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Do I need to use Google Sitemaps?

Posted on by Clive Walker in Google Search Engines

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Google Sitemaps is an interesting idea that is currently being Beta tested by Google. Well, actually anyone with an account can participate. As a web designer or webmaster, do you need to use it?

It sounds great, create an XML file with your website links and other information, submit it to Google and the search engine will download it and (hopefully) use the information to add your pages to their index. We think this is a good idea – but only for some websites. For most small websites where all pages are linked from a common navigation element, there should be no need.

TIP: It is still useful to create your own website sitemap page – for search engines and your website visitors!

If the website is well-constructed, Google is well capable of following the website’s links in order to find all its pages. Additionally, Google has its own procedures for determining when it will return to re-index your website – and if you are adding new content on a regular basis, then the Googlebot will return on a regular basis as well. You are adding fresh content aren’t you?!

TIP: Check your website visitor statistics to see when the Googlebot spider last visited. It may be more often than you think!

Where, Google Sitemaps is likely to be more useful is for larger websites with 100s of pages that are regularly updated. In these cases, it can take the Googlebot some time to find all pages – so we think that telling Google the URLs of your pages and how often they are updated is no bad thing. The information in your Sitemaps XML file can only help this process. However, you will need to set-up an automated process for XML file creation because manual generation of the file will get tedious – and likely forgotten!

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  • 31 Aug 2005 09:54:23

    Absolutely. I use it. And it really helps. Now google knows the exact structure of my site and is indexing everything the way I want it to do. And you don’t even need to set up any automated XML sitemap generators, you can do it by hand with a txt file.

  • 31 Aug 2005 13:24:39

    Martin. I looked at your blog and you may be interested to know that there is a Textpattern Sitemaps Plugin which will generate the Sitemap for you whenever you want. It just requires one tweak to get it to work with the latest version of Txp.

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