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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A9. False! If you’ve read the answers to all questions, you’ll have understood the answer to this question is an emphatic NO!
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.
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.
For an abridged guide to installing the Google OEM python based Sitemap_gen.py script go to: Google Sitemaps revisited.
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Keywords: google sitemaps faq