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Just looking for some quick feedback on the following.

I have an RSS feed currently that works as it should. However, our client has asked for us to botch it to work in a way that isn't normal practice (basically, displaying the whole post instead of an excerpt). I've pushed back on hacking these changes in as it'll break the feed for others potentially, so I was wondering if a duplicate RSS feed (one that meets standard criteria, and one that is hacked to work in their own RSS feed) is a solution?

I imagine it's pretty easy to do I was just wondering if the site would suffer in anyway (I'm thinking from a SEO POV) from the duplicate content (feed).

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Offering multiple feeds for the same entries is perfectly fine.

This is commonly done to provide different formats, or, like in your case, to offer a feed with the full content and a feed with excerpts only. Another reason might be to offer feeds with different entry count (e.g., the newest 10 items, and the newest 50 items).

Full content or excerpt?

That said, I don’t agree that a feed with the full content "isn't normal practice", and I don’t agree that only an excerpt feed "meets standard criteria".

It’s typically more useful to provide the full content:

  • feed reader users can read your content within their feed reader (without having to visit your site in their browser), and
  • they can use filters (and the search function) in their feed readers that work with the full text.

In case of Atom, you could even provide both in the same feed: a content element for the full content, and a summary element for the excerpt. (I guess other feed formats allows this, too.) Sophisticated feed readers might offer the user the choice what to display.

Reasons for providing only the excerpt (typically not in the user’s interest) include:

  • the author wants the users to visit the website (e.g., because of advertisements)
  • the author is afraid that a full-content feed makes it easier for scrapers to "steal" the content

Markup

If providing multiple feeds, make sure

  • Great answer - thanks a bunch for that! I haven't worked on this directly up to this stage but there was definitely something in the 'bespoke' style RSS feed they were originally using that didn't pass the feed validation service validator.w3.org/feed – epluribusunum Oct 17 '16 at 14:38
  • ... I will have to dig a bit deeper into clarifying this. @unor could pulling through images within the content itself cause issues? – epluribusunum Oct 17 '16 at 14:43
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    @epluribusunum: You mean having img elements in the feed entries? Shouldn’t be a problem, I guess. For debugging your feed, you can ask a question on Stack Overflow. – unor Oct 17 '16 at 15:06
  • @epluribusunum: images in feeds are fine, but you will want to ensure that they include a scheme and fully qualified domain name in the URL. Not all feed readers are created equal, and trying to work out what "../images/example.png" resolves to is difficult at best. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Oct 27 '16 at 7:12

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