Thursday, June 23, 2005

Google Sitemaps True or False


The Google Sitemaps initiative is now a month old or so and despite a pretty unambiguous FAQ section, many Webmasters appear thoroughly confused about what an *.xml sitemap can do for their site and what it can’t do. Below is a small compendium of “True or False” regarding Google Sitemaps, a “Very Frequently Asked Questions” as it were. Disagree? Have something to add? Leave a comment…

Q1. Creating a Google Sitemap will get my site spidered more quickly? True or false?

Q2. Creating a Google Sitemap will get my site indexed more quickly? True or false?

Q3. Creating a Google Sitemap will improve my SERP rankings? True or false?

Q4. Creating a Google Sitemap will improve my PageRank? True or false?

Q5. Creating a Google Sitemap can actually reduce the number of indexed pages of my site? True or false?

Q6. Resubmitting a Google Sitemap several times can make Google eventually take notice of my site? True or false?

Q7. Complaining can make Google eventually take notice of my site? True or false?

Q8. Not taking part in Google Sitemaps means your site will no longer be respidered? True or false?

Q9. Taking part in Google Sitemaps is the fast track to success for your site? True or false?

Q10. Google Sitemaps is a scam and it doesn’t work? True or false?

Read our conclusion on Google Sitemaps. Conclusion


A1. False! The spidering frequency is likely to be based on previous Google logs and not on the fact that you’ve a Google compatible sitemap or not. For new sites that can mean lengthy waiting times, even when participating in the program.

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A2. False! What Google actually includes in it’s index is based on the content found and inbound links pointing to that content (simply put), not on the fact the content was found on a Google compatible sitemap (or not).
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A3. False! Ditto to A2. Google SERPS are based on content and inbound links, not on the fact the content was found on a Google compatible sitemap (or not).
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A4. False! Ditto to A2 and A3. PageRank is based mainly on inbound links, not on the fact the content was found on a Google compatible sitemap (or not). Parcicipating (or not) will not affect the PR of your pages, either way.
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A5. False! Some webmasters have reported a drop in the number of pages indexed by Google. This is almost certainly a coincidence, caused by the fact that Google is in the middle of an algorithm update (Bourbon), which is shaking things up considerably. Also make sure your sitemap contains all the URLs you want including and not those you don’t want them to see.
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A6. False! Resubmitting simply because your sitemap status didn’t turn to OK immediately is likely to be simply ignored by Google. Have some patience.
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A7. False! Ditto A6. Complaining to Google simply because your sitemap status didn’t turn to OK immediately is likely to be simply ignored by Google. Have some patience. And if your going to complain, be polite and arm yourself with facts, not rumour.
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A8. False! Google will continue to spider the Net simply by following links, as it’s been doing for many years. If your site is well connected it will continue to get found, even if you don’t deploy a Google compatible sitemap.
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A9. False! If you’ve read the answers to all questions, you’ll have understood the answer to this question is an emphatic NO!
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A10. False! Google Sitemaps works for countless webmasters, including myself. Right now the program is still in Beta, so patience is needed to figure out what the future will bring.
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Conclusion: Google Sitemaps offers an alternative method for sites to be (re)spidered, using a uniform format. Inclusion in the program doesn’t guarantee quick indexation, higher SERPS or PR but it can’t penalise your site either. In the future, sites that operate a Google compatible sitemap may have some competitive edge over those that don’t but right now that’s likely not to be the case.
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For an abridged guide to installing the Google OEM python based Sitemap_gen.py script go to: Google Sitemaps revisited.

Please feel free to include comments and suggestions. Links are allowed. No spam or abuse please.

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17 Comments:

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Stephen Newton said...

It’s hard to see how your conclusion is justified by what’s gone before, which can be summed-up as ‘Sitemaps will make a difference: FALSE’. You say sitemaps work for you, but what benefits have you observed? You say that ‘In the future, sites that operate a Google compatible sitemap may have some competitive edge over those that don’t’, but don’t explain what will give them that edge.

