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Google's Sitemaps service

Last week, Google released its new Google Sitemaps service. Despite the name, Google Sitemaps is not a tool that creates sitemaps for your web site. Google Sitemaps is another way to submit your web pages to Google.

What is Google Sitemaps?

Google calls it "a beta 'ecosystem' that may help webmasters with two current challenges: keeping Google informed about all of your new web pages or updates, and increasing the coverage of your web pages in the Google index".

Google SiteMaps allows you to tell Google which web sites it should crawl and it allows you to tell Google that the content on your site has changed.

How do you submit your sitemap to Google Sitemaps?

The easiest way to submit your web page URLs to Google Sitemaps is to create a list of URLs in plain text format:

http://www.example.com/index.htm
http://www.example.com/page1.htm
http://www.example.com/page2.htm
http://www.example.com/directory/whatever.htm

Enter one URL per line and save that list with the file ending .xml. Then login to Google Sitemaps and upload that file.

Google also offers a more sophisticated tool (which is rather complicated) that allows you to create a sitemap but a plain list will also do. Third party tools are also available.

Does this increase your Google rankings?

No, it doesn't. Using Google Sitemaps will not influence your rankings. You just tell Google that your web pages exist. Google still uses its normal ranking algorithms to determine the ranking of your web pages.

Google even makes no guarantees about when or if your URLs will be crawled or added to the index if you use Google Sitemaps.

What does this mean to your web site?

Google Sitemaps might be useful to you if your web pages aren't crawled by Google's spider. However, you won't increase your Google rankings by using Google Sitemaps.

If Google's spider hasn't crawled your web site yet, your web site probably doesn't have enough good incoming links. If your web site has many good incoming links, Google's spider will find your web site anyway.

In addition, good incoming links tell Google that your web site is important and that it deserves high rankings.

Detailed information about Google Sitemaps can be found on this page. To make sure that Google gives your web pages high rankings after indexing them, take a look at the recommended resources.

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June 2005 search engine articles