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Web Feeds

The web feed is a mechanism used to distribute content over the web, in XML-based formats, without attaching any visual presentation to it. The typical way for a person to read your content is to visit your web pages, retrieving their content laid out in HTML format. This doesn’t work with web feeds, because they contain no presentation. Instead, people use specialized programs that retrieve and display the data.

Web feeds are used to disseminate information automatically — to humans as well as other web sites. They are a very effective vehicle for information distribution, and they’ve become very popular because they make it easy for somebody to read news, or recent blog posts, from his or her favorite sources.

Your web site can provide access to some or all of its content through web feeds. They may include links to the actual content as well as other links to elsewhere within your site. Over time, this will garner traffic and links from users who subscribe to your feeds, as well as the various sites that syndicate the information.

Web syndication permits other web sites to promote your content. Other webmasters have an incentive to syndicate feeds on their sites as fresh content, because including relevant syndicated content in moderation can be a useful resource. It may, however, be wise to abbreviate the amount of information you provide in a feed, because the full content appearing on various sites may present duplicate content problems. You may also choose to syndicate others web sites’ content.

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