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What are Google Sitemaps good for?

by: admin - Aug 23, 2005

There are some immediate, and obvious advantages for a webmaster to create and submit a Google Sitemap.

The most obvious of course, is that now you get to tell Google exactly where all the pages you want it to index, are!

Google Sitemaps is an experiment in web crawling. Using Sitemaps to inform and direct our crawlers, we hope to expand our coverage of the web and and speed up the discovery and addition of pages to our index. By placing a Sitemap-formatted file on your web server, you enable our crawlers to find out what pages are present and which have recently changed, and to crawl your site accordingly... more

Because I consider my forum web site, GIDForums, already thoroughly search engine friendly, I was not actually interested to create one for the site. Well, at least until I came across this little piece of information "hidden" away in their Using the Sitemap Protocol page:

... The priority of this URL relative to other URLs on your site. Valid values range from 0.0 to 1.0. This value has no effect on your pages compared to pages on other sites, and only lets the search engines know which of your pages you deem most important so they can order the crawl of your pages in the way you would most like ...

I highlighted the line (in that quote) that made me change my mind about using Google Sitemaps for my web sites almost immediately.

No doubt, Google has the ability to figure out and rank your important pages (relative to the other pages on your site), all on it's own eventually but we all know that that usually takes quite a bit of time (and some backlinks).

Besides, if I were to add a new (vbulletin) forum category page (forumdisplay.php) to the web site tomorrow, it will probably rank a lot lower than say, a regular discussion thread (showthread.php) that was created a year ago -- which is simply not right.

Search engine friendly or not, I will be creating and submitting a Google Sitemap Index file for soon.

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