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How to use RSS feeds to your advantage

Last week one of my readers asked me if I could explain RSS. A question I can relate to, because I remember thinking what does Really Simple Syndication mean. Can I just ignore it? To make a long story short, I did not ignore it and I am using RSS now so much, that I cannot believe I found it difficult at one point. So here it goes:

We all browse the web on a regular basis. When we come across a site that is of interest to us, we bookmark it so that we can always get back to it later. However, a lot of websites of interest are blogs, that are updated on a regular basis. Bookmarking helps find the blog back again, but it does not keep us posted on the latest information that is published on that site. If it is only one blog we are following that is not a problem. You can simply follow the bookmark back to that site and check what is new. But if you are an internet marketer, you most likely want to make sure you stay up to date on what is new on your niche. This means you will have many blogs you would like to follow. Now it becomes a full time job! On top of the other full time jobs that we have in the internet marketing business. That is where RSS (Real Simple Syndication) comes in. If you subscribe to the RSS feed for that blog, you have a simple way to keep track of what new posts are published on that particular blog.

The way it works is as follows. You look for the subscribe icon on the site. Usually it looks something like this:

RSS feeds

When you subscribe to an RSS feed, you will be asked where to ‘put’ the RSS feed. You can choose from many RSS readers. My favorite is Google Reader, but there are many others out there that you can use as well. I made a quick video to show you how it works:

[flowplayer src= height=285 width=402]

Now that you have your reader set up, you can add as many sites/blogs as you want. All you need to do is scan your reader and click on those titles that have your interest. If you are creating so many RSS feeds that it becomes hard to keep up again, you may want to organize your feeds into groups. That way you can check the groups that have your interest at that point in time. Or you can decide to divide the RSS feeds into groups called Monday, Tuesday etc. and check your daily groups as specified by the name.

What I just described to you is the basic use of RSS feeds. However, over time many other applications have come up. Nowadays you can use RSS feeds to create one-way backlinks by submitting your feed to RSS directories. Every time your feed is added to a feed reader you will get links back to your site, provided you actively publish content. After all, every time a new post is published it shows up on the RSS reader of the subscriber. These one-way backlinks for each post and each subscriber automatically contain your keywords, provided you optimize your blog titles for the search engines.

I have added a list of RSS directories to the Social Traffic Club, so if you are interested just sign in (or up if you are new here) and use it to your advantage. I have also added a few tips with that list how to get even more traffic from RSS feeds.

Let me know if this has been helpful for you. As always I am inviting you to leave your comments below this post.

To your success,

  • Vanessa

    Hi Karin,

    Thanks for sharing, the video and instructions are great for those who are learning about RSS for the first time. Indeed I have subscribed to your RSS feed through Google Reader!


    • social bookmarking

      Nothing better than living proof that you understand the power of RSS. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Anonymous

    HI Karin
    Very helpful post! I was confused about RSS for the first little while. You make it easy to understand, and added some good tips.
    Laura Morris

    • social bookmarking

      Thanks Laura. It is good to hear that I was not the only one who had a hard time with RSS in the beginning.

  • JoeRemington

    Hey there Karin;

    Thanks for writing a very informative post on the importance of RSS; though it is Real Simple Syndication, it’s often overlooked and not effectively used. I agree with you; my favorite is Google Reader as well. Backlinks are extremely important to the success of your blog or website, so it’s important to be using many different strategies such as RSS feeds to build one way backlinks to your blog.

    Thanks again for sharing valuable content my friend

    • social bookmarking

      Hi Joe, I agree with you that the name is very deceiving. But if you understand how RSS works, than you can very easily use it to your advantage.

  • Sigal Zoldan

    Hi Karin,
    Thanks for explaining it here. I totally got the part of the book marking and feed. I find your explanation very useful. I will be sharing this blog link on yours with others so they can have a clear understanding of how RSS feeds work. You certainly shed more light on it for me. Thanks.

    Sigal Zoldan,

  • social bookmarking

    Sent from my iPod

  • Perry A Davis Jr

    Karin before watching your video, I did not know the advantage of always adding my blog post to my homepage. Following your instruction was very easy for me and I subscribed to your excellent blog.


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City USA

    • social bookmarking

      Glad to have been of assistance, Perry.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Karen,

    It is funny because I had the exact same thoughts as you did. I thought maybe I could just ignore RSS because I didn’t understand it. This is a great easy way to stay up to date with blogs that you follow.

