Google Reader Tracks Changes To All Web Pages: Tips on How to Block It

Jan 27, 2010 • 8:07 am | comments (1) by | Filed Under Other Google Topics

I live off RSS, live off of it. You don't have an RSS feed, I don't keep track of you. That is until Google Reader announced that they now can track changes to any web page out there (assuming they do not specifically block Google).

If the web page does not have an RSS feed, don't worry. Take the URL, paste it into the subscription box at Google Reader and Google will create a custom feed out of the URL. It will then check the page for changes. How often will it check? Google doesn't say, I assume it has to do with how often the page is crawled.

How is this useful?

  • Track product pricing changes on web sites
  • Track competitors web sites
  • Track terms of service or guideline changes
  • Track news feeds without them having a feed
  • Track anything!

There are other services that offer this type of service with even more features. However, it is nice to have them built into Google Reader.

A WebmasterWorld thread has feedback from Webmasters. In short, they do not like the opt out options. Either you block Googlebot completely from pages you do not want to be tracked, or you add a noarchive tag to the pages you do not want tracked. Noarchive will also remove the cache link in the Google search results. There is no specific tag to block only Google Reader from tracking changes to your pages - maybe there should be?

If you do not want to do any of these things and still do want to block Google Reader. Then set up an RSS feed and give that feed less content then you want. Google Reader should not override the auto-discover RSS feed and thus, it can stop people from tracking your pages.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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