The SEO Implications of Google Acquiring FeedBurner

by Gary on June 27, 2007 · 2 comments


Recently Google Acquired FeedBurner – the RSS feed management tool preferred by many bloggers and other online content publishers. With Google being a search engine company and FeedBurner having RSS subscriptions analytical data of almost a million of feed, what’s going to be the SEO implication of this acquisition?

There might be two reasons why Google acquired FeedBurner.

  • To sell ads through its AdSense program
  • To use the feed data to rank websites

The second point is relevant from the SEO perspective. Currently Google heavily use the incoming links (other websites linking to your website) to rank websites. The more quality inbound links you have, the better ranking you get. But more and more webmasters are purchasing links to improve their rankings, and this defeats the entire purpose of Google’s ranking algorithm. According to Google, the incoming links should be voluntary, and should be only acquired by creating valuable content, and this makes sense. If you have money you can purchase incoming links despite having lousy content. This may give boost to your search engine ranking, but it diminishes the quality of the search results.

Some believe Google may use the FeedBurner data to evaluate websites. A higher feed subscription indicates that your content is popular and this further proves that it is highly valuable. Now, Google has its own RSS feeds reader called Google Reader but compared to FeedBurner, very few people use Google Reader so the data over there cannot be used for large scale analytical purposes.

Right now Google official blog says:

…we constantly aim to give AdWords advertisers broader distribution to an even wider audience of users. For these reasons, we’re very pleased to tell you that we’ve just acquired FeedBurner.

which means Google primarily purchased FeedBurner to get an additional platform for AdWords. But, given the immense quantity of demographic data FeedBurner has, Google won’t be able to resist using it in the ranking algorithms. So if you are not burning your RSS feeds yet, start doing it now.

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RitaCatita June 28, 2007 at 10:49 am

For me the main reason behind the Feedburner acquisition is to sell ads through the AdSense program. Is one more channel that google can control directly.

Using Feedburner stats in the ranking algorithms i think is not reasonable, because not every blogs use this system.

Gary June 28, 2007 at 11:05 am

Hi Rita, the main purpose of most of my client blogs is to regularily add fresh content and word count to their existing sites. I find this can help in the SERPs, but their traffic and subscribe levels are low, so I certainly hope you are right. Thanks, Gary.