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Google Sitemaps

<img src="/logo_wht_30.gif" alt="google sitemaps doc" width="110" height="48" border="0"> By the time the Web is growing, search engines take more time crawling web sites and algorithms must be improved to spider efficiently.

Sitemaps are ususally coded in pure HTML (CSS...), webmasters commonly use a page to describe the structure of their web site and they insert this mapping onto their main page or on a different page, so search engines like Google find each link with more ease.

This article overviews the Google sitemaps xml program which is in a BETA state. The use of this XML file is to help search engines crawl the web more efficiently.


For instance this file includes a hierarchy within the links.

As scanning of webpages becomes more sophisticated for search engines; for instance spiders are trying to discourage keywords stuffing and other attempts to boost back links and page rank, new programs must be created to extract relevant web sites from the mess.

Yet in a BETA state, Google launched its program for this purpose.

Will other webcrawlers implement this program soon ?, I guess MSN, Altavista... are already thinking about it, a hierarchy within the links is not a bad idea and the use of this file should decrease the time consumed from spidering all these useless links.

The sitemaps file
There are several formats you can use to build your sitemaps file, you can use RSS, txt... However Google recommends the use of its own protocol (I'm curious about what other search engines will do about this !).

I guess we better follow Google and start building our maps right away.

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Here is the example from LinksTraffic:

<textarea cols="70" rows="25"> <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84">

<url> <loc>http://www.linkstraffic.net/<;/loc> <lastmod>2005-08-25</lastmod> <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> <priority>1.0</priority> </url>

<url> <loc>http://www.linkstraffic.net/articles.php<;/loc> <lastmod>2005-08-25</lastmod> <changefreq>weekly</changefreq> <priority>1.0</priority> </url>

<url> <loc>http://www.linkstraffic.net/privacy.php<;/loc> <lastmod>2005-08-25</lastmod> <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> <priority>0.5</priority> </url> ... </textarea>

And the full linkstraffic sitemaps xml file: Sitemaps.xml

For important sites, it's advised to use a Sitemaps generator, Google provides one for free and there are some other free tools also.

Once you uploaded your file into your server, you can submit your sitemaps to Google (you need a Google account to achieve this procedure, by the way you will be able to keep in touch with the latest changes from their side).

There are some statistics about Google crawling of your sitemaps, however keep in mind that it may take a while before the first crawl.

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Thanks for reading, i hope this article has been useful for some of you, in a next article i will talk about the robots.txt file.

Google Sitemaps Just Got Better

Having a Google Sitemap just got better! Not only does the search engine company check your sitemap, but now they give you feedback! The new feature was quickly noticed by many users of the service recently as a way for Google to alert the webmaster about possible problem pages that they have had trouble indexing.

I had the wonderful experience of getting to know this service first hand when I logged in to Google Sitemaps to check on the status of one of my many sitemaps. Along side of the address for the sitemap, there was a link with the anchor text "verify". This helps Google to know that you are the actual webmaster for that site and is a wonderful addition for security.

Once you are verified (which is a simple process of creating a page on your root directory that they will see) you are able to see the stats for the site index. Often times, you won't see anything in the stats area, but if you have recently updated, redesigned, or deleted certain pages that Google has in its index, you have a good chance of seeing something there. Google will tell you about possible errors in the indexing process such as pages that are not showing, or pages that they can't see.

You might already be familiar with the new Google Sitemap Program, but if you aren't here's a quick synopsis. The Sitemaps program is a new offering from the Google family and is currently in beta testing.

The goal of the program is to allow Google to see the complete sitemap or a sitemap of frequently changing pages. This is extremely helpful if you have links that can't be reached by the Googlebot when it's indexing your page due to things like Java script menus and such. The codes on a page that prevent the bot from viewing your site ultimately hinder you in the search engines.

So using the XML standard coding language, which is easy to understand once you get the hang of it, you create a log of the various pages on your site and tell Google some attributes about it such as the overall priority of the page, how frequently you alter the content, when the page was updated last, and of course its location.

This will give Google the overall picture of the layout of your site and does help in getting the pages indexed for greater relevancy. There are protocols for the creation of the sitemap so it's best to read all the information completely at the Google Sitemaps web site at http://www.google.com/webmasters/ .

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John Wooton Author and Creator - The SEO Journal Blog Step by step tips on effectively mastering the search engines http://seojournal05.blogspot.com

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