Having said all that, I think there are benefits to using Google sitemaps as my own experience contradicts some of your true/false statements. I have three websites. One has around 500 pages 98 per cent of which are in Google’s index, one has 700 pages with coverage of around forty per cent and a third new site coincidently created at the same time as sitemaps with three pages none of which are indexed.

The first site still has 98 per cent coverage. I don’t know which two per cent are missing, but I did spot one or two pages I’d like indexed that weren’t. Using priorities I’ve let Google know those pages are important (and I’ve let it know of several that aren’t) and got those important pages into Google (the unimportant pages haven’t been removed). The second site has seen its coverage rise to 96 per cent, doubling traffic. The third site (despite being visited by Googlebot many times) has yet to appear.

So...

Q1. Creating a Google Sitemap will get my site spidered more quickly? TRUE (third site shows this). But this doesn’t mean you’ll indexed any sooner.

More importantly, a site that’s currently poorly covered by Google can reverse that. (Second site shows this.)

If a webpage is indexed as a result of the sitemap, it will get a ranking for the first time and so boost the traffic to the site as a whole. (Second site shows this.)

If Google has failed to index pages the webmaster feels are important, this can be reversed. (First site shows.) But remember priorities are relative. If every page is 0.9, then every page is of equal value and may as well be 0.1. If you tell Google which pages are important, you must also tell it which pages are unimportant and risk them ‘falling out’ of the index (although this hasn’t yet happened to me in practice).

How is this possible? Most of the pages in these sites rarely change. The sitemap tells Google when they were last changed and/or how frequently they’re updated and whether it needs to update its cache. If it doesn’t need to update, it’s free to index a page it previously ignored.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Sad to hear I've not been able to clear up some of the main misconceptions.

When I said Google Sitemaps had worked for me I meant just that (no more no less): I submitted two sitemaps for two very different sites, they were both OKd, downloaded and all URLs were crawled within hours. Note that one of the sites was fully indexed already, the other had been crawled (but not indexed) previously.

What does that "prove?" It "proves" that a correct sitemap can get your pages crawled, no more, no less. And that's what Google sitemaps is about: providing a "homogeneous" format for crawlable lists of URLs you would like to have included.

When it comes to SEO, the most commonly made mistake is to jump to conclusions that have no statistical basis whatsoever.

"It worked for Site 1, ergo it works"

Let me ask you something: would you put your life on the line (I mean literally), by betting it would work for Site 2 as well? No, you wouldn't because intuitively you know you're on very shaky ground. You wouldn't even do it if a positive outcome made you a cool million in revenue. Please prove me wrong.

The conclusions you jump to in your comment are equally easy to disprove with very basic arguments. Of course if you can repeat these results a couple of times with other sites, then your conclusions start to carry more weight.

The Google Sitemaps forum (presumably that's where you found this post) is full of this kind of "plumber logic":

"I lost some pages in the index, ergo Google Sitemaps is a scam".

I watch this kind of "play school reasoning" developed with increasing dismay.

You know as well as I do (possibly better) that many, many factors determine the outcome of any "experiment" in getting pages crawled, indexed or ranked well. It would be a statistician's nightmare to untangle all these factors. There are techniques like Factorial Experimental Design, but in my view they would be extremely difficult to apply to SEO.

But most Google watchers simplify their conclusions to the point they're totally insignificant. Don't base business decisions on extremely flimsy "evidence", something the SEO/SOM (snake oil merchants) "industry" is full of. Full to the brim.

Thanks a lot for your comment.

 
At 11:33 PM, Blogger Ken - LVKen7@gmail.com said...

Can I use Sitemaps with my Blooger?
I use Blogspot.

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Gert said...

If you're hosting your Blogger blog yourself, then use a Google Sitemap as you would for any other site.

