More autodiscovery for bots: Finding weblogs via RSS referers
Okay, so now we've got a bit further toward our News Aggregators leaving vapor trails. Thanks, Morbus. Thanks, Dave. There's still some more work that needs to be done, though. In specific, how do I get to you via your trail? Or, to be even more specific- how to my agents get to you?
Sure, I can look in my referers now, and filter on my RSS feed to see a footprints. And for Radio users, I can pluck out the userWeblog=... param added to Radio aggregator referers. For others, like the page I set up, or Adam set up, or Jeff set up, I can try to assume that the URL leads... somewhere.
But, in thinking about this further, none of this actually fulfills my wish. I originally wanted to see these referers lead directly to a reader's blog. They don't. But, that's fine: I kind of like the idea of the thank you / hello / I'm reading your page. However, I still want to find you.
Or, rather, as I alluded to in the first paragraph, I want my agents to find you. And my agents are only semi-intelligent. So how about we set a standard by which bots can autodiscover your weblog, home page, whatever:
- If you don't care to put up a special page to point to as your referer when aggregating news, then point a URL somewhere, anywhere, but include a URL to your weblog in a query parameter named "userWeblog". This covers an already de facto standard set by Radio.
- If you do care to set up an acknowledgement page for your readers, include a LINK tag in the page's HEAD pointing to the home page of your site as the table of contents:
In fact, I like this LINK tag now. I think it should be put on all of your weblog pages. Especially as I start thinking more about revisiting referers: A LINK back to your weblog home as the table of contents would allow me to maybe enrich my backlinks, especially knowing where your site root is. (If my eyes do not deceive, it looks like backlinks on Mark Pilgrim's blog do some RSS autodiscovery right now.)
Anyway, let me know what you think.