XML feeds are a form of paid inclusion where a search engine is fed information about an advertiser’s web pages by XML. XML is a data delivery language that stands for “Extensible Markup Language” and allows users to define their own elements for sharing structured data. XML feeds also allow the search engine to gather information about web pages without having to gather information by crawling through pages. Marketers who are involved with an XML feed pay to have their pages included in a spider-based search index based on a XML format document which represents each advertiser’s websites.
When dealing with an XML feed, advertisers pay either annually per URL listed, or on a CPC (cost per click) basis. The CPC choice is based upon and XML document representing each page on the client web page, and from clients being assured of frequent crawl cycles so that their advertised pages appear regularly. XML feeds are being used for more than just web pages though. Some are incorporating new media types into this style of paid inclusion, including video, audio, rich media, and graphics. While there are different opinions on using XML and XML feeds, this form of paid inclusion is a growing choice for paid inclusion.