If you're not hosting it yourself, then I suggest submitting the atom.xml feed that comes with any free Blogger account.

I submitted my feed (http://developing-your-web-presence.blogspot.com/atom.xml) to Google Sitemaps and it was OKd and downloaded.

 
At 11:59 PM, Anonymous Bo said...

Hmmm... Gert, somebody mentioned the word "net polluter". By claiming what you do here, you make it sound like you know the answers to the questions you write... it's nothing else but "net polution"!

The truth is that you do not know the answers, and you should not trick other people, like you do here, to use Google Sitemaps until it's really working.

Apart from this I would say that you haven't gotten one single answer right (without saying that I know all the answers, myself).

I was one of the first using Google Sitemaps, but I still haven't seen any effect of it. So I can't say what really works, but I would recommend everyone to stop wasting time on Google Sitemaps until it's no longer a Beta.

See http://groups-beta.google.com/group/google-sitemaps/browse_frm/thread/cffea4888772cc31/83bc062b69c8ae57?hl=sv#83bc062b69c8ae57

You are so wrong in all of what you write, and now also when you write;
- What does that "prove?" It "proves" that a correct sitemap can get your pages crawled, no more, no less.".
- I must point out that nothing at all is proved, as you say. I have a sitemap created "by the book", but it doesn't even get my pages crawled. You are not only jumping to conclusiones, you are jumping to the WRONG conclusions !

Then you write false statements like;
- The Google Sitemaps forum (presumably that's where you found this post) is full of this kind of "plumber logic":
"I lost some pages in the index, ergo Google Sitemaps is a scam".
I watch this kind of "play school reasoning" developed with increasing dismay.

You are far out in the blue here. You want to see it like everybody who doesn't see any effect from Google Sitemaps are wrong, and you are the only one being right.
Actually I've rarely in my life seen a text being so wrong as the text you wrote about Google Sitemaps.

What you say is just plain ridiculous. You should start to learn how to think logically instead, before you accuse others of not being logical!

If you think that "scam" is a too hard word for "Google Sitemaps", feel free to change it into "joke", or "not working".

You sound like you know just as much, or more, than the people at Google, and I can only hope people don't get fooled by this and that they use their own judgement instead.

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger Stephen Newton said...

I've obviously hit a raw nerve Girt! Sorry.

I think you failed to clear up misconceptions because the experiences you describe fail to justify the conclusions you reach. In particular, you say 'I submitted two... and all URLs were crawled within hours' and then 'a correct sitemap can get your pages crawled, no more, no less'. You're clearly stating web pages were spidered as a result of sitemaps, contradicting your answer to Q1.

The benefits you claim are dubious. Having a sitemap okayed and downloaded delivers no benefits I can see. Having the site spidered is only an advantage if it leads to indexing and can have significant disadvantages.

We all have very limited experience in this area, but that's not stopped you reaching very definite conclusions, unshakable by the experience of others.

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Bo said...

Well said Stephen !!! Couldn't have said it better myself, and I fully agree with you about Gerts strange way of reasoning! No logic whatsoever in his Q&A!

I really hope the people ending up on this page also read the comments made by us, so they don't get fooled by what Gert has written.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Thanks both Stephen and Bo for your comments…

Let me quote and reply to some of your remarks.

Hmmm... Gert, somebody mentioned the word "net polluter" [sic]. By claiming what you do here, you make it sound like you know the answers to the questions you write... it's nothing else but "net polution" [sic]!

Reply: That somebody was me, except I called you a nest polluter, not a net polluter. Reading isn't your strongest suit.

Bo, things don’t go your way and you start throwing toys out your pram. “Google Sitemaps – The scam of the century”. Pheleeaase… stop behaving like a petulant child. You seem to be conducting some kind of personal vendetta against all things to do with Google Sitemaps.

You are so wrong in all of what you write, and now also when you write;
- What does that "prove?" It "proves" that a correct sitemap can get your pages crawled, no more, no less."

