Sitemaps? Just The FAQs, Ma’am
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.