The other choice of services is dependent on the niche you work in, but for me the following ones work great:

  • icerocket

  • Weblogs.Com

  • FeedBlitz

  • Syndic8

  • FeedCount: This is a well-known counter. You can show it on your site to let people know how many subscribers are there on your feed. Don't show the feed count until you have over a minimum of 100 subscribers. There is a psychological effect behind this tip.

    Nobody will subscribe to your feed if it shows that there are only 3 subscribers. The thought behind this is that it is probably not that interesting because there are few subscribers.

    If you get over 100 subscribers, start showing the count! With over 100 subscribers there must be value in that feed! If you reach that limit and show it you will see that the number of subscribers will soon start to grow faster than before.

  • NoIndex: This option makes sure that your own feed is not indexed and ranking higher than your pages. This means the feed from burner.com will not be indexed, because of that it is not possible to have it outrank your pages. If you don't use that option the feed itself has the possibility to outperform your pages (this is not likely, but I have seen it happen on some sites, although that was before Google bought FeedBurner).

Replacing your RSS Feed with the FeedBurner feed

If you are done with the configuration of your feed we are going to replace that nice Joomla! feed button and link.

To do so, go to your administration panel and create a new Custom HTML module. Open the FeedBurner configuration page in your browser, navigate to the Publicize tab and choose Chicklet Chooser. Use the standard feed icon and copy the code that is way down at the bottom of the screen and paste it into your new module. If you want the email subscription field as well, copy the code and paste it below the previous code. Publish the module to be shown on the site.

As this is HTML code you can change it to make it even better:

In the following screenshot you will see a subscribe module on top of the menu sidebar for my example:

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