Reply: My Sitemaps did get crawled: it proves that a sitemap can get crawled, it doesn’t guarantee that every sitemap will get crawled, I never said anything to that effect. Am I missing something here? Get a dictionary and look up “can” and “will”, there’s a difference.

If you think that "scam" is a too hard word for "Google Sitemaps", feel free to change it into "joke", or "not working".

Reply: You didn’t call it a “scam”, that wasn’t graphical enough for you. It had to be “The scam of the century”. Can you hear those words in your head?

You sound like you know just as much, or more, than the people at Google...

Reply: 95% of what I know about Google Sitemaps is what’s clearly there for all to see in the Google Sitemaps FAQ. Maybe you should read it too?

I've obviously hit a raw nerve Girt [sic]! Sorry.

Reply: Sorry for what? Seriously, I don't get it. Sorry for misspelling my name perhaps (it’s not a problem, believe me)? It’s Gert, BTW.

“I think you failed to clear up misconceptions because the experiences you describe fail to justify the conclusions you reach. In particular, you say 'I submitted two... and all URLs were crawled within hours' and then 'a correct sitemap can get your pages crawled, no more, no less'. You're clearly stating web pages were spidered as a result of sitemaps, contradicting your answer to Q1.”

Reply: Both sites I mentioned were already known to Google and well linked up. I believe that the sitemaps were picked up (through Google Sitemaps) quickly because of previous spidering. It’s an assumption (not a conclusion) but doesn’t in any way contradict A1, quite the contrary.

The benefits you claim are dubious. Having a sitemap okayed and downloaded delivers no benefits I can see. Having the site spidered is only an advantage if it leads to indexing and can have significant disadvantages.

We all have very limited experience in this area, but that's not stopped you reaching very definite conclusions, unshakable by the experience of others.

Reply: I don’t claim any benefits other than the fact that a Google Sitemap is another way of getting spidered. If anyone wants to believe that using GS guarantees inclusion in the index, high (or improved) SERPs, higher PageRank etc. then that’s their (defective) prerogative. And if simply getting spidered through a Google conform sitemap isn’t good enough for you, then don’t use it. Others will agree that just getting spidered is a small benefit. I’m not on Google’s side here, but their own information is pretty unambiguous.

“dubious”: weak would have been a more appropriate choice of word. “Dubious” claims are usually made by not too bona fide operators: you can think of me what you like but I’m bona fide.

And most of what I’ve written on Google Sitemaps is based on their FAQ, my own experience AND what I’ve read on the experiences of others, positive as well as negative.

Keep’m coming!

 
At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Bo said...

Gert, I know very well that it was you who referred to me as a "nest polluter". I however thought "net polluter" was a much better, and in the context more suitable, word (what the heck is a "nest polluter"... hmmm, don't tell me, I don't even want to know).

You write;
"Bo, things don’t go your way and you start throwing toys out your pram. “Google Sitemaps – The scam of the century”. Pheleeaase… stop behaving like a petulant child. You seem to be conducting some kind of personal vendetta against all things to do with Google Sitemaps."

My answer is;
If you find it hard to take criticism, however true it is (and even if it's not directed towards you), then you should spend your time doing something else. Why the heck would I conduct a personal vendetta against Google Sitemaps (especially since I think Google is the most outstanding search engine of all)? Unlike you I write facts, and I'm only telling the truth/my point of view... and so far not one single person - especially not you - have shown that anything I've written has been wrong! You think I'm behaving like a petulant child just because I don't have the same ideas as you?

You really need to get your fatcs straight here.

If there is one single thing where you think I've been wrong about Google Sitemaps, then I would be happy to hear about this! But stop wasting time for me and others on complaining about my choice of the strenght of the words I use.

You write;
"My Sitemaps did get crawled: it proves that a sitemap can get crawled, it doesn’t guarantee that every sitemap will get crawled, I never said anything to that effect. Am I missing something here? Get a dictionary and look up “can” and “will”, there’s a difference."

