by: Tony Simpson
Google Sitemaps enables Webmasters to Directly Alert Google to Changes and Additions on a Website and that's just one of 7 Benefits.
Telling search engines about new pages or new websites use to be what the submission process was all about. But major search engines stopped using that process a long time ago.
Google has for a long time depended on external links from pages they already know about in order to find new websites.
For webmasters and website owners Google Sitemaps is the most important development since RSS or Blog and Ping, to hit the Internet.
Using RSS and Blog and Ping enabled webmasters to alert the search engines to new additions to their web pages even though that was not the primary purpose of these systems.
If you've ever waited weeks or months to get your web pages found and indexed you'll know how excited we webmasters get when someone discovers a new way to get your web pages found quicker.
Well that new way has just arrived in Google Sitemaps and it's a whole lot simpler than setting up an RSS feed or Blog and Ping. If you haven't heard of Blog and Ping it's a means by which it's possible to alert the search engines to crawl your new website content within a matter of hours.
If you're a webmaster or website owner Google Sitemaps is something you can't afford to ignore, even if you're also using RSS and/or Blog and Ping
The reason you should start using Google Sitemaps is that it's designed solely to alert and direct Google Search Engine crawlers to your web pages. RSS and Blog and Ping are indirect methods to alert search engines, but it's not there primary purpose.
It works now, but like most things it's becoming abused. Search Engines will find ways to combat the abuse as they've done with every other form of abuse that's gone before.
Abusing the search engines is a short term not a long term strategy and in some cases certain forms of abuse will get you banned from a search engines index.
You may also be thinking, don't we already have web page meta tags that tell a search engine when to revisit a page. That's true, but the search engine spider still has to find the new page first, before it can read the meta tag. Besides that meta tags are out of favour with many search engines especially Google, because of abuse.
If talk of search engine spiders leaves you confused, they're nothing more than software programs that electronically scour the Internet visiting web sites looking for changes and new pages.
How often the search engine spider alias robot, visits your website depends on how often your site content is updated, or you alert them to a change. Otherwise for a search engine like Google they may only visit a website once a month.
As the internet gets bigger every second of every day, the problem for search engines and webmasters is becoming evidently greater. For the search engines it's taking their search spiders longer to crawl the web for new sites or updates to existing ones.
For the webmaster it's taking longer and becoming more difficult to get web pages found and indexed by the search engines
If you can't get web pages found and indexed by search engines, your pages will never be found in a search and you'll get no visitors from search engines to those pages.
The answer to this problem at least for Google is Google Sitemaps
Whilst still only in a beta phase while Google refines the process, it's fully expected that this system, or one very similar, is here to stay.
Google Sitemaps is clearly a win-win situation
Google wins because it reduces the huge waste of their resources to crawl web sites that have not changed. Webmasters win because they alert Google through Google Sitemaps what changes or new content has been added to a website and direct Google's crawlers to the exact pages.
Google Sitemaps has the potential to speed up the process of discovery and addition of pages to Google's index for any webmaster that uses Google Sitemaps.
Conventional sitemaps have been used by webmasters for quite some time to allow the easier crawling of their websites by the search engine spiders. This type of sitemap is a directory of all pages on the website that the webmaster wants the search engines or visitors to find.
Without sitemaps a webmaster runs the risk of webpage's being difficult to find by the search engine crawlers, or never being found at all.
Do I need Google Sitemaps if I already have sitemaps on my websites ?
Google Sitemaps are different to conventional sitemaps because they're only seen by the Search Engine Spiders and not human visitors. Google Sitemaps also contain information that's only of value to the search engine in a format they understand.
Creating Google Sitemaps in 5 steps
1. Create Google Sitemaps in a supported format ( see end of article )
2. Upload Google Sitemaps to your Web Hosting space
3. Register for a free Google Account if you don't already have one
4. Login to your Google Sitemaps Account and submit the location of your sitemaps
5. Update your Sitemaps when your site changes and Resubmit it to Google
From your Google Sitemaps account you can also see when your sitemap was last updated and when Google downloaded it for processing. It will also tell you if there were any problems found with your sitemaps.
Google Sitemaps can be used with commercial or non-commercial websites, those with a single webpage, through to sites with millions of constantly updated pages. However a single Google Sitemaps file is limited to 50,000 web pages. For websites with more pages, another Google Sitemaps file must be created for each block of 50,000 pages.
If you want Google to crawl more of your pages and alert them when content on your site changes, you should be using Google Sitemaps. The other added benefit is it's free.
If you're expecting this special alert process with Google Sitemaps to improve your Page Rank, change the way Google ranks your web pages, or in any way guarantee inclusion of your web pages, Google has made it clear it will make no difference.
Google Sitemaps web pages are still subject to the same rules as non Google Sitemaps pages.
If your site has dynamic content or pages that aren't easily discovered by following links, Google Sitemaps will allow spiders to know what URLs are available and how often page content changes.
Google has said that Google Sitemaps is not a replacement for the normal crawling of web pages and websites as that will continue in the conventional way. Google Sitemaps does however allow the search engine to do a better job of crawling your site.
The Google Sitemap Protocol is an XML file containing a list of the URLs on a site. It also tells the search engine when each page was last updated, how often each page changes and how important each page is in relation to other web pages in the site.
Google Sitemaps 7 Benefits You Can't Ignore
1. Alert Google to Changes and Additions to your Website Anytime You Want
2. Your Website is crawled more Efficiently and Effectively
3. Web Pages are Categorized and Prioritized exactly How You Want
4. Speed up the process of New Website and New Web Page Discovery
5. No Waiting and Guessing to see when Spiders crawl your web pages
6. Google Sitemaps is likely to set the standard for Webpage Submission and Update Notification which will extend the benefits to other Search Engines
7. The Google Sitemaps service is Free
Exactly how to create a Google Sitemaps file to upload to your website is in the continuing part of this article in Google Sitemaps.
About the author:
Tony Simpson is a Web Designer and Search Engine Optimizer who brings a touch of reality to building a Web Business. He also provides advice on Website Automation at http://www.webpageaddons.comHow to create Google Sitemaps is in the continuing part of this article at http://www.webpageaddons.com/stp/googlesitemap
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