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How to protect your RSS feed

You have spent valuable hours writing a post that you publish to your blog and RSS feed. You later discover your post has been republished on another site via your RSS feed. To make matters worse the site that stole your article is ranking higher than you. What do you do? Protect your RSS feed.

Why protect your feed

One of the biggest fears for RSS publishers is that their content will be stolen and republished on another site. This can mean in extreme case that the offending site is profiting financially and in terms of SERP's of the back of your post.

How protect your feed

You can add a copyright notice to the end of each post in your feed. To do this you will need to be able to edit your RSS feed. If you are using WordPress then you can use this plugin from Smackfoo. It easily allows you to edit your own copyright notice that will automatically be added to the end of every feed. This notice will only apper in your RSS feed and not on your site.

Another option if you don not use a common blogging platform that offers plugins is to use FeedBurners feed flare. You can find the feed flare option under the optimize tab in your Feedburner control panel. You can add a line of code into the add new flare box which is can be found in this post on the forums about generic feed flare.

How to find out who is stealing your feed

Now that you have added a unique copyright notice that will appear at the end of each post you can find out who is republishing your feed. You will need to wait a week or so until your feed has had time to be aggregated by other sites. Now all you need to do is search for the copyright text you used on search engines to find out where your feed has been indexed.

Make your feed work for you

In addition to adding a copyright notice you can also adding link backs to your site within each post. Referencing old content is useful for both you and the reader. Once you have written a post look back at some old content to see if there is any relevant content you can link back to. Now if someone republishes your feed at least you may get some visitors back to your site.

PS. Don't forget the FeedGhost contest is still open.

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