Google Sitemaps Just Got Better

Having a Google Sitemap just got better! Not only does the search engine company check your sitemap, but now they give you feedback! The new feature was quickly noticed by many users of the service recently as a way for Google to alert the webmaster about possible problem pages that they have had trouble indexing.

I had the wonderful experience of getting to know this service first hand when I logged in to Google Sitemaps to check on the status of one of my many sitemaps. Along side of the address for the sitemap, there was a link with the anchor text "verify". This helps Google to know that you are the actual webmaster for that site and is a wonderful addition for security.

Once you are verified (which is a simple process of creating a page on your root directory that they will see) you are able to see the stats for the site index. Often times, you won't see anything in the stats area, but if you have recently updated, redesigned, or deleted certain pages that Google has in its index, you have a good chance of seeing something there. Google will tell you about possible errors in the indexing process such as pages that are not showing, or pages that they can't see.

You might already be familiar with the new Google Sitemap Program, but if you aren't here's a quick synopsis. The Sitemaps program is a new offering from the Google family and is currently in beta testing.

The goal of the program is to allow Google to see the complete sitemap or a sitemap of frequently changing pages. This is extremely helpful if you have links that can't be reached by the Googlebot when it's indexing your page due to things like Java script menus and such. The codes on a page that prevent the bot from viewing your site ultimately hinder you in the search engines.

So using the XML standard coding language, which is easy to understand once you get the hang of it, you create a log of the various pages on your site and tell Google some attributes about it such as the overall priority of the page, how frequently you alter the content, when the page was updated last, and of course its location.

This will give Google the overall picture of the layout of your site and does help in getting the pages indexed for greater relevancy. There are protocols for the creation of the sitemap so it's best to read all the information completely at the Google Sitemaps website at http://www.google.com/webmasters/

John Wooton
Author and Creator - The SEO Journal Blog
Step by step tips on effectively mastering the search engine war
http://seojournal05.blogspot.com/

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