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Using RSS as a Flash Page Sitemap

This is a simple way to add a little more content and link navigation for search engines for full flash web sites using a standard RSS formatted document.

If you have not worked with RSS or XML before here are some good introductory resources where you can learn more in-depth coding and information than what we will be covering here:

http://www.w3schools.com/rss/default.asp - RSS Coding
http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2175281 - Information
http://rdf.mobrien.com/xml/rss/open/make-rss/ - RSS Generation Tool

To begin with this RSS file won't specifically be used as a "news feed" but more as meta data or sitemap file.

First let's take a look at a simple example, then we will pull it apart a little.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1" ?>
<rss version="2.0">
<channel>
<title>Ironvine Design Information </title>
<link>http://www.ironvine.com</link>
<description>You could add descriptive content about the web site in general here.</description>
<language>en-us</language>
<item>
<title>Ironvine Design - Homepage</title>
<link>http://www.ironvine.com/index.html</link>
<description>Welcome to Ironvine Design. We provide web site design services, search engine optimization and programming support.</description>
</item>

<item>
<title>Ironvine Design - Sitemap</title>
<link>http://www.ironvine.com/sitemap.html</link>
<description>Add a description of your sitemap page, or the sections it contains. </description>
</item>

</channel>
</rss>

The first two lines are the standard XML/RSS opening tags. There shouldn't be anything that needs changed here.

The next 4 lines describe the channel or in other words, the file overview.
- I would suggest using the same title as your web site, or that this is an "Information" file as shown above.
- Use a link to the root of your website.
- Describe your website cleanly. In other words, don't just cut and paste a list of keywords. Make it relevant to what you web site really is.

Following the channel tags you will see a couple <item> example groups.

This is where you would add an <item> group for each page of your web site. (For larger sites it may be helpful to create multiple RSS files for each section and place them on the section overview page, assuming you have a decent structure in place.)
- Use the same procedures as you did for the channel tags for each of the item group tags.
- Describe your pages. Don't always cut and paste content. Write what your page is about in a descriptive way and you just created yourself more relevant content! Again, don't just cut and paste a list of keywords.

The last two lines are the closing tags. Don't forget them!

Save this file as "ironvine-information.rss"

So, now that we have the meta/RSS file created, how do we add it? Easy!

In the <head> section of your homepage just add the following line:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Ironvine Design Information and Sitemap" href="http://www.ironvine.com/rss/ironvine-information.rss" />

Remember to change the filename to match where you place it on your website.

That's all there is to it. I will do some more information and let you know the results of further testing!

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