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What are the differences of the two and how can they help in SEO? I'm creating a custom-scripted CMS and I'm thinking if should I either add RSS/Sitemap/Both?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

RSS helps users browse your site in an aggregated format without having to visit the site. There is some evidence to suggest that feeds help keep your site 'freshness' up in search engine rankings so they are worth the effort, but how much this affects your ranking is anyone's guess.

Sitemaps helps search engines index your site and better understand when new content has been added or updated. IMHO these are a vital part of any site, if for no other reason than it keeps your crawl rate down - I doubt they contribute much towards SEO in the traditional sense.

Any CMS should offer both IMHO.

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should RSS feeds be necessary? –  Zhianc Apr 3 '12 at 10:03
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@jcdavid definitely, they are very useful from a user point of view and have some benefits from an SEO point of view, though the SEO benefits are unclear, and likely a small consideration in ranking. –  toomanyairmiles Apr 3 '12 at 10:05
    
Google parses RSS feeds as sitemaps in Webmaster Tools. –  DisgruntledGoat Apr 3 '12 at 14:52
    
@DisgruntledGoat but RSS feeds may be limited to only a few items. –  Zhianc Apr 4 '12 at 22:59
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@jcdavid Assuming that your sitemap has all your pages, and your RSS feed has just the newest, then yes I would submit both. –  DisgruntledGoat Apr 6 '12 at 12:23
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