My reply is;
First of all, who cares if your sitemap gets crawled? It's the pages in the sitemap that you want to get crawled (all sitemaps get "crawled" - even mine - when they are downloaded).
Second of all, yes I think you're missing something here... in fact many things. Even if you do absolutely nothing a site CAN get crawled. What's your point?

You write;
"You didn’t call it a “scam”, that wasn’t graphical enough for you. It had to be “The scam of the century”. Can you hear those words in your head?"

My reply is;
Yes, I wrote "scam of the century". And it could very well be that (we're only talking about 5 years ;-). Do you think that you know more about this than I do. I'm very, very sure that you don't !!!

You most certainly have not said anything that would indicate that I was wrong in the title I choose for my topic.

You write;
"95% of what I know about Google Sitemaps is what’s clearly there for all to see in the Google Sitemaps FAQ. Maybe you should read it too?"

My reply is;
Unlike you I have read Googles FAQ (and a lot more) about Google Sitemaps AND understood what it says there.
99,9 % or so of what you say don't come from Google Sitemaps... instead it seems to come to from those voices in your head ;-)

You have the right to any opinion you want, but when you do this like you know better than all the rest of us - even if it now should be clear to everyone that you don't - then I react on this.

And as it isn't enough that you are wrong in what you say, you even lie! For example about that 95 % of what you've written about Google Sitemaps (and don't tell me that this isn't what you meant) comes from the FAQ:s.
Another example of your lies is when you say that people write something like "I lost some pages in the index, ergo Google Sitemaps is a scam". It's an obvious lie and I think you're the only one who interpreted it like this.
Want more examples of your lies?

Before you wrote;
"When it comes to SEO, the most commonly made mistake is to jump to conclusions that have no statistical basis whatsoever."
I strongly doubt that you know anything about SEO, but this is one of the few things where you've been, in some way, correct. But how in all the world can you write this at the same time as you jump to conclusions yourself in the most obvious way ???

I leave the rest for Stephen to reply on.

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Bo, this mutual mudslinging match has got to end here because it’s getting very, very boring [yawn], not say embarrassing.

Let me ask you (and perhaps Stephen) one simple and neutral question:

“What did you or do you expect to achieve by joining the Google Sitemaps program?”

Let me have YOUR answer to that question and maybe we can continue this debate slightly more serenely.

So, calm down, have a glass of bourbon [shaken but not stirred] and answer the question, please.

The answer to it is at the heart of what people consider “success” or “failure” when creating a Google Sitemap. My posts, here and at the discussion group have merely aimed at defusing some of what I believe to be the totally unrealistic expectations of some. And unrealistic expectations lead to disappointments. You seem very disappointed with your outcome yourself, I’m merely suggesting you were perhaps hoping for too much as well.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Stephen Newton said...

A flame war? I am sorry Gert!

No time to read the lengthy responses, but I'll answer Gert's question.

I hoped sitemaps would achieve what Google says they're designed to achive.

"You want Google to crawl more of your web pages.
You want to be able to tell Google when content on your site changes."


Gert says that sitemaps don't achieve the first of those goals (True or false Q1). My experience suggests they do, so I'll take Google's word over Gert's this time.

 
At 7:32 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Stephen, you wrote:

“A flame war? I am sorry Gert!”
My comment:

What are you on about, are rather what are you on? Something mindaltering, that much is clear…

It's the second time you say "sorry" and in neither case do I understand why...

What “flame war”? Stop speaking in tongues… What are you saying, implying or whatever?

You wrote:

“I hoped sitemaps would achieve what Google says they're designed to achive [sic].

"You want Google to crawl more of your web pages.
You want to be able to tell Google when content on your site changes."

Gert says that sitemaps don't achieve the first of those goals (True or false Q1). My experience suggests they do, so I'll take Google's word over Gert's this time.”

