RSS scraper bots are a big headache for the majority of affiliate marketers (or any webmaster, for that matter). Basically, these are automated tools which less scrupulous marketers can use to steal your content, and then republish it on their own automated blogs or Wordpress sites.
Adding insult to injury, many scraper sites actually wind up ranking higher than the sites they stole their content from! The owners of scraper sites profit by serving Adsense ads, as well as automated Clickbank ads in their content.
In all honesty, there are many "black hat" marketers who make a whole heap of money from RSS scraping. Done correctly, it can be a very lucrative business model (provided you have no qualms with stealing the hard work of others)
However, in this blog post I'm going to show you how to fight back. I'm going to teach you how to profit from RSS scrapers. In less than 10 minutes you can customize your RSS feeds so that you will automatically receive backlinks whenever a scraper bot picks up your content.
You can even serve YOUR affiliate links on scraped websites.
What you'll need:
- A Wordpress powered site (if you're using AffiloTheme then you are sorted)
- RSS Footer plugin by Yoast
- Tentblogger Feedburner RSS Redirect plugin
- FeedBurner feed for your site (go here to learn how to set up FeedBurner for your site)
What is FeedBurner?
FeedBurner is a powerful free service that allows you to create feeds of your sites that are significantly more powerful than the standard WordPress feeds (you should be able to access your standard feed from www.yoursite.com/feed)
With FeedBurner you can:
- See the number of subscribers to your feed
- Give different subscription options (such as email subscription)
- Automatic pinging when you publish your posts
- Integrate Google Adsense into your feeds
As you can see, FeedBurner offers a whole heap of benefits, when compared with the normal RSS feeds you get with Wordpress blogs.
Here's a screenshot of how slick one of my FeedBurner feeds looks:
Once you've got your FeedBurner feed set up (read how to get set up here) it's time to start fighting back against RSS scrapers!
The first thing you need to do is to set up the Yoast RSS Footer Plugin.
Access the plugin settings from the "Settings" tab of your Wordpress Dashboard, and make sure it looks like this:
Basically, this means that every entry in your RSS feed will automatically have a backlink to the post, as well as a backlink to your site itself.
So if someone is scraping your blog content, then every time they scrape one of your new posts, you automatically get at least two backlinks.
You could even go one step further here and add an HTML link to one of your affiliate products (remember to use the built-in redirection settings in AffiloTheme) It would also be possible to add direct links to an opt-in page on your site, for example.
Just remember that if you add too many links or promotional devices to your RSS footer, you could put off human subscribers!
Redirecting Your Feeds
Congratulations! You've just successfully managed to build an automated link-creation machine by combining a simple RSS plugin, a FeedBurner feed, and the desire of black hat affiliate marketers to build websites by stealing other peoples' content.
Now there is just one more thing left to do - in order to really put the finishing touches on your swanky new RSS setup, you want to redirect all of your default Wordpress feeds to FeedBurner.
This means that regardless of whether a visitor to your site checks out your RSS or Atom feed (or any other possible feed type) they will always see your FeedBurner feed.
To do this simply fire up TentBlogger's FeedBurner plugin, and enter your FeedBurner link into both the boxes:
Click "redirect my feeds" and you're away.
Note that it could take up to 24 hours for your feeds to redirect to FeedBurner correctly.
And there you have it - a simple, effective way of improving your RSS feeds, and building automated backlinks whenever someone decides to help themselves to your content. The whole thing shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes to get setup, and your site will reap the rewards for years to come.
If you've got any questions about this RSS method, or have any comments to make then start the discussion below!