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Google Sitemaps

Google has Sitemaps. This is a new way for tell search engines what is on your site. When I was on a windows server, my host had an automatic way to create a google sitemap. Now that I'm linux, there is no automated method. I found this pretty comprehensive resource from Sci7.com.

Google Sitemaps
Google’s website describes the service:

The Sitemap Protocol allows you to inform search engine crawlers about URLs on your Web sites that are available for crawling. A Sitemap consists of a list of URLs and may also contain additional information about those URLs, such as when they were last modified, how frequently they change, etc.

Google has made the sitemap available for use by other search engines. It can be incorporated into webserver and content management software.

Why use a Google Sitemap

  • The sitemap enables you to indicate the relative importance of the pages on your site. Perhaps you have a product page in your catalogue that is linked to from lots of sites on the web, and therefore it has a high pagerank. This page may often appear above your home page in the search engine results page even for searches that are for your company generally, not that specific page.
  • Do you have dynamic content that is not indexed by search engines? Because sitemaps are new, it should not be relied upon to ensure deep indexing. But the goal is to help find pages in your site, a search engine would normally not find.
  • The sitemap protocol enables webmasters to suggest to search engine robots how often particular pages should be indexed. This could potentially reduce the bandwidth used by search engine robots on dynamic sites.

It is worth noting that much of this functionality has been available for a number of years, META tags can be used to indicate the frequency with which a page is expected to change, and RSS and RDF formats have provided lists of deep links to search engines. Google’s Sitemap webpages note RSS and even a plain text file with URLs on each line as one of a number of ways of providing some of the information which can now be presented in a sitemap file to the search engines.

Telling search engines about a sitemap

Currently Google is the only search engine with a mechanism for allowing webmasters to request their sitemaps are read, and there are two options to do this. If you have a Wordpress blog, you can rebuild the sitemap. Check the Wordpress documentation on how to do this.

If you don't have Wordpress, you can signup for a Google account and add your sitemaps manually via this form on Google’s site. This enables you to monitor how often your sitemap is being reviewed by Google and enables error notifications to be viewed.

Sitemap Resources

Author: Sci7 Ltd. Cambridge UK.