I never said that. What I said was that it achieved that objective on one of my sites and that that achievement doesn’t prove it works each time, every time. That’s really all I’ve been trying to say all along: getting with the program doesn’t guarantee anything, but that doesn’t make it a scam. Bo’s own experience would appear to be testimony to that (the fact it doesn’t work sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, I’m not convinced either way).

Learn to read…

Also “try to read” my latest post (posted before this little “mini storm in a microscopic teacup”): SEO, SOM and FED.

Frankly, Stephen and Bo, you seem very unlikely bedfellows: S. is saying it works, Bo is saying it’s the scam of the century and I’m stuck in the middle saying it works to some extent but there are no guarantees. I’m being called a liar for that. Well, feel free… It’s very much a case of the Emperor’s new clothes to me…

I suggest both of you to:

1. learnt to read between the lines
2. accept that most things in life are about recognising “shades of gray”. It’s not always about “it works” or “it doesn’t”. It might “work” for some, not for “others”. Simplistic logic works for plumbers, it doesn’t work in SEM.

 
At 1:49 AM, Blogger Gert said...

I will be out for a couple of days.

But feel free to keep posting. I won't be replying till Friday.

 
At 4:33 AM, Anonymous Bo said...

Gert,

you write;
Bo, this mutual mudslinging match has got to end here because it’s getting very, very boring [yawn], not say embarrassing.

My reply;
Yes, of course it’s getting embarrasing. I can imagine that it must be quite embarrassing for you that others prove you wrong and show that you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you even lie (for no apparent reason).
Your excuse to try and end this by saying that it’s getting "boring" is just ridiculous. You’ve done nothing but trying to avoid all the sensitive (for you) subjects.
But if you don’t want to reply on the things that is important for anything, then it’s fine with me if we end it here and now.

You ask;
“What did you or do you expect to achieve by joining the Google Sitemaps program?”

My reply;
That it should work... at least in some way... and hopefully in a useful way (for me).

You write;
So, calm down, have a glass of bourbon [shaken but not stirred] and answer the question, please.

My reply;
The question is answered and we are very calm, now as well as before. It’s however a martini that James Bond has "shaken but not stirred". Not a burboun.

You write;
My posts, here and at the discussion group have merely aimed at defusing some of what I believe to be the totally unrealistic expectations of some. And unrealistic expectations lead to disappointments.

My reply;
Yes, there has been expectations, but very rarely unrealistic such. Do you think it’s an unrealistic expectation that Google Sitemaps would give some kind of result?
If you want to defuse any expectations then you should do that by telling the truth, not by pretending to know more than everybody else, and by telling lies. If you don’t know enough to stick to facts, then do not create lies to try and show off.

You write;
You seem very disappointed with your outcome yourself, I’m merely suggesting you were perhaps hoping for too much as well.

My reply;
I wouldn’t say that I’m disappointed... I was not hoping for much, I just expected that something would happen after spending quite a lot of time on creating Sitemaps and reading a lot about the subject. It turned out that I wasted my time, and that bugs me a bit.

You write several times statements like;
Learn to read... (last time to Stephen)

My reply;
If you’ve done that yourself to begin with there would have been no need for this discussion.

You write;
Frankly, Stephen and Bo, you seem very unlikely bedfellows: S. is saying it works, Bo is saying it’s the scam of the century and I’m stuck in the middle saying it works to some extent but there are no guarantees. I’m being called a liar for that. Well, feel free… It’s very much a case of the Emperor’s new clothes to me

My reply;
We’re not discussing Stephen and me here. We both agree on that you don’t know what you’re talking about. The difference is that the things Stephen and I might disagree on we can discuss as we are not really sure of what is true. You claim to be God himself, knowing everything, and disregarding every fact (note; "fact" !!!) that Google Sitemaps works poorly, or don’t work at all. You are not in the middle, as you say! You wrote a Q&A where practically every sentence was wrong in one way or another.
You are not being called a liar for standing in the middle. You’ve been called a liar for your lies. I’ve given you a few examples of your lies, but you’ve done everything to avoid commenting on these subjects.

