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Sitemaps? Just The FAQs, Ma’am

Google really wants you to use a sitemap

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Google has been a sitemaps backer for some time, and they provided some answers to questions webmasters asked during SES Chicago last month.

Through the use of the Sitemaps protocol, site publishers should see their pages indexed quicker and more accurately in search engines that support it, as all the major engines do. Google continued to evangelize their use at a recent industry conference, Search Engine Strategies, which took place in Chicago.

At the Google Webmaster Central blog, they addressed several questions about sitemaps. Questions ranged from the basic (Will a sitemap help me rank better?) to advanced (If I have multiple URLs that point to the same content, can I use my Sitemap to indicate my preferred URL for that content?)

We thought this question and answer was of particular interest:

Q: If my site has multiple sections (e.g. a blog, a forum, and a photo gallery), should I submit one Sitemap for the site, or multiple Sitemaps (one for each section)?

A: You may submit as few or as many Sitemaps as you like (up to these limits). Organize them in whatever way you find easiest to maintain. If you create multiple Sitemaps, you can use a Sitemap Index file to list them all.

The conversation about Sitemaps extended into the comments, where one person asked if Google is actively using the Sitemap Autodiscovery entry in the robots.txt file. Google’s Susan Moskwa, who submitted the post, answered that in the affirmative, and pointed to additional help for that.

Sitemaps? Just The FAQs, Ma’am
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  • http://www.pattayabridge.com pattayabridge

    I regularly update and submit my sitemap to Google. However…
    Google appears to take no notice whatsoever of the line. I indicate relative importance and find that insignifant pages get a high PR and some important pages little PR. Would Google like to confirm that filling in is a wast of time?

  • http://www.pattayabridge.com pattayabridge

    in the comment I just submited, the word priority was not included as i enclosed it in V brackets as on a sitemap. The entry should read: I regularly update and submit my sitemap to Google. However… Google appears to take no notice whatsoever of the ‘priority’ line. I indicate relative importance and find that insignifant pages get a high PR and some important pages little PR. Would Google like to confirm that filling in ‘priority’ is a wast of time?

  • http://www.marketappeal.co.uk Anthony Sharot

    Hi Pattay

    You are right to say that the priority indicator doesn’t affect PR. Google say as much here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/docs/en/protocol.html

    My understanding is that at best the priority tag might affect which urls are crawled first, or most often, but to be fair their algorithm generally works out such details according to their own (secret) logic.

    PageRank is primarily to do with the number of incoming and outgoing links and the PR of those pages. Should you wish to play with it the nofollow attribute is a useful way to funnel it towards your key pages and away from others, as required.

    Anthony

  • http://www.bubbleplanner.com Goals

    I have submitted a sitemap to Google for quite some time now, and it seems to benefit most when I make significant changes to my site. The new pages seem to appear in the search engines much faster than before I submitted the sitemap.

  • http://seowebdesignfirm.com SEO Web Design Firm

    Great outline. Sitemaps are a tricky thing but sitemaps.org has some great W3C info to follow and make it easier.

  • http://www.highbeam.com/landing/journals_nursing.aspx Nursing Journals

    With almost 60 million articles it becomes very imporant to manage your sitemaps carfully and make sure they are up to date with new articles and ones that have been deleted.  Great article.

  • http://www.riversagency.com/ Advertising Agency NC

    We have many clients that are asking for this information and its great that you have outlined it so well.  Looking foward to more articles from you. – Lauren

  • Guest

    I read your article and I think it is very interesting.
    Budlaper.