Google Sitemaps - How Important Are They?
Because of the astounding amount of websites that submit their web pages to Google, the think tanks at Google decided to come out with Google Sitemaps. This service, which was started in June 2005, makes web page submissions to Google much easier but with the added bonus of getting detailed reports regarding the submitted pages visibility in Google. With Google Sitemaps webmasters can continually inform Google about their web pages as well as any changes that they make to help improve their standing in Google. This program serves as complementary service to Googles regular crawl, although it is considered that using Google Sitemaps can do a better job than the regular crawl.
Google decided to come out with the Google Sitemaps program as a way for the search engine to offer better search results to its users. With the current limitations of web crawling, usually not all pages are discovered. It is also difficult to determine if a page has changed. With so many uncontrollable variables, crawlers sometimes just make guesses. With Google Sitemaps it becomes easier to get a better picture of all the possible URLs in a website as well as the frequency of the changes that are made. Knowing these variables makes searching in Google a more robust and fruitful experience because users are assured that they always get a fresh index of web pages.
To take advantage of the Google Sitemap program, webmasters only need to download a free open-source tool called Sitemap Generator that helps in creating a Sitemap using the Sitemap protocol. Google hopes that webservers will eventually support the protocol so that webmasters will not take any other extra steps to in order to join the program.
Google Sitemaps also freely accepts codes taken from or generated by third party providers and even lists down all of the available third party software within the Google Sitemap pages.
XML-Sitemaps.com is one such provider that provides a free Google sitemaps generator for webmasters which will also produce a HTML site map.
Googles software and service developers are continually tweaking and improving the Google Sitemap program to better address the needs of webmasters. Because of this, new features are continually added to the Sitemap program.
Some of the new features that have been incorporated now revolve around the reporting aspect of Google Sitemap.
When a site has been verified, Google can show webmasters the statistics and errors about the website as well as the web pages. Among the information that would be included are:
* The URLs that Google had trouble crawling including the reason why. Also included are the top queries that resulted in returns from their websites as well as those that brought traffic to their sites.
* The web pages PageRank distribution
* The common text in external anchors that other websites used to link to their websites.
These new features, as well as others that are still being developed, brings tremendous advantages for webmasters because it makes the task of running a website so much easier. It also simplifies certain tasks that webmasters need to do to better manage their websites page ranking. Ultimately, it gives their websites better exposure as well as the inclusion of more of their web pages in Googles index.