You write;
I suggest both of you to:
1. learnt to read between the lines
2. accept that most things in life are about recognising "shades of gray". It’s not always about "it works" or "it doesn’t". It might "work" for some, not for "others". Simplistic logic works for plumbers, it doesn’t work in SEM.

My reply;
I can read between the lines, but you didn’t leave any space between the lines to read, you just claim that this (your Q&A) is how it is, also pretending that this is what Google says (which it isn’t!).
You say it might work for some and not for others. That might be true... if it has worked for "some". There is evidence for that Google Sitemaps don’t work, but so far I’ve seen no facts proving that it works (i.e. giving a positive result) for someone else. As you pointed out (in contrast to what you've said yourself before) it's also very difficult to prove that it works (this is what I've been saying over and over again for a couple of weeks now).

"Simplistic logic works for plumbers, it doesn’t work in SEM"... ??? Logic works for plumbers but not in Search Engine Marketing ??? ??? ??? Of course logic works in SEM !!!

 
At 4:00 PM, Blogger Gert said...

To my question:
“What did you or do you expect to achieve by joining the Google Sitemaps program?”

You answer:
That it should work... at least in some way... and hopefully in a useful way (for me).

But what exactly do you mean by that? You're very, very vague.

Did you expect to see the number of your pages in Google's index increase?

Or did you expect better rankings for these pages?

Did you expect the pages included in your sitemap to be crawled more frequently?

Did you expect all of the above or even something entirely different?

You're obviously very dissapointed with the program. Then surely you must have hoped for something fairly specific? But all you can come up with is: "That it should work... at least in some way... and hopefully in a useful way (for me)".

How do you define "...work... at least in some way..."?

You quote me on: "Simplistic logic works for plumbers, it doesn’t work in SEM"...

And then distort it to:" ??? Logic works for plumbers but not in Search Engine Marketing ??? ??? ??? Of course logic works in SEM !!!"

I never said logic doesn't work in SEM, I said that simplistic logic doesn't work in SEM, because many, many factors are at play.

You say "There is evidence for that Google Sitemaps don’t work, but so far I’ve seen no facts proving that it works (i.e. giving a positive result) for someone else."

Bo, you've practically hijacked the forum single handedly, yet still managed to miss those many, many posts where people claim sometimes extrordinary successes...

Are you truthfully telling me you didn't see these posts about quick crawls, greatly increased numbers of indexed pages etc? Or are you telling me you simply read what you want to hear?

You require "facts", yet claim the whole thing is a scam, just because you didn't get your way!

And did you forget that post where even you claimed success?

You're simply envious that it seems to work for others but not for you.

Signed: Gert, aka "God"

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think I'm vague when I answered your question about what I expected from Google Sitemaps? Actually I'm very, very specific in what I wished for. What I wanted was to see some effect. That is exactly what I wanted, nothing more, nothing less.

Instead I can clearly see that Google Sitemaps has done absolutely nothing, even if
a) I was among the first to use Google Sitemaps, and even if
b) I have a web site that Google likes a lot, and even if
c) I have a perfectly created Sitemap.

Nothing in my reply to your question needs to be defined. My reply was as specific as it can get.

But if you ask me what I would like Google to do for me in general (with Google Sitemap, with Googlebot, or in any other way) I can give you another reply.

As most people know who work with SEO, Google is not very good at indexing pages (just as all other Search Engines). Google has however now realized that they need help, which is good.

So, what I want is the following;
1. I would like Google to re-index those pages that have become supplemental (and which have changed drastically since the last time they were indexed).
2. I want Google to take away those pages that I do not want to be indexed (completely useless pages to have indexed).
3. I want Google to index those pages that Google has not indexed yet for unknown reasons. It's only a couple of pages, but there is no logic to why Google has skipped those pages. I can get the pages indexed any day, but then I must put a direct link from my main page to these pages, and I don't think I should have to do this.

