Search Engine Marketing: Use an XML Feed to Boost Paid-Inclusion Results
Paid inclusion, the least-recognized type of search engine marketing, is a powerful channel that may drive additional online sales for catalogers. But to efficiently drive the most sales, you’ll need to utilize all the tools in the paid-inclusion toolbox. Extensible markup language (XML) feeds can allow you to submit robust product information more easily and effectively.
For those new to paid inclusion, this tactic differs from paid placement, or sponsored listings. Marketers can submit all of the URLs in their sites to a search engine on a cost-per-click or per-URL basis with guaranteed inclusion in natural search results, without the listing being marked as an advertisement. While inclusion is guaranteed, ranking isn’t. You’ll still have to optimize your submission to get the best results.
One of the best things about paid inclusion is that you can batch-submit URLs to the search engines via an XML file. XML allows you to create a customized file that more easily enables the definition, transmission, validation and interpretation of data between your site and the search engine.
If you’ve got a massive catalog with thousands of products and unique URLs for each product, paid placement would be a laborious and very expensive task. With paid inclusion, you can create an XML file of your pages. This can be a spreadsheet converted to XML, which would be populated with information such as product names, descriptions, keywords and body copy for each URL you’re submitting. This offers you significantly more control than search engine optimization (SEO) regarding how searchers find your pages and what they see in the search engines. The specifications for the XML file will be provided by the search engines and may differ from engine to engine.
While an XML feed will take care of distributing content to the search engine, it can’t ensure that your content will appear high among results when end users search for content relevant to your feed. Optimizing your feed content to address the engine’s search algorithm then becomes critical. This sounds much harder than it is. Make sure your spreadsheet includes accurate, well-written titles, descriptions and body copy for each item. If this copy is peppered with relevant, descriptive keywords, you’ll greatly improve your chances of landing higher rankings.