    Thanks for the great info.
    Ryan Martin

    • social bookmarking

      Hey Ryan, if only things could miraculously disappear, our approach might have had a chance. But we had no choice. Ultimately we had to get a handle on RSS. That is why I wrote this post. To help make it easier on others than it was for both of us.

  • Pat & Lorna Shanks


    Cool “lesson” on RSS feeds. You’ve explained it well, and we’re sure it’ll help a lot of people understand it a lot more. And we all love to stay up to date… ’cause things are changing pretty darn fast!

    ~ Pat & Lorna

    • social bookmarking

      Hi guys. I realize that this is “old hat” for the two of you, but there are many out there that don’t understand RSS. As I mentioned in my blog post, I can relate to it, having been there for a long time myself. Take care. Thanks for checking out my blog.

  • Dr. Adam Sheck

    Thanks for explaining RSS so well. I have a feed signup on my blog with feedburner, but not sure how that compares to having people sign up for my autoresponder, which gives me more information and more control/access. What do you think?

    • social bookmarking

      Adam, both are valuable assets on a blog in their own right. The autoresponder captures the visitors to your site and the RSS feed brings them there in the first place. So, having both in place is the right way to go.

  • Paul Reimers

    Thanks for the awesome post!

    I was confused for a while about RSS before I finally got a handle on it. I never thought about the one way backlinks that were created and their affect on SEO. Good to know!

    Thanks for sharing the info on the RSS Directories.

    • social bookmarking

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Tommy DiPietro


    Many people still don’t understand RSS feeds, which makes this a great opportunity for many to learn and apply.

    I shared this to make sure it gets out to many more.

    Thanks for the lesson!
    Tommy D.

  • Melodie Kantner

    That’s a great explanation of RSS feeds. It will be helpful to a lot of people to understand it.

  • Juniper Currie

    Karin, Thanks for showing us how to use RSS feeds effectively. It sure helps to manage your time effectively when you use an RSS feed reader.

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  • Bckehrly

    Karin, Thank you for sharing this information about RSS feeds. I’m still not sure of a couple things about this. Do I click the RSS feed on my own blog in order to put it in Google reader as well? There is always something new to learn. Thank you for the explanation. I’m part of TSA and this week you are Monday’s person … so I’m getting a jump on this. I made a video on filters for yahoo mail box and I ‘ve had people pass that video around. It’s funny how knowing something new is so empowering. Once I learned it, of course i wanted to share it.
    See you on TSA… I’m Wednesday I think for this week. blessings… xo
    ps. I made a mistake of blocking my pics on my site so i have to get someone to help me unblock them.. yeah.. pretty stupid.. i know… but when i figure it out,… I will be making a video about it! Right! Make good use of those mishaps! xo

  • caryn

    Ok… what did i do? haha. i clicked the yahoo thingy here and now my pic is showing up from my yahoo updates… well Karin, i guess you’re going places! lol Have a lovely day! I’m the bckehrly from the previous comment! xo

  • Lori Mooney


    Thank you for this great article on RSS. I’ve been wondering what the benefit was of promoting my blog’s RSS feed. You’ve answered my question beautifully!


  • Wendy Hewlett

    Great introduction to RSS feeds and Google Reader Karin. If people are having difficulty finding the RSS icon on a particular site, they can find an RSS icon right in the URL or Browser Bar … usually on the far right side.
    This post caught my attention because I have been haven’t been using Google Reader lately and really need to get in the habit of using it regularly. Like you said, it helps you keep up with the latest in your niche and organizes everything in one convenient location instead of bouncing all over the web.


  • Deb Augur

    Hi Karin, You always give such thorough tutorials. I’m becoming quite the advocate of video, particularly for tutorials and you do such a great job of it. While I knew what RSS was and what it was for (etc) I had not set up my Google Reader or any other reader. You reminded me today of how that would be such a relief to have instead of receiving them all via email. I’m setting up Google reader right now! Thanks for the nudge.

  • Sheena Prailleau

    Excellent introduction to this many people need this blog post. I know I did 5 months ago before I finally figured it out. It was very frustrating.

  • Hazel-Ann La Fortune

    I never really understood RSS before. I certainly never used it! Thanks for opening my eyes.

  • Pearlypq

    Hi Karin,
    First thing first ! :-) Number 1 is to thank you for sharing such a well explained post on this topic. I truly appreciate it and glad you actually give us a great chance to learn from you through your blog.
    Secondly, I have learned few new things here because your explanation is definitely answering my “why” is it beneficial.
    Thanks Karin..very informative post.