Jan 13, 2012

How to get SEO benefit from your campaign archives

A while back we introduced an RSS button on the Campaign Archive Toolbar.

rss button

It might seem kind of weird at first to include an entire email campaign in an RSS feed, but it’s actually pretty useful. I’ll explain why in just a moment.

First, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Campaign Archives, every campaign you send in MailChimp gets a hosted archive version. There’s a default page, which you can see by clicking the View Past Issues button on the Campaign Archive Toolbar, or you can create a custom archives page, like ours at campaigns.mailchimp.com. Either way, your content is still hosted on MailChimp’s servers, which means your website doesn’t get the SEO benefit.

Now, let’s say you wanted to create a custom campaign archives page and take advantage of all that SEO-friendly content. The only way search engines can index your content in a way that gives you the credit is for you to host the content on your server.

There are two ways to access your archive campaign content in order to host it yourself.

We’ll start with the simplest method first. This is where the RSS button comes in handy—it makes all of your content available at the click of a button.

  1. Make sure the Campaign Archives Toolbar is enabled for the list you want to work with.
  2. Open one of your sent campaigns. Go to Campaigns, select Campaigns By List from the sidebar, choose the list you want to work with, click the title of a campaign with a status of Sent, then click Campaign Archive. This will open a new window with the email campaign. You’ll see the Campaign Archive Toolbar at the top of the page.
  3. Click the RSS button. You’ll see a feed with every campaign you have sent to the list.

If you’re a programmer, you can use the RSS feed as the input to dynamically display your archive campaign content. Otherwise, you’ll need to manually copy the content from the doctype to the closing html tag, and save it as an HTML file on your server. Remember, the RSS file contains HTML for every campaign you’ve sent to your list, interspersed with XML, so you’ll need to locate and copy the content starting with <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> and ending with </html> for each campaign.

The other way to access your archive campaign content bypasses the RSS button entirely, dynamically grabbing archive campaign content using our API and posting it to your website.

This method is really only for programmers, so if that’s not your area of expertise, you may want to call a professional. Also, if you plan to build something custom for your site using our API, consider applying for our $1 million integration fund.

To get archive content through our API, use the campaignContent() with the for_archive tag set to true. You can retrieve archive campaigns and get the campaign_id required for the campaignContent() call using campaigns() with the status=sent filter.

Now that you’ve learned how to access your archive campaign content, it’s time to reap the benefit. After all, you have all that SEO-rich content sitting around. Why not put it to work for you?