Want to make your blog or podcast more effective? Hijack an RSS scraper!
Definition: an RSS scraper is any web site that copies your RSS feed - your blog posts, your podcast show notes, etc. - and presents it on their site to appear to be original content.
Instead of worrying about RSS scrapers repurposing your content, turn the tables on them and turn them into billboards for you. A few simple tips to get you started:
- Copy your blog post title into your post, and link back to the post or your blog's homepage. Any scraper that repurposes the HTML will automatically provide a link back to the original. This is important because some scrapers copy only an excerpt of your posts.
- Use a plugin like aLinks to automatically create links to important keywords for you. For me, things like my employer, the Student Loan Network, my show, the Financial Aid Podcast, and my other online adventures are all things I want to have links to, but occasionally I forget. aLinks will link them up automatically, ensuring that RSS scrapers get piles of links to replicate, too.
- Add buttons to the bottom of every post containing action items. These buttons will in turn link back to things you want people to do, so when RSS scrapers replicate them, a person who clicks on the button to subscribe will get sent to your RSS feed, not the scraper's. You can see this in action at the Financial Aid Podcast and Marketing Over Coffee. It's important that this goes into the body of the post, not your blog's template, because it's the post contents that scrapers typically re-use.
- Include a text reminder as well, with your domain name in the text, such as, Get this and other articles from the source at www.ChristopherSPenn.com - and of course, link it up.
As much as content creators hate RSS scrapers, especially when our content is repurposed to sell ads on someone else's site, these scrapers are a reality that we can't easily change. Instead of lamenting their existence, we can hijack them as best as we can to get their readers back to our stuff.
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