That is what I want from Google.

You write;
Bo, you've practically hijacked the forum single handedly, yet still managed to miss those many, many posts where people claim sometimes extrordinary successes...

Are you truthfully telling me you didn't see these posts about quick crawls, greatly increased numbers of indexed pages etc? Or are you telling me you simply read what you want to hear?

My reply;
I thought you finally had learned something from me when you wrote that it's very difficult to prove if Google Sitemaps really did anything or if, for example, pages would have been indexed anyway. But obviously not. You are contradicting yourself all the time here!

I have read the posts you are talking about, which is a mere percent of those writing posts (and maybe only 0,0000000000001, or something, percent of those wasting their time with Google Sitemaps.
But just because people think that Google Sitemaps did something for them it doesn't mean that Google Sitemaps really did anything.
To understand this you need to think in a logical way.

What do you mean by "you've practically hijacked the forum single handedly" ???

Finally.
You still avoid all the sensitive subjects!

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Gert said...

I’m sorry I haven’t got time to address all the issues you bring up. I haven’t got time for that today either.

So I’m simply going to go back a little and summarise my position on Google Sitemaps.

GS is an experiment in crawling, offering Google an alternative method of finding content. No guarantees whatsoever are implied by participating in the beta program.

Personally, two of my sites were submitted and in both cases Google crawled the Sitemap and all URLs on it. In one case it also indexed all the pages, when none were previously indexed (it’s a new site). The fact they were indexed is probably unrelated to how they were found, they had been crawled previously.

Many make similar claims, like Stephen. In your own “scam of the century” post, several replies claimed success, some even quite remarkable success.

Others have reported no success, in terms of “no activity on Google’s part” or even the loss of pages. I find the loss of pages hard to explain and don’t see how it can be blamed on GS. If there really is a “bug”, why does it only act on some sites and not on others? The bug theory just sounds improbable to me (but not impossible). Other explanations have been brought forward but nothing definitive as yet.

As regards the “benefits” (what’s in it for me?), how long is a piece of string? For many just getting all their URLs crawled is something worth crawling over broken glass for. But to you (and me) getting crawled isn’t really a big deal.

I haven’t continued submitting any other sites to GS. All my sites get found easily and almost all pages are indexed, without using GS. My problem isn’t getting indexed but getting ranked well.

But if GS gets out of beta I’ll probably start to use it again: it may become an industry standard. But it’s much too soon to conclude much at all at this stage.

Somewhere on the forum you suggested that “with Google everything seems in beta” (or words to that effect). Well, I fully agree with that. Google is almost certainly always in a state of “flux”. With everything continuously changing, seeing some weird effects shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. And it’s almost impossible to come up with simple explanations, when so many factors are interacting. Which is what I meant when I said “simplistic logic doesn’t work in SEM”: you’d be bound to jump to the wrong conclusion(s) and lead yourself up the garden path.

As regards the GS forum, most SME webmasters, understandably, expect some clear benefits in return for their effort, some ROI as it were. Unfortunately participants should really expect nothing at all from participating in a free trial, other perhaps than gaining some experience and learning something. Which is why calling it a “scam” (or “joke”) is downright silly: participants should know what they are letting themselves in for and not expect some great benefit, the silver bullet to put an end to all their SEO/SEM troubles. Unfortunately there are many that do so, then they get very disappointed and start concocting conspiracy theories. One guy (on another forum) claims GS is a form of spyware, designed to find “hidden content” and thus catch out spamdexers. But even a hardened cloaker could submit a list of URLs or even use the directory walking method using the filters to block what he doesn’t want to show.

With GS, Google is really looking to benefit itself, rather than reward “good” webmasters. But I find it hard to believe GS is in some way designed to damage anyone’s success with the Google index.

 

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