(via Jenny Levine) Great essay by Kevin Hale on why RSS is becoming even more important as search engines like Google get increasingly ineffective because of all sorts of spammers that are devaluing search results. I’ve noticed this of late as well, that a lot of the results that come up toward the top in Google searches lead to ad filled link catalogs. Couple that with the crud that seems to be infesting Blogger and you get the bigger picture.
RSS is just the good stuff, however, and that’s the power. If you can find some trusted sources in the areas that you’re interested in, you can find good information and have it come to you via RSS. And more and more, the evolving alternative to search seems to be rooted in the efforts to build folksonomies via social linking and in following the feeds of those folksonomies. So now you find content in even more effective ways, by subscribing, NOT searching. That’s a shift, huh?
Interestingly, Kevin notes that in marketing new products, he’s been more successful adding them to del.icio.us than waiting for hits to come from Google.
Every time something went up on the site that I felt would be good enough for a wider audience, I added it to my Del.icio.us account with the appropriate tags and descriptions. Our goal was to try and get a feature on del.icio.us/popular by the end of July and to our surprise, we accomplished it in less than a week. After two weeks of diligent posting and tagging, Google gave us a little over 50 referrals while Del.icio.us gave us over 700.
That’s pretty amazing if you think of it. The community identifying value in content rather than the algorithm and doing a better job at it. Coupling that with RSS where the harvests of that “intelligence” come right to your door makes for a pretty powerful tool.